TOM CASEY will be remembered within the Roman Catholic community in England as the founder member in 1952 and first chairman of Family and Social Action, an interest group modelled on the Young Christian Workers Movement, which seeks to strengthen the commitment of lay and young people to the life of the Church.
It was his local priest at St Bernard's parish in Liverpool, Father Frank Danher, who persuaded Tom Casey to help in the formation of a group of Young Christian Workers, a new movement which was just in its infancy before the Second World War. As a skilled toolmaker he was not called up during the war but in 1946 he was persuaded by Pat Keegan to join the national team of full-time working Young Christian Workers which was being formed in London. At first Casey's organising ability was expressed in the Bristol and West Country area and then he served as national president until he returned from London to Liverpool in 1950.
Casey had great faith in the philosophy of the Young Christian Workers and in their 'gospel inquiry', as it is known when the members are expected to be imbued with three guidelines: to see, judge and then to act. The social- inquiry method where one is expected to adapt the work situation to one's religious faith was also not to be neglected.
Casey was enthusiastic in his support of industrial chaplaincy, knowing personally many of those who have been pioneers in this witness, and served faithfully the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council formed by Archbishop Beck. By then he was regarded as an elder statesman full of valuable experience and committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic church called for by the Second Vatican Council. He was a loyal friend to Archbishop Derek Worlock. Both cherished the long friendship which had lasted nearly 50 years.
Tom Casey was honoured when he received his Knighthood of St Gregory, a fitting tribute to a pioneer. He worked for the Lay Apostolate all his days and as Archbishop Worlock said in a fine tribute to him, he 'hated humbug or pretence', being to everyone the most 'faithful of men'.