TRUMBULL—Reverend Joseph F. Palacino, age 93, of Trumbull passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at Bridgeport Hospital.
Ordained at age 55, after serving his country as a veteran of two wars, working as a chemist and running owning his own market, Father Palacino is remembered for his kindness, compassion and willingness to accompany others on their journey of faith.
“Father Palacino had a long, remarkable and blessed life, and equally important he was a blessing to all those who knew him and were served by his gracious and loving ministry,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. “We should all live so well, so long, so faithfully as Father Joe.”
Father Palacino is best remembered by many parishioners of St. Jerome Parish in Norwalk, where he served his final assignment. In a beautiful tribute to Father Paladino published in the December 26, 2020 parish bulletin, Father Dave Blanchfield, retired pastor of St. Jerome’s, fondly recalled Father Palacino’s courage, kindness and decency.
“Although when he came to us he was already 67, he stayed working as a full time priest for another 21 years. Our retirement age is 75, but Father Joe loved the people of St. Jerome so much that he stayed on until health issues at age 88 forced him to retire,” said Father David Blanchfield, who continues to live in residence at the parish.
“A turning point in his life was when he was drafted for the second of two wars. After already serving as a sailor during the last days of World War II, he was again drafted as a soldier in the Korean conflict. As part of God’s plan and because he was a practicing Catholic, he was assigned to guard the Catholic chaplain when he was giving what we then called ‘the last rites’ to soldiers on the battlefield. In those moments, he got to see both the power of the Sacraments as well as the difference a priest can make in people’s lives,” said Father Blanchfield.
Father Palacino was born in Bridgeport on June 14, 1927, a son of the late Luigi Palacino and Provvidenza (Allegra) Palacino. Father Palacino is survived by his loving sister, Mary Grace Corica, of Trumbull and a devoted brother, Frank Palacino and his wife Martha, of Ocala, Fla., as well as many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews.
He was also predeceased by three brothers, Liborio, Salvatore and Angelo Palacino. Father Palacino was educated at Central High School in Bridgeport before serving honorably in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. He later graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. and was proud to be a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Assembly 100 of Norwalk for many years.
Throughout his life, Father Palacino had many occupations, including owner of Palacino’s Market and he was a chemist for nearly 20 years before he embraced his calling as a priest.
Father Palacino studied Theology at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wis., before being ordained to the priesthood by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis at St. Augustine Cathedral, Bridgeport on December 4, 1982.
After his ordination, Father Palacino first served as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Church in Shelton. In 1987, he was transferred to St. Augustine Cathedral Parish. In 1994, Father Palacino moved to his last assignment, St. Jerome in Norwalk, where he continued to serve even after his retirement.
Father Palacino’s body was received at St. Jerome Church to lie in repose. Parishioners and friends observed social distance guidelines and greeted the family. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, December 7, by Bishop Caggiano. Interment with military honors followed in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Trumbull.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jerome Church or Father Joe Appalachian Project Scholarship c/o Notre Dame High School, 220 Jefferson St., Fairfield, CT 06825.
Editor’s Note: Fairfield County Catholic regrets the inadvertent omission of Father Palacino’s obituary in the January issue of the paper. We are proud to remember this remarkable priest servant who brought the healing of Christ to so many people in the diocese.