Fr. Francis "Felix" Cassidy, OP
Fr. Felix Francis Edward Cassidy, OP died peacefully on Friday, November 13, 2015. Fr. Felix was born on June 3, 1927 and raised in San Francisco's Pacific Heights. He was baptized at St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco. He attended St. Ignatius Prep. He was a World War II veteran, joining the Merchant Marine at the age of 17, serving from 1945-46. Throughout his life in the Dominican Order, Fr. Felix had various assignments; however, he would spend most of his life at his beloved St. Dominic's Church & Priory. Fr. Felix was clothed in the Dominican habit on August 14, 1948 in Ross, CA, and was ordained a priest on June 11, 1954 at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco.
His parents, Edward George Cassidy and Mildred Mary Callan, christened him "Francis," but the Dominican Order would give him the name "Felix." It was a most appropriate name because it means "Happy" and that is how we would best describe him. His brothers and most others called him "Fr. Cas" or just plain "Cas."
Even though it was not unexpected, after a long struggle with declining health, his death was a jolt to us, particularly to the contemporary generation of his confreres who could not imagine the Western Dominican Province without him. His was a defining presence in our lives. We were never unaware that there was a saint among us. With his distinctive voice and humor, he was our own local St. Joseph of Cupertino. He lived life to its fullness, displaying his child-like simplicity and playfulness-yet, always remaining a model of Christian virtue, like the great saints of old.
Fr. Felix was well-known in San Francisco. Although he served in many other assignments, including Holy Rosary Church (Antioch, CA), St. Vincent's Church (Vallejo, CA), Holy Rosary Church (Portland, OR), Kentfield, CA (as Prior), in the missions in Chiapas (Altamirano, MX), and as Rector and Superior at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral (Reno, NV), St. Dominic's Church and the Shrine of St. Jude were his home. He was devoted to Our Blessed Lady, to his beloved St. Jude, to his brothers, to the pilgrims at the Shrine, and to the faithful of St. Dominic's Church and the city. He was the confessor and spiritual adviser to many souls. He lifted the burdens of many people who came to him over the decades, seeking him out to pour their troubles upon him and to hear his encouraging words.
Fr. Felix will be dearly missed by his family, especially his many nieces and nephews, his Dominican brothers, the parishioners of St. Dominic's Church, the faithful of San Francisco and all those whom he has touched along the way. May he rest in peace.
To honor the memory of Fr. Felix, donations to "opwest.org/frfelixmemorial"
will support the education of future priests and brothers of the Western Dominican Province.
Vigil Services were celebrated on Thursday, November 19th, at St. Dominic's Church, San Francisco. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Friday, November 20th, at St. Dominic's Church, San Francisco, which was followed by burial at St. Dominic's Cemetery in Benicia, CA.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 16 to Nov. 22, 2015.