Fr. Frank Palermo dies at age 88


Father Frank C. Palermo, a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, died on March 3, 2018, at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO. He was 88.

Father Palermo was born on Oct. 24, 1929 in Kansas City, MO, to the late Frank and Beatrice (Barona) Palermo. He attended Holy Cross Grade School and graduated from St. John Preparatory High School in Kansas City. He attended St. John Seminary in Kansas City and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis before being ordained for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on March 26, 1955, by Bp. Edwin V. O’Hara.

Father Palermo was one of the first priests of the new missionary Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and served faithfully as pastor in a variety of its parishes during his almost 63 years of priesthood. These included: St. Mary Parish, Pierce City, where Fr. Palermo was serving in 1955 when it was still a part of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. He was also appointed as assistant pastor to St. Henry Parish, Charleston, MO, on May 21, 1957. Father Palermo’s first appointment as pastor was on April 23, 1960, for St. Mary Parish, Seneca, MO, and Nativity of Our Lord Mission, Noel, MO. During his priestly ministry he went on to be pastor for Sacred Heart Parish, Webb City, MO; Sacred Heart Parish, Bolivar, MO; St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Joplin, MO; St. Mary Parish, Lamar, MO, and St. Joseph Mission, Golden City, MO, which closed in 2000. Father Palermo also served a while as parochial administrator for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Springfield, MO, in 1993. He also served for many years in hospital ministry as Chaplain of the non-Catholic hospitals in Springfield and as Chaplain at St. John’s Regional Health Center (now Mercy) in Springfield, which he did with much care and compassion for those whom he served and their families.

Some of Fr. Palermo’s many other assignments included being Chaplain to the Ava Maria Circle #860, Daughters of Isabella in Charleston, MO; Chaplain to the Newman Club in Joplin, MO; Deanery Director for the Radio & Television Apostolate in Joplin, MO; Instructor of Religion for McAuley Catholic High School in Joplin, MO; and Spiritual Moderator for Diocesan Council of Catholic Women in the Diocesan Regions 3 and 4, and a member of the Cursillo Secretariat.

Father Frank retired from active ministry on Aug. 17, 2000, as Senior Priest in Residence at Holy Trinity Parish in Springfield, MO. Even in retirement, he continued to help the diocese when he was temporarily appointed parochial administrator to St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lebanon, MO, and Chaplain to the St. Francis de Sales Association in 2008.

Father Palermo is survived by his sister, Antionette (Palermo) Snodell; sister, Mary (Palermo) Bauer; his brother, Paul Palermo, as well as his nieces and nephews. Fr. Palermo was preceded in death by his sisters, Catherine (Palermo) Hudson and Josephine (Palermo) Perry.

The Rite of Christian Burial (funeral Mass) was celebrated on Wed., March 7, in Holy Trinity Church, by The Most Rev. Edward M. Rice, Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Concelebrating the liturgy was Bishop Emeritus John J. Leibrecht and the priests of the diocese. Interment was in Resurrection Cemetery, Springfield. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Springfield Catholic Schools System or Joplin Area Catholic Schools through the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

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