June 25, 2020, marks the 45th anniversary of the martyrdom of Friar Casimir CYPHER, OFM Conv. (December 1, 1941- June 25, 1975).
The following is the proposal made to the Extraordinary Chapter of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation on July 9, 2019.
“The Province of Our Lady of Consolation requests the Minister General to seek the formal opening of the Cause toward the beatification and canonization of our confrere, Friar Casimir Cypher, OFM Conv., who at the time of his brutal murder was serving an OLC mission in Honduras.”
Last July, while assembled at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, USA, the friars read this proposal and the Chapter Delegates enthusiastically voted in favor of promoting the Cause of Canonization. Once out of the gate, the process began gangbusters. Seven days later, the friars of the Provincial Custody of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Central America gathered in Chapter in Ayagualo, La Libertad, El Salvador, to celebrate and give their stamp of approval. A month later, on August 13, 2019, the General Definitory gave its approval and on the same day, Friar Juan Alonso PAGOADA ACOSTA, a member of the Custody of Mary, Mother of Mercy, was appointed Vice-Postulator of the Cause for Friar Casimir. Friar Juan will be promoting the Cause under the guidance of the Postulator General of the Order, Friar Damian-Gheorghe PĂTRAŞCU, OFM Conv., who lives in Rome.
Friar Juan has contacted Friars Patrick GREENOUGH and Joseph SCHENK, OFM Conv., of the Province of St. Bonaventure in the USA, to begin locating people who can provide testimony about the life of Friar Casimir in the United States. The initial stages of the process include gathering documentation, collecting the testimony of witnesses (30-50 people), creating a brief biography, and receiving the approval of the Most Reverend José BONELLO, OFM, Bishop of Juticalpa, Olancho Department, Honduras, who, after reviewing the above documentation, may issue his favorable opinion, further supporting and justifying the request.
Besides the pro-forma meetings to solicit the support of Bishop BONELLO in Olancho and other ecclesial leaders of the Honduran Bishops Conference, Friar Juan has called upon the catechists in Olancho to enlist their collaboration. They are the committed leaders of the local community’s faith formation program. Moreover, they are the organizers who respond each day to the needs of the people of the villages and aldeas. The catechists’ assistance in the process of the Cause is vital. They hold the oral tradition. They knew this man and martyr in his day and are familiar with him now. They are aware of the impact that Friar Casimir’s death had on the Church in Olancho and that his iconic presence is still felt among the people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the process. However, considering the energy of Friar Juan and the friars of Central America, one can assume this will be a momentary pause. Friar Casimir is being promoted as an icon of Gospel commitment because of his love of God, his love of the people whom he died serving, and his love of Creation which he had hoped to promote.
Friar Charles McCARTHY