Alumni Association of The Pontifical North American College

James Cassidy

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STAFF 2000-2003

Msgr. James P. Cassidy, former director of the archdiocese’s Department of Health and Hospitals, died Oct. 14 at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He was 90.

Auxiliary Bishop Domnick J. Lagonegro, episcopal vicar of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Rockland, offered the Funeral Mass Oct. 19 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The homilist was Msgr. James Cox, a retired priest of the archdiocese. He and Msgr. Cassidy were in formation and the seminary for 12 years, and were ordained together in the Class of 1951.

“He was a man of great intellectual ability and spiritual depth,” Msgr. Cox said.

He said Msgr. Cassidy’s works in the archdiocese stemmed from his nature and desire to help those in need.

“Pope Francis has asked us to reach out to those on the margins of society,” Msgr. Cox said. “He was a perfect example of having done that throughout his priesthood. He served those in his parishes, but he didn’t just serve those who went to church, he went out into the community.”

Msgr. Cassidy served as administrator at Holy Spirit Church, Cortlandt Manor, 1995-2000; and as parochial vicar of St. Columba’s, Manhattan, 1965-1968; St. Barnabas, the Bronx, 1954-1964; St. Mary’s Ellenville, 1954; and Holy Eucharist, Yonkers, 1951-1954.

“But in particular, his work in hospital ministry shows how he reached out,” Msgr. Cox said.

Msgr. Cox was referring to Msgr. Cassidy’s longtime work in the archdiocese in the field of health and hospital ministry. He was director of the Department of Health and Hospitals, 1972-1982. In that capacity, he assisted Cardinal Cooke in the purchase of the Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in 1978. (It is now named the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Center.) Msgr. Cassidy served as a chaplain there, 1982-1983.

“At the time he was working in the archdiocesan Department of Health and Hospitals, he saw the potential of buying that building and converting it into a medical center that would serve people who were on the margins of society, and he developed the programs and the courses,” Msgr. Cox said.

“He had been a great supporter of that hospital. That was his baby,” Msgr. Cox said.

Msgr. Cassidy served in the office of Ecclesiastical Assistance of the International Federation of the Catholic Medical Association, 1983-1987, and as chancellor of New York Medical College, Valhalla, 1987-1992.

In other duties, Msgr. Cassidy served at the Vatican as a staff psychologist and director of counseling at the Pontifical North American College, 2000-2003, and director of the International Association of Catholic Health Institutions, 1992-1995.

He served as a member of the pension committee for the archdiocese, 1987-1992, and as a psychology consultant for the Metropolitan Tribunal, beginning in 2003.

He also served in family consultation services at St. John’s University and at the Catholic Center at New York University.

He received the Grand Cross of the Order of Malta in recognition of his years of service to the American Association as assistant principal chaplain, 2004-2011. He was conventual chaplain of the order, 1987-2004. He was awarded the Grand Cross Pro Piis Meritis in May at his 90th birthday celebration.

Born in Mount Vernon, he was raised in New Rochelle. He held a doctorate in counseling and guidance from Fordham University, where he also received training in clinical psychology.

He was named a monsignor in 1968.

His brother, Raymond, survives him. Burial was in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in New Rochelle.


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