“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” Leviticus 26:12
The Reverend Dr. Mary Ellen Cassini
A Miami native, my parents, a Midwestern American father and an Australian mother, met during World War II and were happily married for 48 years. Both taught me to love learning and to explore the rich diversity of South Florida. I was educated in Miami Dade Public Schools and then enrolled in Barry College, now Barry University, where I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a double minor in Social Sciences and Secondary Education. In 1984, I completed a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, also at Barry University. My love for the written word continues to enrich my life. I have been an educator for 40 years and teaching is my passion.
After teaching English, history, and drama for 20 years at North Miami Senior High School and Miami Country Day School, I became Head of the Middle School at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, an Episcopal independent, co-educational school for Grades JK-12. Following a seven-year tenure, I responded to God’s call to ordained ministry.
I completed a year of Anglican Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary and returned to South Florida and served as the Chaplain of Saint Andrew’s School. I was ordained a deacon in 2006 and a priest in 2008 in the Diocese of Southeast Florida. In 2010 I was awarded a Doctorate of Ministry degree in Practical Theology from Barry University.
My thesis was entitled Articulating the Role of the Chaplain in a Religiously Diverse Episcopal Independent School. One of the emphases of Episcopal schools is to celebrate and serve students of diverse faiths, customs, cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs.
After serving a further seven years at Saint Andrew’s School as Chaplain, I was offered the opportunity to serve as the Associate Rector at Saint Mark’s Church and School in Fort Lauderdale. Later I became the interim Head of School at Saint Christopher’s Montessori School on Key Biscayne.
I explored other areas of service to God’s people. Currently, I am the Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life at Palmer Trinity School in Palmetto Bay. Palmer Trinity serves grades 6-12 with 765 students. I teach in the Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics department and I am a member of the Administrative Leadership team. I continue to be involved actively on the staff and in worship at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Miami.
My daily vocation involves serving God’s people in a variety of ways, including administering the Sacraments, engaging in pastoral care work, participating in outreach and mission experiences, and listening to and accompanying God’s people on their journey. The opportunity to minister in a variety of educational and ecclesial settings has been an important element of my life in service to others.
I have been married to Charles Cassini, a retired Philosophy professor at Barry University, for 38 years. He is a devout Roman Catholic; I am a devout Episcopalian. Our ecumenical marriage has enriched our family’s spiritual lives. We have two sons, the eldest, Marty, is married to Gretchen Hirt Cassini and he is the father of Justin. Our second son is Matthew. Our family is truly a blessing from God. We all celebrate that all of us are graduates of Barry University. Our mission in our lives is to reflect the grace of the Dominican life of service, social justice, and study.