Remembering St. Casimir

Frank Adasiewicz came from Poland in the 1890s. When he arrived in Youngstown, he was given shelter by the Mylnarski family on the North Side and became a parishioner of St. Casimir parish.  I was told that he donated funds but, not one for hard labor, never physically laid the bricks to build the current church with his neighbors.
When he married Stanisława, he bought a home one block away on Superior Street and his family’s life, like that of many immigrants, revolved around that church.
My mother, Dolores Adasiewicz Cika, grew up with her five brothers and sisters there. At St. Casimir she was baptized, educated, married and a few years ago, buried from there.  The stories she told of her father dressing up for mass and her walking to her wedding down the alley across from church were so vivid I feel as if I was there.
Although she moved from the family home and the neighborhood in 1963 when pregnant with me, she never left the parish; too much of her heart was there.
I never lived in the neighborhood, but we attended that church. She made sure my sisters and I grew up knowing all the people, stories and even streets that surrounded it. It was important that we appreciate it as much as she did and that we create our own memories there. And she accomplished her goal.On Saturday when Bishop George Murray celebrates the last mass at this parish my family and I will be sitting in the pews remembering experiences there with so many others.
Here’s some of the things I will be thinking about:
·         Snaking through the houses on Fifth and Crandall area to shave a few minutes off the drive from Liberty…Holding your breath on the way hoping that Larry Walk’s radio show theme song— known in our family as the “Late-to-Church Polka” --didn’t start before we arrived
·         Dipping your hand in the beautiful holy water font while looking into the eyes of the loving angel…Sitting in the same pew every week lined up in a row all in dresses and curls with the row of Sepesys and Copichs doing the same nearby but Uncle Frank and the other bachelors sitting in their own section…Playing with the hat and glove holders on the back of the pews until it pinched your finger…Daydreaming about what it might be like to walk on the beautiful tresses that cross the church ceiling…Trying to figure out how they changed the light bulbs in the intricate hanging lamps above my head…running up and down the blacktop between the two parking areas or walking the rock ledge like a balance beam… Having to go pee so badly but always being afraid to go into the pitch black undercroft to use the bathroom because even when you go there the light switch was too high to reach…Always being jealous of the girls who got to crown the May Queen out in the Grotto…cookies with Grandma Hoffman while Cynthia was in CCD;
·         Convincing Martin Hernandez and Robert Cook to help me sneak by the guest priest and be an altar server LONG before any girls were allowed on the altar anywhere. Wow, was Fr. Bill Slipski angry when he got back from vacation!
·         Being allowed to join the choir and then getting to go up into the loft and look over everybody while singing…Sandy Copich’s meticulous rehearsals and directing with Karen Kolenich’s playing of the organ…learning Polish using the phonetics on Christmas kolędy...trying to stay awake during midnight mass after cocktails during Wigilia dinner…Damien Tarantino’s solos…annual pictures in front of the altar…The excitement of seeing the church all decorated especially the HUGE manger and the infant on Christmas Eve;
·         Sneaking up to the choir loft before my wedding and watching everyone file in then walking down the aisle with Daddy and Uncle Frank and seeing all those familiar faces smiling back at me;
·         The Polish Day that almost wasn’t thanks to a hurricane but was saved by Fr. Keehner’s generosity and became the impetus for the creation of PolishYoungstown…and my Mom sitting in a seat on the corner of that end table smiling from ear to ear. “I haven’t seen it this crowded here since my wedding.”…Polish Arts Wigilia 2008 when we spent an entire day decorating the stage then Krakowiaki did a performance entering only with candle light…numerous dance workshops and rehersals…Polish language lessons…saying and singing the Novena to Our Lady of Częstochowa in the chapel with just Fr. Joseph Rudjak because no one else came to do so.
·         Mom’s empty spot in the choir pew
By: administrator On Thursday, 23 February 2012 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(317087)

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