Priest who served Phoenix Diocese in retirement, dies

Fr. Charles Casale (1939-2015) (Courtesy photo)
Fr. Charles Casale (1939-2015) (Courtesy photo)

The Church is mourning the loss of Fr. Charles Casale who retired to Arizona five years ago. He entered eternal rest June 17 at the age of 75.

Fr. Casale served various parishes in the Diocese of Phoenix, especially St. Anne in Gilbert the last two years. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity in 1969, about six months before the Diocese of Phoenix was established. Fr. Casale was active with the order and later incardinated into the Diocese of Fresno before coming to Arizona in 2010.

Sue Schindel, executive assistant for the Vicar for Priests Office in the Diocese of Phoenix, said he was among a pool of priests she could always count on for “supply help,” offering his priestly ministry when requested.

[quote_box_right]

Fr. Charles Casale

Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity and incardinated into the Diocese of Fresno

Born: Dec. 9, 1939 in Newark, NJ

Ordained: June 7, 1969

Retired to Diocese of Phoenix in 2010 serving East Valley parishes including St. Anne

Died: June 17, 2015

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, make memorial contributions in Fr. Casale’s name to the Carthusian Foundation in America

Charterhouse of the Transfiguration
Carthusian Monastery
1084 Ave Maria Way
Arlington, VT 05250

Services: 6 p.m. June 25: Liturgy of The Hours for the Dead, recited by Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares at Queen of Heaven Catholic Mortuary Chapel in Mesa. Interment to follow. Guestbook.

[/quote_box_right]

“He generously gave of his ministry in his retirement years,” Schindel said, noting that he offered Masses across the East Valley and convents. He also delivered parish missions.

“He’s definitely a real warm-hearted priest,” Schindel said, recalling how he shook hands after Masses and greeted the children.

Bradley Hahn, Fr. Casale’s attorney and friend, referred to the priest’s compassion for those who came to him asking questions or for advice as his biggest strength.

“The second thing that I admired most in him was his understanding of sacred liturgy, what it is and what it should be. I was always impressed with that,” Hahn said. “The third thing I was impressed with was the depth of knowledge he had and what he learned from the spirituality of the saints.”

Hahn prayed with the priest during his final days. Schindel received periodic updates. She said Fr. Casale would tell visitors from his hospital bed, “When you come to see me next time and I’m not here, see you in heaven!”

“He was very open and loving and accepting of God’s will,” Schindel said.

Fr. Casale’s eyesight was poor near the end of his life — he was to have had cataract surgery — but Hahn made sure he was still able to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. “We gave him an iPod so he could listen to the prayers of the breviary.”

Hahn said he prayed Morning Prayer with him during the last three days of Fr. Casale’s life.

 

Joyce Coronel contributed to this story