28 July 2021
28 Jul 2021

A Gift from a Priest

Judge Frank Caprio receives an unexpected gift from a dehonian priest.

by  Mary Gorski

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Usually, when the words “priest” and “donation” are in the same sentence, the assumption is that the priest is seeking a donation for whatever ministry he is involved in. But when Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, showed up in a courtroom with a $1,000 check, it was to give a donation to someone else: Judge Frank Caprio. Since 1985, Caprio has served as Chief Municipal Judge in Providence, Rhode Island (USA). His compassion, kindness and humor have made him a local legend, and in recent years through videos and television, a national example of justice and mercy.

Inspired by Judge Caprio’s sense of “mercy and judging fairly,” Fr. Mark decided to pay a visit to the judge’s courtroom and offer a donation of $1,000.

“The court system is about mercy and judging fairly… journeying with somebody and pulling them out of the depths of despair. You represent what the justice system should be about, real justice,” said Fr. Mark.

View the video of Fr. Mark and Judge Caprio interacting with each other in the courtroom.

From Fr. Mark’s message to the Superior General:

Dear Fr Carlos. I thank you for your kind words. I was in town to participate in a Military Promotion ceremony for my former commander. As you may know, I was a Army Chaplain and served in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I went to the courthouse only to drop off money that my family and friends have given me to donate to help the poor pay their court fines and thank the judge for the merciful work he does for the poor and Military veterans. Judge Caprio, a practicing Catholic, insisted I come into the court room. I had know idea I would be filmed. It is very humbling to have close to 800,000 thousand people texting me and writing me on the internet. They praise the Judge and me for our words for those who have no voice in life. Many of these strangers have been moved to tears and have had their faith restored in the Priesthood and the Catholic Church. Even Jews and Muslims and people from around the world have commented positively about the video. God certainty works in strange ways. As someone who has done podcasting and been involved in youth ministry, we need this message to get out about the mercy of the Sacred Heart. I have tried in my own way un the last 21 years to show our US Province the power of media. Perhaps this may move us to use the media as a tool of God and our Dehonian spirituality. I thank you again for your generous comments. God bless and safe travels. Per COR Jesus

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