Jim Hughes

Fr. Paul Casullo died on Oct. 31 at the age of 91. The former Trappist monk, Fr. Casullo immigrated to Canada in 1964 where he served as a parish priest within the Archdiocese of Toronto.

A shy and humble man, he struck people as a prayer warrior. As the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Weston, he could be found most days on his knees in prayer, and his prayers encouraged his parishioners to be part of the “church militant.”

Fr. Casullo regularly attended the clergy luncheons organized by Campaign Life Coalition and was frequently seen discussing the crucial issues with Catholic priests, pastors, and spiritual leaders of other faith communities.

He was solid in his commitment to faith, life, and family, and encouraged everyone to stand firm against calls to water down our strategies or compromise our beliefs. Occasionally, pro-lifers who have a deep commitment to the cause are unable to relax and enjoy a good laugh. Unlike the late Fr. Ted Colleton, who could cause a room to break out in laughter over one of his many stories, Fr. Casullo’s humour was dry and pointed but nonetheless hit the same mark.

At CLC’s annual national and Ontario strategy meetings, Fr. Casullo was often invited to provide the spiritual focus to our work and deliver inspiring insight.

An article titled — using the words of Fr. Casullo — “When You Retire, You Can Still Contribute Through Prayer” published in the Shepherds Trust by Patricia Meehan revealed much about the man, and his vocation to the priesthood. In talking about the issues faced by the young and old, Fr. Casullo said, “young people make the world go around but the elderly keep it sane.” No matter what age you’ve reached, there is still a large part for you to play in society. Older folks especially are called to spend more time in prayer and meditation, especially when reading Sacred Scripture. They contribute to the community where it matters most because they pray.

A funeral Mass was celebrated for Fr. Casullo on Nov. 4 at St. David’s Roman Catholic Church where he lived in residence for the last 10 years. Our condolences, love, and prayers to his sister Rita (Joe Meschino) and their family.