St. Casimir Parish History
In 1870, Polish settlers began arriving in the Posen area. These pioneers brought with them a determined and courageous spirit, and their strong Roman Catholic faith that is an integral part of the Polish heritage. Thus equipped, they were ready to meet the challenges of life in a strange land. The first priest assigned to these Polish immigrants was the Jesuit, Fr.Szulak, who came to Posen twice a year from 1874-1879. In 1879, under his direction, the first church building, constructed from logs, was begun. It was also in 1879 that the first pastor, Fr. Bogacki, was assigned to Posen.
To see the congregation of 1879 click on St.Casimir-1879
Seven years later, in 1886, a school was begun, and was initially staffed by the Felician Sisters. The Sisters of Mercy administered and taught in the school from 1919 until 1984. Over the years, many changes occurred in the area, and in the life of the parish, but there was one constant — the tremendous faith of the people. Moving forward, the year 1971 was to be a memorable one for the people of St. Casimir Parish. Not only was it the year of its incorporation into the newly created Diocese of Gaylord, but it was also the year that ground was broken for the construction of a new church building under the direction of Fr. Clarence Smolinski. As always, the people responded in faith, and with additional sacrifices to build this new place of worship. On June 25, 1972, the new church building was dedicated by Bishop Edmund C. Szoka, and continues to provide the people of St. Casimir Parish with a “house of prayer,” From 1980 to the present, Fr. Ray Mulka (1980-1989), Fr. Gerald Micketti (1989-1992), and Fr. Stan Bereda (1992-2005), have provided pastoral leadership in a time when lay ministry continues to evolve and flourish. This is evident in the increased lay participation in the active parish councils and commissions, and in an expanding religious education program as well as the Youth Ministry program which has served the junior and senior high students since late 1992. As we begin the third millennium, we look back on all that has been accomplished, and look forward to the continuation of a long tradition of worshiping the Almighty, sharing His Word, and co-building God’s Kingdom. While the challenges of the future will most assuredly be different than those faced in the infancy of St. Casimir Parish, the example and faith of our ancestors will sustain us in our mission into the 21st century.
St. Casimir of Poland Casimir was the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Poland. He was born in 1458, one of thirteen children. As a prince, Casimir was expected to help his father, the king, increase Poland’s power through war, as well as through an arranged marriage that would give Poland more territory and more power.
However, from an early age, Casimir knew that his life belonged, not to his father or to Poland, but to God. Casimir’s tutor was a holy man, and it was from him that Casimir developed his commitment to God. God was the center of Casimir’s life from an early age. Despite pressure, humiliation, and rejection, he stood by that loyalty throughout his whole life.
It may be hard for us to imagine royal luxury as a burden. But for Casimir, the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalty or dedication to God. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore plain, simple clothes like the ordinary people. Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he slept on the floor, rather than on a royal bed. Many of those around him laughed at him, but Casimir refused to change his ways.
As a young man, Casimir’s father, the king, sent Casimir to lead an army to take over the throne of Hungary–a neighboring country– at the request of some nobles there. Casimir felt the whole expedition was wrong, but he was convinced to go out of obedience to his father. When soldiers in his army began to desert, Casimir was only too glad to listen to the advice of his officers and turn back home to Poland.
Unfortunately for Casimir, a very different response awaited him upon his return to Poland. Casimir’s father was furious that his plans to conquer Hungary had failed; he banished Casimir to a castle in another part of Poland, hoping that imprisonment would change Casimir’s mind. However, Casimir’s commitment to what he believed was right only grew stronger in his exile. He refused to cooperate with any more of his father’s plans despite continuing pressure to give in to what his father wanted him to do. Casimir also rejected a marriage alliance his father tried to set up for him. Instead, he devoted his time to God, his true King, praying, studying, and helping the poor.
Casimir died at the age of 26 on March 4, 1484, from a lung disease while visiting in the neighboring country of Lithuania. He was buried in Lithuania, and named a saint in 1604. He was buried with his favorite song, a Latin hymn to Mary called “Omni die dic Mariae” which we know as “Daily, Daily Sing to Mary.” Because of his love for the song, it is known as the Hymn of St. Casimir although he didn’t write it.
St. Casimir’s feast day is March 04. St. Casimir is patron saint of Poland and Lithuania. St. Casimir has a special place in the hearts of all Poles. St. Casimir, as the patron saint of our parish, is one of our special guides on our journey here on earth.
St. Casimir, by the example of his life, teaches us that:
* we should always see ourselves as God’s servants first; that even when others pressure us to do something that we don’t want to do, or something that is wrong, we should always choose what God wants;
* we should think of others, especially those who are poor or in need in any way, and do what we can to help them;
* if we choose to follow the way of Jesus with our whole heart, we may experience opposition and ridicule from others, including from family members and friends;
* if we are true to our Catholic beliefs and moral convictions, we will have a place in God’s
St. Dominic (1170-1221)
If he hadn’t taken a trip with his bishop, Dominic would probably have remained within the structure of contemplative life; after the trip, he spent the rest of his life being a contemplative in active apostolic work.
Born in old Castile, Spain, he was trained for the priesthood by a priest-uncle, studied the arts and theology, and became a canon of the cathedral at Osma, where there was an attempt to revive the apostolic common life described in the Acts of the Apostles.
On a journey through France with his bishop, he came face to face with the then virulent Albigensian heresy at Languedoc. The Albigensians (Cathari, “the pure”) held to two principles—one good, one evil—in the world. All matter is evil—hence they denied the Incarnation and sacraments. On the same principle, they abstained from procreation and took a minimum of food and drink. The inner circle led what some people regarded as a heroic life of purity and asceticism not shared by ordinary followers.
Dominic sensed the need for the Church to combat this heresy, and was commissioned to be part of the preaching crusade against it. He saw immediately why the preaching was not succeeding: the ordinary people admired and followed the ascetical heroes of the Albigenses. Understandably, they were not impressed by the Catholic preachers who traveled with horse and retinues, stayed at the best inns and had servants. Dominic therefore, with three Cistercians, began itinerant preaching according to the gospel ideal. He continued this work for 10 years, being successful with the ordinary people but not with the leaders.
His fellow preachers gradually became a community, and in 1215 he founded a religious house at Toulouse, the beginning of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).
His ideal, and that of his Order, was to link organically a life with God, study and prayer in all forms, with a ministry of salvation to people by the word of God. His ideal: contemplata tradere: “to pass on the fruits of contemplation” or “to speak only of God or with God.”
Patron Saint of Astronomers & Dominican Republic