1939 – 2000 (September 12)
Thomas Michael Casey was born on May 30, 1939, to Joseph Casey and Anna Jahnkowska in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. He was one of four children. He was baptized in Our Mother of Sorrows Church, and attended the parish elementary school from 1944 to 1953. He was enrolled at Saint Thomas More High School in Philadelphia for one year before transferring to Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, from which he graduated in 1957. On September 9, 1957, Thomas was received into the novitiate, professed simple vows on September 10, 1958, and made solemn profession three years later. Upon graduation from Villanova University in 1962, with a B.A. in philosophy, he pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., where he obtained a M.A. degree in theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on November 6, 1965, at Saint Denis Church, Havertown, Pa.
Father Casey's first assignment, from 1966 to 1969, was at Monsignor Bonner High School where he taught Religion and Modern European History. From 1969 to 1972, he was a professor at Villanova University, at which time he began graduate studies at the University of Ottawa, where, in 1976, he earned a Ph.D. in religion and psychology. He then returned to Villanova University as assistant professor of theology and taught for one additional year. From 1977 until his death, Father Casey taught at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. He was also chairperson of the religious studies department and served on the board of trustees of Villanova University. He wrote many articles on religion and psychology and, in 1989, published a book entitled Meaning in Myth. He was recognized as an excellent teacher and received the Outstanding Teacher Award at Merrimack College.
Father Casey was dedicated to his profession, giving himself to research in his fields of theology and psychology. He showed a keen interest in students by challenging them to new depths in scholarship and encouraging them to think for themselves. He was also in the forefront of social issues and was actively involved in emphasizing the gospel message of peace and justice. He was a compassionate priest who enjoyed the camaraderie of his brothers in community and manifested his sense of humor and wit.
He passed over to the Lord on September 12, 2000. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, September 16th at Christ the Teacher Chapel, Merrimack College with burial following at Saint Mary Cemetery, Lawrence.