Retired Priest Devoted to The Eucharist for More than 50 Years

Tags: Currents Astoria, Brooklyn, NY, Eucharistic Revival, Faith, Queens, NY, Retired Priests

by Katie Vasquez

At 8 a.m. on the dot, retired priest Father Edward Cassar opens the chapel at St Joseph’s Church in Astoria, exposing the blessed sacrament for people to worship. He started this routine 55 years ago before he was ordained.

“In the seminary, we had a small chapel,” said Father Cassar. “Every day, I used to go there. And then, when I was ordained a priest, I continued the tradition that I went every day and spent an hour before the blessed sacrament.”

As a young man, he became a capuchin and was doing missionary work in countries like Ethiopia.

During this time, the eucharist was the only constant in his life.

“When you are in the missions, you feel so lonely,” said Father Cassar. “Sometimes you don’t speak the language, you have an interpreter with you, and when the interpreter goes, your whole world is closed. But when you have devotion to Jesus, you never feel alone.”

The pastor of St Joseph, Father Vincent Chirichella, says the chapel is Father Cassar’s “baby.”

His dedication is unwavering.

“The next morning, after having his finger injured, a severe injury to his finger. He was here opening up the chapel,” said Father Chirichella. “So he is tough and doesn’t miss any day.”

And parishioners like Vera Walker admire the 80-year-old priest’s commitment to the sacred space.

“I saw him every single day in the morning,” said Walker. “Sometimes I come here because I come after five or six. He’s so sweet. He’s a blessed man.”

As the Diocese of Brooklyn prepares for the Eucharistic Revival on April 20th, Father Cassar hopes others will experience the same sense of peace that he does in the chapel, praying before the body of Christ.

“They can have a good position in life,” said Father Cassar. “They can have fame. But still, there is an emptiness in the heart that is a spot that only God and only God himself can fill it. Okay, so people, if nobody in the world, they are feeling the need of god in their lives. it is one of the best way, you know, that he can be 1 to 1 with Jesus.”

As he closes in the evening, he offers benediction, allowing people to worship the lord and the blessed sacrament.