RINGWOOD, N.J. — Cassian Miles, OFM, 85, a professed Franciscan friar for 60 years and a priest for 54, died Aug. 20 at Holy Name Friary.
A wake will be held on Aug. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Bonaventure Church, 174 Ramsey St., Paterson, N.J. A viewing will take place on Aug. 24 from 9 to 10 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:15 a.m. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will be the principal celebrant and Christopher Keenan, OFM, will be the homilist. Burial will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, N.J.
Born on Oct. 16, 1929 to Francis and Anna Miles, Cassian was baptized Francis at St. Lawrence’s Church in Weehawken, N.J. After attending St. Augustine School and Holy Family High School, both in Union City, N.J., he worked for three years as a journalist for The Hudson Dispatch before entering St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., in 1951.
He completed high school and the first two years of college there before he was received into the Franciscan Order in 1954, professing first vows one year later. After studying philosophy and theology, he professed solemn vows in 1958 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1961.
His first assignment was to Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean, N.Y., where he taught English and religion from 1962 to 1966. He then moved to St. Bonaventure Church-Friary in Paterson, N.J., where he led retreats for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Program and, in 1968, started working for St. Anthony’s Guild.
Two years later, Cassian was named assistant director of the Provincial Communications Office and oversaw production of This Week, the Provincial newsletter (now HNP Today). After 15 years, he was named director of communications, as well as Provincial Secretary. He served in these capacities until 1988, when he began work for the development office as coordinator of publications. During this time, he authored and edited the popular liturgical aid Alert to God’s World, a collection of brief commentaries on scripture readings for weekday Masses, and two books on St. Anthony.
In addition to his communications duties, Cassian provided counseling services and taught adult education at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City. He also continued his work in Worldwide Marriage Encounter for the Archdiocese of New York and was a confessor and spiritual director from 1970 to 2005. From 1992 to 2009, he was the spiritual assistant for the secular institute Missionaries of Christ the King.
After 35 years of communications ministry, Cassian retired in 2005 and moved to Assumption Friary in Wood-Ridge, N.J., where he was senior associate friar in residence. In 2006, he was appointed spiritual assistant to the Secular Franciscans. After a brief stay at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, from 2008 to 2009, he moved to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., where he lived until he transferred back to Holy Name Friary in January.
Throughout his retirement, Cassian continued to assist the Communications and Development offices by editing the Province’s newsletter and The Anthonian, as well as other special projects. In 2011, Mychal’s Message, an organization named after the late Mychal Judge, OFM, announced the creation of the Father Cassian A. Miles, OFM, Jubilee Scholarship Fund in honor of the 50th anniversary of Cassian’s and Mychal’s ordination.
Cassian is survived by a brother, Joseph Miles of Cumming, Ga., as well as cousins, nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars — Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Maria Hayes and Carolyn Croke
- “HNP Communications Office Marks 40 Years of Ministry” — Feb. 3, 2010, HNP Today
- “St. Anthony’s Guild Update: Cassian Miles Focus of Latest Appeal” — July 1, 2009, HNP Today
- “Father Cassian A. Miles, OFM, Jubilee Scholarship Fund” — Oct. 14, 2013, Mychal’s Message