Harry A. Cassel, O.S.A.

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1924 – 2011 (July 13)

Harry Anthony Cassel was born on September 1, 1924, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, one of four sons and one daughter of Harry A. Cassel and Catherine M. Quigley. Harry was baptized on September 21, 1924, in Saint Patrick’s Church, Norristown, and attended Saint Francis of Assisi Parochial School in the same city. In 1938, he entered Saint Matthew High School, Conshohocken, Pa. and in 1942, enrolled at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant. He was received into Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y. on September 9, 1943, and made his profession of simple vows on September 10, 1944. Harry pursued studies at Villanova College and graduated with his BA in Philosophy in 1947, professing solemn vows on September 10, 1947. He did his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1947 to 1951, and obtained an MA degree in English at the Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 24, 1950, at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Atlantic City, New Jersey, by Bishop Hugh L. Lamb, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.

Father Cassel’s first assignment was as teacher at Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pa. from 1953 to 1955. He was then transferred to Archbishop Prendergast High School and then Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. From 1966 to 1968, he was Retreat Director at Mount Augustine Retreat House, Staten Island, N.Y. In 1968 he was elected a definitor of the Province, and was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa., serving as chairman of the Province’s Personnel Board. In 1971, Father Cassel was elected Prior Provincial and, in 1975, was elected to a second term. During this period he lived first at the Provincial House, Malvern, Pa., then at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, and at the Provincial House on Ithan Avenue, Villanova. Upon completion of his second term of office, he became Province Archivist. From 1981 to 1987, he served as associate pastor at Saint Denis Parish, Havertown, and from 1987 to 1990, as pastor of Saint Genevieve’s Parish, Flourtown, Pa. In 1990 he was appointed prior of Saint Joseph’s Friary at Msgr. Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. In 1994, he was assigned to Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

In 2005, at the age of 81, Father moved to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova. He died peacefully there on July 13, 2011, after a brief hospitalization. Fr. Cassel was a very affable and gentle person with a ready smile and a cheerful personality, who contributed greatly to the Province and the Church in his various ministries.