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From “Pope” to Politician: The Catholic Upbringing of John Kasich

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 03/08/16

A great glimpse at the Ohio governor’s formative years in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, when he was discerning a vocation to the priesthood, via The Washington Post: 

[John] Kasich’s refuge was his church on the hill, called Mother of Sorrows. As Kasich entered the fourth grade, he put on a black cassock, slipped a white hip-length garment on top, and headed to a new calling to serve as an altar boy. His dream, he told friends, was to be a priest. In this area where most people were Catholic, such dreams were not unusual, and often they didn’t last long. But Kasich seemed different. He would be celibate, leading a flock, with religion always at the forefront. His friends were convinced that the priesthood was Kasich’s life course, and many thought he was aiming even higher. They nicknamed him “Pope.” Eventually, even the head priest at Mother of Sorrows, the Rev. Joseph Farina, called him that. “I was determined to be the best altar boy Mother of Sorrows had ever seen, by a mile,” Kasich wrote in his memoir, “Every Other Monday.” …Kasich spoke frequently with an assistant pastor, the Rev. Arthur Tambucci, who oversaw youth programs. One day, walking into Tambucci’s study, Kasich looked at the books on the shelves. Tambucci said he had read every one, and Kasich vowed to do the same. Unbeknownst to Kasich, Tambucci was reconsidering his role after five years at Mother of Sorrows. Tambucci had become enamored with one of his parishioners, a young woman named Sarah Michelangelo. In time, Tambucci asked Sarah to marry him. It was, Sarah Tambucci said in an interview, a “great scandal” at the time. “People were very angry with me,” she said. “It was a very hard time.” Arthur Tambucci left Mother of Sorrows just as Kasich graduated from high school and married Sarah two years later. “Many of the people in my [high school] class, my husband either performed their marriages or baptized their children,” she said. Some of Kasich’s friends wondered whether Tambucci’s decision caused him to question his own desire to be a priest. Kasich, in an interview, said he made the decision separately when he had an epiphany. “The problem was, I couldn’t be a priest if I liked girls. That was the fundamental issue,” Kasich said.

Read on.

Photo: Wikipedia

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