Joseph Cassar

Joseph Cassar

On April 19, Joseph Cassar passed from this earthly life, succumbing to heart disease. His inscrutable but faithful approach to promoting the pro-life cause will be sadly missed by his friends at Campaign Life Coalition in Toronto.

Cassar, born in Malta in 1919, arrived in Canada in the early 1950s. He had served in the British merchant marines, and worked in the postal service among other jobs in Canada. Over the next five decades he developed a deep love for his Catholic faith and a devotion to defending the right to life of the innocent unborn.

He expressed his pro-life sentiments in many ways, but foremost among them was his mission to spread pro-life communications such as the CLC National News and The Interim newspaper. He had developed the technique of traveling the Toronto transit system, especially by subway, and discreetly dropping off copies of those publications in sundry subway cars, then lingering to see if some passenger or other might pick up the paper or newsletter and read them. He was so assiduous in this method of campaigning for the cause that CLC national president Jim Hughes received complaints about Cassar’s antics on the subway system from TTC brass.

When he wasn’t busy plotting novel ways to advance the pro-life cause, Cassar liked to watch EWTN broadcasts, enjoy old movies on the Turner Movie Classic channel, or listen to opera on the Met broadcasts on Saturday afternoons.

The real passion of Cassar was staunchly defending the right to life of the vulnerable in society. This meant taking an active interest in political campaigns, collecting information on candidates, and supporting pro-life political parties like the Family Coalition Party and the Christian Heritage Party. Before his health became poor in 2011, he was a regular at CLC Toronto activist meetings.

Cassar was proud of his Maltese traditions. He liked to point out that Malta was only one of a few countries that still banned abortion and that it was one of the earliest lands to receive an apostle, as St. Paul visited the island on his journeys of evangelization.

Cassar had a unique sense of humour, able to find the lighter side of news stories. Of course he had his own personal foibles, chief among them his penchant for collecting stamps and coins, but also other material objects of no apparent value.

In his final years, Cassar suffered physical setbacks, spending a full month in a coma, and yet regained sufficient mobility to return to his own apartment. He led a simple life, one oriented to serving the Lord in his own inimitable manner. Jim Hughes says Cassar “was persistent, faithful and unshakeable in his pro-life service.”

Cassar is survived by 20 nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, all in Malta.