ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Father Fernand Cassista, M.S. of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette died July 31 at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Attleboro. He was born in Nashua, N.H. on Mar. 25, 1938, the son of the late Amedee Cassista and Marcelle (Charest) Cassista.
Father Cassista attended St. Francis Xavier School in Nashua and graduated in 1952 after which he entered the La Salette Minor Seminary in Enfield, N.H. He entered the La Salette Novitiate in Center Harbor, N.H. in 1958 and made his first profession as a Missionary of the La Salette in 1959.
He then completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology at La Salette Major Seminary in Attleboro.
He was ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 13, 1965 in Fall River and celebrated his first Solemn Mass on Feb. 14, 1965 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Nashua.
Father Cassista spent most of his years as a priest at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro. He was also a chaplain of a school for delinquent boys in Brewster from 1968 to 1970; director of the music department of Mark IV Presentations in Attleboro from 1970 to 1972; he was associate pastor at Our Lady of the Cape Church in Brewster from 1978 to 1982; pastor of St. Helena Parish in Enfield from 1989 to 1993 and then was a retreat leader and spiritual director at La Salette Center for Christian Living in Attleboro since 1993.
Father Fern, as he was called by friends and family, was a lover of the arts, especially plays, movies, classical and Church music. He greatly enjoyed reading, crafts and watching the Red Sox.
Father Cassista is survived by a sister, Priscilla McKuskie of Nashua, aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the La Salette Shrine Church on August 4. Burial will be held at a later date at La Salette Cemetery, Enfield, N.H. Arrangements provided by Sperry & McHoul Funeral Home, 15 Grove Street, North Attleboro.
Contributions in Father Cassista’s memory may be made to the Food for the Poor, Inc., 550 SW 12th Avenue, Deerfield, Fla. 33442-3188 or the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, 915 Maple Avenue, Hartford, Conn., 06114-2330.