RIP Fr. Tony Casey
By Fr. Brendan Duggan


A couple of days ago we celebrated All Saints Day, followed by All Souls Day. We are in November, the month when we remember our dead. We are still trying to recover from our recent great storm, Hurricane Sandy, which has wreaked havoc in many places close by. It is amazing how powerful Nature is. It is so easy for us to be called to heal. A few inches of rain and the effects of both a strong wind and full moon lunar tides can cause so much damage to our world. We definitely need God in our lives. In times of crisis we need someone who listens to us.

You know saints are wonderful people. Most saints are ordinary folk like you and I, but they are also special people. When many people think of saints they remember people such as Mother Theresa or St. Paul, or perhaps hapless Peter whom we all can identify with. In the old days people often had pictures of saints, with lovely countenance, with a dreamy look as they stared mistily into the distance, lips slightly apart and obviously enraptured by constantly looking at the direct vision of God. I am afraid I was never too impressed by these pictures.

All the saints I know are on the ground. A saint for me is a person of flesh and blood who is close in prayer and submission to God, and close in prayer and compassion to the likes of you and me. Saints are sensible practical people with their priorities right. They abhor violence, pride, pomp, and greed. They actively love and promote justice, peace and mercy. They are among the poor in spirit that Jesus describes in Matthew's Gospel. They always acknowledge their dependence on God. Saints live lives of service and sacrifice like Jesus himself.

Saints are fully human people. I remember a famous professor of moral theology once telling me that a "moral person is a person who is fully human.” Saints are fully human people who recognize their faults and failings, and constantly keep renewing their faith and dependence on God, our loving Father.

So I think I have met many saints, because I know many people who are good people, and who struggled daily for many years to bring up their families, or who fought pain and disappointment, and who had to struggle taking life one day at a time. On November 2nd, All Souls Day, we remember our dead and we pray that they get to heaven to be with God, or perhaps by our prayers we can deliver many of them from Purgatory, where we believe some people have to serve a time of cleansing from their faults before they get to Heaven. I think November is a special time for so many of us as we remember our loved ones. Many make the effort to attend masses during November, and to visit the graves of their close family and friends. They are encouraged by the church to pray for the dead especially during this month.

Hurricane Sandy

I must say the recent storm horrified me. I know so many good people in the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island, Howard Beach, Long Island City, Staten Island, and so many more areas, devastated both in New York and New Jersey. It was and still is such a horrific event. As I write this I have just been informed that the Bishop of Brooklyn has asked all the parishes to take up a special collection soon to help the victims. In our parish we will do this on November 11. Also Bishop DiMarzio has asked the people to bring canned foods to each parish, which will be given to needy areas which are still flooded. The whole effort will be coordinated by Catholic charities. I am sure people will be very generous with their response, as Americans are truly generous people. I must say I was impressed by the response of our civil leadership to the crisis. The governor of New York, the mayor and the various civic officials responded so well, as did the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and indeed the President. It takes a big crisis to bring people together. The suffering of the people especially in Breezy Point and the Rockaways really shocked me. The scenes from the Jersey shore were so tragic. I am sure there are harrowing scenes from other areas of America and the Caribbean. Let's hope we can make better preparations for any future disasters.

Holy Ghost Missions Dance

Our annual Holy Ghost Missions Dance goes ahead on Saturday, November 10th at St. Mary's. We will have a nice event, which will raise a nice amount of money for our needy missions overseas, which includes Haiti, also devastated by the recent storm.

Shannon Gael’s GAA Club Dance

On Saturday November 17th, I hope to attend the Shannon Gael's GAA Club 10th Anniversary Dance at Riccardo's in Astoria. Honorees at this dance include Mr. Jarlath Connaughton ("Cha"), a founding member of this great club which caters to over 300 boys and girls who play Gaelic football and hurling. This club now has its own playing pitches in Bayside and they are really doing very well.

RIP Fr. Tony Casey

A Mass of Christian burial for Fr. Anthony C. Casey was celebrated on Oct. 25th in the chapel at Queen of Peace Residence, Queens Village where he had been living since 2007. Fr Tony died at Queen of Peace Residence. He was 78 and had been ordained in 1958 at St. John's College, Waterford, for Brooklyn Diocese, where he served for 54 years. Fr. Tony was a native of Co. Limerick from Grange, near Loch Gur.

Fr. Tony served as an assistant at Holy Innocents, Flatbush, 1958-61; St. Joan of Arc, Jackson Heights,1961-67; Holy Family, Flatlands, 1967-79; St. Columba, Marine Park, 1979- 98; and St. Rose of Lima, Rockaway Beach, 1994-2004.

Msgr. James Kelly (St. Brigid's), his great friend spoke so well at the funeral: “He was a very spiritual person. He came from what we would call an ‘ecclesiastical family' of nine children. Three of the sons became priests and another a religious brother, and one of the girls became a religious sister. Many families in Ireland at that time had the same situation. He had a keen appreciation of both the history of art and literature. He was quite a good artist himself. He liked to draw cartoons. He had a great love for all things Irish, especially for the sport of hurling, which is the national pastime of Ireland, and especially of Limerick. He was very much involved in prayer groups and the ministry of healing. He was the seventh son of the seventh son, which in Irish lore means that he inherited the gift of healing. He did his healing within the spiritual form. He had a very strong personality and dealt with his condition (diabetes) very affirmatively. He suffered greatly for the last thirty five years because of it, but never lost his sense of humor or gave into it."

I first met Fr. Tony in 1979, when I did summer ministry for July/August at St. Columba's Parish, Marine Park, where he was the priest associate, to Msgr. Edward Jolley, the founding pastor. Fr. Tony was a good holy priest who served the Diocese of Brooklyn well. May he rest in peace.