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John Palcewski's Journal

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Self Absorbed, Detached, Formidable

A friendly reporter at the Youngstown Vindicator was kind enough to run through the newspaper’s microfilm archives and found an obit, as well as a few other articles about Monsignor Kasmirski, formerly of St. Casimir church. This man played a highly significant role in my childhood, and it was exceedingly strange to once again see his humorless face. The most positive memory I have is of him kneeling at his prie dieu every day, reading the Liturgy of the Hours.

In the sacristy before mass he’d stand before a big cabinet containing wide shallow drawers, each bearing a different vestment, according to the season. He was always silent in donning his sacred costume, he never talked to me, or even acknowledged my presence. He was wholly self-absorbed, detached, formidable.

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He and his guilt producing bullshit really set your life on an unfortunate course. I looked him up on google and the only reference I found was in your Memoria Nera memoir in Archepelago. He'd be good and forgotten except for your entry here, 45 years after his death. He gets an immortality he deserves.

Thanks for taking the trouble to examine this gloomy history. It was bad enough, but on calm reflection my experience with the Pope John XXIII- appointed prothonotary apostolic could have been much worse.

In the other clips there are references to a number of colleges and seminaries he attended, the earliest mention being that of Niagra Univerisity and St. Bonaventure Seminary, then Our Lady of the Lake Seminary, and in another obit a colleague of his disclosed that Kasmirski dropped out of seminary for two years "because he did not think he was worthy to be a priest."

Well, you read the Archipelago piece, and you know he no longer had doubts as to his own moral authority and didn't hesitate to intimidate me into betraying my excommunicated mother.

As I've been saying lately the good news in all this is that I no longer regard the writing of a memoir as an emotional problem, but rather an aesthetic one.

I noticed in Memoria Nera that Maria found out in January 2005 that your father had died several months earlier in 2005. I'm assuming that she found this out in January 2006, and the Jan. 2005 is a typo? You don't really have to respond about this to me, but I thought it might be something you would want to clarify in the future if by chance you hadn't noticed it.

Good catch! I hadn't noticed this. Thanks.

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