Rev. Joseph S. Kaminski

Pages 490-492 - Rev. Joseph S. Kaminski has been a representative of the priesthood of the Catholic church since 1903 and his stewardship has been marked by all of consecrated zeal and devotion, as well as by the advancing of the spiritual and temporal welfare of the parishes in which he has served. He is now the honored and revered pastor of the Grand Rapids Polish parish of the Church of the Sacred Heart, where his labors were initiated in 1914, and he is one of the influential churchmen of his native state, even as he is known and honored for his loyal and constructive activities as a public spirited citizen. Father Kaminski was born in Allegan county, Michigan, January 11, 1878, and is a son of John and Mary (Adamczyk) Kaminski, who were born in Poland and who were young folks when they came to the United States, their marriage having been solemnized in Michigan and they having thereafter continued their residence in Allegan county until 1879, when, about one year after the birth of their son Joseph S., of this review, they established their residence in Grand Rapids, where, the venerable and widowed mother still maintains her home. John Kaminski was in the service of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad more than thirty years, and during the greater part of this period was a foreman, with headquarters in Grand Rapids, his death having here occurred October 17, 1918. He was a man of sterling integrity and strong mentality, and was a most devout communicant of the Catholic church, as is also his widow. Of the children, the eldest is Francis, who resides in Grand Rapids and is a representative of the New York Life Insurance Company; Rev. Joseph S., of this review, is the next younger son; John and Henrye HH are engaged in the grocery business in Grand Rapids; Mary is the wife of Stanislaus Merdzinski, of this city; and Natalie remains with her widowed mother. The early educational discipline of Father Joseph S. Kaminski was obtained in the Grand Rapids parochial school of St. Albertís church, and thereafter he continued his studies in St. Francis Seminary, in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he completed his philosophical and theological courses and was graduated as a member of the class of 1903, his ordination to the priesthood having occurred April 11 of that year. After he had thus received holy orders Father Kaminski was made assistant priest of St. Stanislaus church in Bay City, Michigan, where he remained four and one-half years. During a period of eighteen months thereafter he was pastor of St. Anthonyís church at Fisherville, Bay county, and his next pastorate was that of St. Maryís church in the city of Alpena, where he remained four years. On the first of February, 1914, Father Kaminski assumed the pastorate of the important Sacred Heart parish in Grand Rapids, where in the intervening years he has achieved a most gratifying work in advancing the spiritual and temporal prosperity of the parish. This parish was founded in 1903, and was originally an adjunct of the parish of St. Adelbertís church, the first church edifice, a most modest one, having been dedicated November 24, 1904, with one hundred and fifty Polish families in the parish and with Father L. P. Krakowski as the first pastor. In the parish registry are now represented six hundred families and in the parish school are fully eight hundred and fifty children. The school is in charge of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Milwaukee, and their parish home was erected in 1907 the year 1909 having been marked by the building of the parish house. Within the pastoral administration of Father Kaminski the members of the parish have shown their zeal and loyalty by making possible the erection of the new and beautiful church edifice, the same having been constructed under the careful direction of Father Kaminski and its dedication having occurred January 1, 1924. From an article appearing in a Grand Rapids newspaper at the time of the dedication are taken the following extracts: "Sacred Heart Church, located at the corner of Park street and Garfield avenue, attracts much attention because of its beautiful appointments and artistic interior. The building is 76 by 156 feet, has a seating capacity of 1,000 in the main auditorium, and 800 in the basement chapel. The design of the new church is in the classic style, with a clerestory supported by Corinthian columns. The main ceiling is coffered with ornamental stucco work. In every detailing the building is most modern and finely equipped for the needs of the big parish. The artistic and striking exterior of the building is of reddish buff facing brick, with cut stone and terracotta trim and decoration. The roof is of vitrified red tile." In the World war period, with characteristic loyalty, patriotism and devotion, Father Kaminski served as chaplain in the Ninth Division of the United States army, and in the reserve corps of the army he is still retained as chaplain, as he is also in a local post of the American Legion. From a previously published tribute are taken the following quotations: "Father Kaminski has been something more than spiritual advisor to his people. He has served them as counselor, guide and friend, and in their business affairs had directed them well and led them along lines of honesty and industry. His labors have had their reward in a constantly growing parish and in the love and confidence of the people who make up the Sacred Heart congregation."

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 25 November 2003