1912 – 2000 (September 7)
John Francis Casey was born on October 15, 1912 in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, to John Casey and Mary Gibbons. He attended Saint Thomas of Villanova Parochial School from 1919 to 1926, and West Catholic High School from 1927 to 1930. On September 12, 1931 he was received into the novitiate, and on September 13, 1932, he professed simple vows. Three years later, on the same day, he made his solemn profession. After graduation from Villanova College in 1936 with a B.A. degree in philosophy, he pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1939, in Washington, D.C., by Michael Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore.
Father Casey's first assignment was to Saint Rita High School in Chicago, Illinois, in 1940. In 1953 he was assigned for two years to Saint Denis Parish, Havertown, Pa., and then, to the newly-established high school, Monsignor Bonner in Drexel Hill, Pa. In 1959, he returned to Saint Denis Parish as associate pastor. From 1963 to 1994 Father was stationed at Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Chestnut Hill, Pa. From 1963 until 1977, he was prior and pastor there, and from 1977 to 1994 he was chaplain to the motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill.
In 1994, because of failing health, he was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova. Father Casey died there on September 7, 2000.
Father Casey was a jovial person, with a ready Irish smile and a good sense of humor. He was a pioneer in his work in the newly-founded Province of Chicago and in the early beginnings of Monsignor Bonner High School. He studied and taught music and was an accomplished pianist. While at Monsignor Bonner High School he composed two songs for the school.
Father is best known, however, in the Philadelphia area and for his role as the unofficial chaplain to the Philadelphia Flyers. He rarely missed a hockey game; he could be spotted at the games dressed in black suit and Roman collar. From time to time he was mentioned in Philadelphia and local newspapers about his love for hockey which began in 1940 when he was teaching at Saint Rita High School in Chicago.