The Brooklyn Diocese appointed Monsignor David Cassato, the pastor of St. Athanasius-St. Dominic Church in Bensonhurst, as the new vicar for Catholic schools on Thursday.
Cassato, who has served as a pastor in Bensonhurst since 2001, will promote Diocesan Catholic schools, serve on the board of all Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, and advise the schools’ pastors in his new role, the Diocese said.
The pastor was ordained by the Brooklyn Diocese in 1972, holds a Master of Science degree in education from Mercy College and has worked extensively in Catholic education. He opened a Catholic school while he was the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, oversaw the merger of two other schools, and served as the chaplain of Bishop Kearney High School.
He has also served at Saint Rita’s in Long Island City, and was appointed a New York City Police Chaplain and, later, Deputy Chief Chaplain.
Cassato’s wide-ranging experience equips him to lead the borough’s Catholic school system through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said.
“Monsignor Cassato is stepping into this role at a uniquely challenging time for our Catholic schools. I am confident he will be successful because he handles his multiple responsibilities with effect and grace,” he said. “His experience will provide him the opportunity also to be a great leader in this new role.”
Cassato said that he hopes to continue diversifying Brooklyn’s Catholic schools by increasing outreach to immigrants, particularly Latinos.
“We have so much to offer children of all backgrounds, but especially immigrant children, who we have been educating for years,” he said. “Diversity is in our DNA here in the Diocese, and our students leave our Catholic schools with the important values we hold dear, a foundation for success long after they graduate.”
He also commended the schools’ response the coronavirus pandemic, but said that he plans to have classes commence in person in September.
“While we see the online lessons work in our schools, I believe that as we look to start the new school year in September, it is absolutely critical that we open our network of Catholic schools,” he said. “Children learn best in the classroom. Of course, a lot is going to depend on the decisions made by government and health officials.”
Cassato will replace Auxiliary Bishop James Massa, who was recently appointed the rector of a seminary in Westchester.