Remembering Father Kaz
“Happiness in Heaven” is the ultimate goal, drilled in to kids from an early age by rote repetition—if you attended parochial school in a certain era. Definitely a positive future endeavor!
Since the overturn of Roe last June, I often think of recent inductees into this happiness, those who passionately preached the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the sanctity of life while here on earth.
Most especially, Fr. Kazimierz Apolinary Kowalski, Lutheran Minister turned NYC Catholic priest extraordinaire. To meet him was to never forget him. Firstly his appearance: While defensive-line man ready for college football, he was more likely to give you a gentle hug, for he was a great teddy bear of a man. Central casting would see him as a kind, caring older brother type who knew how and when to help and guide.
Then there was his easy intelligence and quick humor. Who better to share love of God, and God’s love for us than those blessed with both these strong attributes. And preach he did these themes from his holy heart, in equal measure to his beloved parishioners, his friends, and to strangers he’d just met.
While he was taken too soon, in early October of 2021, he remains a memorable messenger of the Lord in the hereafter, especially as February is now here. For at this time of year there were numerous emails, both general in reminder and specific in possible dining opportunities, pronouncing the official celebratory arrival of Fr. Kaz’s birthday season. What fun it was to be included in his “let me help you not forget” prompting!
Last year, February 18th was Fr. Kaz’s first birthday celebration in heaven, his 70th. His flock on earth assembled in a church auditorium, and in a loving nod to his German and Polish roots, we munched on Bavarian pretzels and raffled off Polish delicacies as we shared fond memories. There was a gigantic sheet cake he would have been proud to call his own.
As Father Kaz’s birthday draws near, I think of his love of being a priest and his steadfast proclamation of the sanctity of all life. This remains a gift to all who knew him, and yes, we can still celebrate his birthday season!