Mary Kathryn Volpone (left) with Deacon Angelo and his sister Cecilia.
'He's Going to Make a Wonderful Priest'
By Mary Kathryn Volpone (Feb 28, 2011)
During the past three years, I've had the privilege of getting to know many of our Marian seminarians. As I've watched them grow in their awareness of God's presence in their lives, I've noticed they've helped me deepen my relationship with God too. The call to the priesthood and religious life can be a transforming experience for those who are blessed to journey with them.
While I was preparing to attend the diaconate ordination of Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, on Jan. 8, I began reflecting on how he has allowed God to make him into the man he was created to be.
I met Deacon Angelo Casimiro, MIC, when he was assigned to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., the summer of 2008. I learned that then Br. Angelo was a graphic designer before entering the Marians and was developing an interest in videography. It was through Divine Providence that we ended up working together on the Philippines mission video project I was coordinating.
Being a low-to-no budget production, I relied on qualified volunteers to assist me. At the first taping, my original videographer got a better offer and suggested Br. Angelo as a substitute. I had a feeling that God was up to something. For years I have been discerning a religious vocation, we were the same age, and in college I trained to be a videographer.
When we began working together, I noticed he was very open to my suggestions and willing to learn. I was impressed by his humility and gentleness. I, on the other hand, noticed my pride was being challenged as I tried to remember a trade I learned more than 20 years ago.
As the Marians' only native-born Filipino, Deacon Angelo may be assigned to the Marian Fathers' new mission in the Philippines at some time in the future. He and then-Br. James Cervantes, MIC, who is of Filipino descent, agreed to share their impressions of the Marians' newest mission. When the topics turned personal, I observed shy Br. Angelo gently coax his Marian brother to answer my questions. It was like an older brother helping his younger brother through a difficult situation. I thought to myself, "He's going to make a wonderful priest someday."
His sister Cecilia confirmed her older brother's pastoral gifts. "He's always been a caring, nurturing, thoughtful, helpful, peaceful and loving person. He helped my son Shawn through some difficult times when I couldn't help him answer some religious questions."
Helen Justus has known Deacon Angelo since August 2005. She attends Sunday Mass with the Marians at the Divine Mercy Chapel in Brookeville, Md., and shared her observations.
"When Deacon Angelo led our Divine Mercy Cenacle prayer group, we often asked him theological or personal questions that were quite challenging," she said. "He'd take his time answering and then send us a response which included scripture, catechism, references from Saint Faustina's Diary, and/or other sources. He is such an intelligent and thoughtful person. Amidst his heavy course load during his studies we would tell him we were like another course since he would research and come well-prepared for our sessions. He'd laugh and say we were good for him."
He is always willing to share. Several times Deacon Angelo shared with me his theological papers and reflections that encouraged me to change my patterns. One was on the Spiritual Childhood of St. Therese the Little Flower and St. Faustina. Little did I know that through his devotion to these two powerful saints he would be a living witness of their "Little Way."
When Deacon Angelo's mother, Susie, was diagnosed with cancer, I placed her name on every prayer line I knew. My heart went out to him. The cancer returned while we were rewriting the script. We are both close to our mothers, so it gave us an opportunity to share our struggles of entrusting them to Divine Providence. Since I was 14 years old, my mother has had 15 major surgeries. I somehow felt that if I held onto her I would keep her from dying. I was finally able to entrust her to God through Our Lady's intercession as she endured her second spinal fusion on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2005. Unfortunately, she's had five more surgeries since then, but I'm at peace now.
After Mrs. Casimiro returned to our Lord, Deacon Angelo shared with me how his mother's death brought him and his father closer together. Healing was beginning. His mother was the nucleus of the family. Suddenly Deacon Angelo's role changed. He was taking the lead. "My family looked to me to lead them in the funeral arrangements, selecting readings, and leading the prayers. It was surreal and yet so natural," he said.
Deacon Angelo's sister Cecilia said, "Even though we were born and raised Catholic and went to church every Sunday, our family never thought Deacon Angelo would ever be called to the priesthood or religious life." She continued, "Since his call to the priesthood, our relationship has gotten much closer. Even though we only see each other every six months, he is the same loving brother I knew growing up. Since I am the only sibling with kids, we try always to make the best of it when ever my brother is in town."
Whether Deacon Angelo is racing go-carts with his nephews or overcoming his fears of public speaking, he's placing his life in God's hands. At the diaconate ordination, Helen Justus was moved at the Imposition of Hands through Bishop Martin Holley.
"There was something so powerful about that gesture!" Someone else in attendance shared with me how she smelled roses at that moment. It is St. Therese's trademark of God's approval of his prayers.
"Even though I never met him, I hold him close in my heart," shared Debbie Slavin, RN, a Marian Helper. "I've been praying for him for such a long time now. I can't wait to come to his priestly ordination in July."
I agree. It will be another glorious day for the Marians and our family!
If you would like to show your support for Deacon Angelo and attend his ordination in July 2011 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, please call me at 1-800-671-2020.
Mary Kathryn Volpone works in the Marians' Evangelization and Development Office.
You can help Deacon Angelo and the other 150 men in formation as Marians worldwide by contributing to the Marians Seminarian Campaign.
Learn how you can become a Marian Helper — helping the Marians to spread the message of The Divine Mercy and devotion to Mary Immaculate.