Burlington County deacon works for social justice

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Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton is pleased to honor Deacon James L. Casa of Mount Holly as our Light of Hope of Burlington County.

When Deacon James L. Casa was preparing to become a deacon, he took many classes to ensure he’d be effective in his ministry. The classes ranged from spirituality, sacramental study and liturgical preparation to pastoral care, church history and homiletics.

Yet what Deacon Jim found most compelling were the three weeks when Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton staff spoke to him and his classmates of the work, scope and vision of the 107-year-old social services agency.

Ordained in 1996, Deacon Jim cemented his support of Catholic Charities’ mission 10 years ago by joining its Burlington County Board. He has been an active member ever since.

Inspired by the Scriptures

Before he involves himself in any ministry, Deacon Jim prays the Gospel passage (Luke 4: 16-19) when Jesus told of His purpose “…to proclaim good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the prisoner…recovery of sight for the blind…to set the oppressed free…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

For Deacon Jim, this is at the heart of the ministry of Catholic Charities. Through various Catholic Charities programs, the light of Christ is tenderly brought to a hurting, confused and suffering world, Deacon Jim said.

“Clearly, this brings the Gospel home to so many people and makes faith real,” he added.

Deacon Jim felt further called to action after reading that St. Paul VI advised: “If you want peace, work for justice.” So several years ago, he joined Catholic Charities’ Social Policy Committee, which sets the agency’s advocacy agenda.

A civil and spiritual servant

Since 1996, Deacon Jim has served the parish of Sacred Heart in Mount Holly.

He is a retired civil servant for Burlington County, where he worked as a transportation analyst and advocated for senior citizens and residents with disabilities. One county program that he introduced was a transportation cooperative that helped Catholic Charities clients who needed public transportation get to Delaware House in Westampton.

For the past five years, Deacon Jim developed a second career as a chaplain at Hampton Behavioral Health Center in Westampton, where he serves the spiritual needs for patients struggling with addiction and mental illness. He also serves the community as a chaplain for the Mount Holly Police Department. And he is president of the Rancocas Valley Clergy Association, which represents 17 interdenominational churches.

Deacon Jim and Emmy, his wife of 45 years, were high school sweethearts. They have two adult children.

Celebrate with us!

Deacon Jim will be honored at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope on Wednesday, September 30th. Comedian and actor Joe Piscopo will host this virtual fundraiser and celebration of our supporters. It’s free to tune in! Register today here.

Subscribe for more news

For more information, contact Events Coordinator Barbara Yuson at byuson@cctrenton.org or Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, at ddifilippo@cctrenton.org or (215) 756-6277 (cell).

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