“THE BOLDEST MAN I EVER KNEW”
Finally, Monsignor James Golasinski was stumped. Throughout the many conversations he and I shared in 2020 while I researched the life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz for my biography Priest and Beggar: The Heroic Story of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz, he was consistently rapid-fire with memories and storytelling. He had spent ten years in Fr. Al’s shadow in Korea in the 1960s and ‘70s – and it seemed he hadn’t forgotten a single moment spent with Fr. Al.
But one question rendered him silent: At his very core, who was Fr. Al?
After what seemed thirty seconds of silence, Msgr. Golasinski, the 91-year-old retired Texan priest, responded like a rifle shot: Bold! Fr. Al Schwartz was the boldest man I ever knew. He feared no one.
Thereafter, Msgr. Golasinski spent the next 30 minutes regaling me with stories of how he confronted American bishops and his own Korean Bishop, John Choi. His old friend told me that Fr. Al was attacked by his own seminary rector at the University of Louvain, but that it never bothered him. A gang of lepers, fellow clergy, apostolic nuncios, and a mafia kingpin went after him, Msgr. Golasinski said, but he walked right past them as well.
The Texan said he revered Fr. Al because he fought relentlessly for the poor on behalf of his Queen, the Virgin of the Poor. The only thing Fr. Al feared, perhaps, was disappointing the Virgin Mary, to whom he had consecrated his priesthood.
In this week’s One 2 One Lenten Journey Podcast, Fr. Dan Leary discusses with host Kevin Wells the boldness and righteous anger Fr. Al often was forced to live out in his heroic priesthood.