Have you ever wondered how to make the ordinary things in your life extraordinary? That is what Friar Casimir CYPHER did in his lifetime. On June 25, 1975, he was murdered, along with thirteen others, in Olancho, Honduras. On June 16-26, 2022, the friars of the Provincial Custody of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Central America, together with the Diocese of Juticalpa in Olancho-Honduras, celebrated the memory, mission and witness of this confrere’s life with various activities.
The Vice-Postulator of the cause for Friar Casimir, Friar Juan Alonzo PAGOADA ACOSTA, and the Most Reverend Joseph BONELLO, Bishop of Juticalpa, Honduras, are leading the preliminary process of the diocesan cause for Friar Casimir, whose fame as a martyr continues to spread among the faithful of the Diocese.
In the days leading up to the anniversary of Friar Casimir’s death, the Vice-Postulator visited the communities where Friar Casimir lived and served. He spoke with people who knew Friar Casimir, shared his life and saw how he made the ordinary things in life into something extraordinary.
In order to continue to promote the life, mission and witness of Friar Casimir, a number of activities specific to this preliminary diocesan phase were carried out. These included meetings with parish apostolic groups and private interviews; conferences through radio, television and social media; identifying and interviewing witnesses; visiting places where the friars carry out their mission; and attending celebrations with the parishioners of San Jerónimo Church in Gualaco, Honduras, the place where the remains of Friar Casimir repose.
Friar Casimir came to the Diocese of Juticalpa in early 1973. While there, he spent his life serving the poorest of the poor in the parishes in Gualaco and San Esteban. He traveled the mountain roads on foot or on horseback in order to serve God’s people. As a good Franciscan, he enjoyed the natural surroundings. He shared in the ordinary life of the communities he visited and made his life extraordinary. Friar Casimir gave his life to a Church that was under attack for its apostolic commitment and persecuted out of hatred for the Faith. Now, forty-seven years after his death, these communities recall and embrace the virtues they have come to know in Friar Casimir, virtues which made his life extraordinary.
The Vice-Postulator visited the local communities, interacted with the people there and listened to their stories about the ordinary life of our confrere. In this way, he learned even more about Friar Casimir’s closeness to the people and the simplicity, joy, and unassuming character shown by this Conventual Franciscan missionary. Because of our confrere’s virtues and the sacrifice of his life on June 25, 1975, the people still remember him vividly and keep precious stories about him in their hearts. Year after year, the community at the pilgrim church in Olancho Department relives and celebrates his story, thus promoting the example of his life, his mission and his martyrdom.
There have been abundant fruits in the Diocese of Juticalpa and in the parish community of Gualaco. Two new priests have been ordained for the diocesan clergy, and the members of the local Church have made a commitment to promote the preliminary cause of Friar Casimir in the religious education of children, in parish catechesis, among young people and among parish apostolic groups. Furthermore, the cause continues with the identification of witnesses, the testaments of graces received and the collection of the necessary information. Later, this will be presented as proof of the martyrdom of Friar Casimir, for the good of the Church in his beloved Diocese of Juticalpa.
Profound thanks to all the faithful who have aided the cause by sharing the gifts that God has given them, and to the families who welcomed the friars into their humble and simple homes.
The friars of the Custody, and those of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation in the USA, have been very attentive and diligent in furthering the preliminary diocesan process of the cause of Friar Casimir. With God’s help and approval, we hope Friar Casimir will be presented and considered by Holy Mother Church, as a model of following of Jesus and of following the example of St. Francis and the other Franciscan saints.
Friar Juan Alonzo PAGOADA ACOSTA, Vice-Postulator of the cause.