Rev. Rodolfo (Rudy) Casals, SJ, was born on November 16, 1974, and raised in Tarrytown, NY. He was a 1997 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and after several years of active duty in the Navy, entered the Society of Jesus in August 2006 at St. Andrew Hall in Syracuse, NY. He completed philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago and theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. During his formation as a Jesuit, he served as a chaplain at San Quentin State Prison and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, as well as parish work on Staten Island. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 2017, at Fordham University Church.
Following ordination, Fr. Casals spent a year serving St. Thomas More Parish in Atlanta, where he worked closely with the young adult and social justice ministries. He then became the assistant director of vocations for the USA East Province, serving for two years. Fr. Casals most recently finished his master’s in social work at Columbia University and was preparing to start a practicum that would allow him to work with veterans suffering from PTSD. He led a retreat for veterans in Missouri and spent a week in the desert of Arizona with Catholic Boy Scouts. Both experiences filled him with joy in ministering to the Gospel.
“I want to be a joyful priest,” Fr. Casals said in a video leading up to his ordination. And that he did. From his time praying the rosary at night on the deck of his navy ship, to his time spent helping and serving others as a Jesuit, Fr. Casals lived his life for Christ to the fullest.
Fr. Casals died unexpectedly at his Jesuit community in New York on August 2, 2022. He was 47.