Msgr. Joseph Champlin, one of the most beloved priests in the history of the Diocese of Syracuse, died on Thursday, January 17, 2008. He was 77 years of age. Msgr. Champlin had been battling a rare form of cancer called Waldenstrom’s Disease.
Father Joseph Champlin was born on May 11, 1930 and educated in the public schools of New York State before graduating from Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts in 1947. After studying at Yale and Notre Dame, he began and continued his journey to the priesthood at seminaries in Rochester, New York. He was ordained February 2, 1956, for the diocese of Syracuse and during 50 years of priestly ministry, Father Champlin has served as pastor in three parishes within his diocese, including rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from 1995-2005. Currently, semi-retired, he was the sacramental priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Warners, New York.
From 1968-1971 he served as Associate Director in the Liturgy Secretariat for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Father Champlin edited for the American Bishops Faithful to Each Other Forever: “A Catholic Handbook of Pastoral Help for Marriage Preparation.”
Father Champlin has traveled more than two million miles here and abroad during these years lecturing on liturgical and pastoral matters as well as conducting retreats for priests and missions for parishes.
Father Champlin is most remembered for his prolific writings and his frequent lectures. He has written 50 books with over twenty million copies of his publications in print. For many years, he authored a weekly column on the liturgy and worship distributed by the NC News Service and has also appeared in about a dozen videos and made numerous television appearances. His most popular volume is Together for Life in both English and Spanish, now with over nine million copies in circulation (Ave Maria Press/Liguori).
Father Champlin has lectured widely on stewardship and sacrificial giving with a manual, Grateful Caretakers of God’s Many Gifts, including attractive companion fliers “Grateful Giving” and “Taking a Step” (Liturgical Press). In addition, Liturgical Press published a booklet by Father Champlin called: A Way of Life, “Four small group faith sharing sessions on Stewardship, Sacrificial Giving, or Grateful Caretaking.”
In November, 2003, Ave Maria Press released Slow Down: “Five Minute Reflections to De-Stress Your Days” – a compilation of 101 radio spots broadcast locally. In 2004, Alba House published From Time to Eternity and Back, a personalized account of his struggle with Waldenstrom’s Disease, a rare form of bone marrow cancer.
Two books, The Breaking of the Bread: “An Updated Handbook for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” and The Eucharist: A Mystery of Faith, were released by Paulist Press in the fall of 2004.
He completed a thorough update of What It Means to be Catholic (St. Anthony Messenger Press). In addition, a sequel to Slow Down entitled Take Five, Preparing for Eternity: “A Catholic Handbook for End of Life Concerns” and a Beginners Guide for Reading the Bible (Ave Maria Press). Catholic Book Publishing issued in 2006, A Catholic Perspective on the Purpose Driven Life. Three of his works have been published by Liguori in Spanish: El Via Crucis Con el Papa Juan Pablo II (Stations of the Cross with Pope John Paul II), De la muerte a la vida (From Death to Life) and Juntos Para Toda La Vida (Together For Life with Rite of Marriage cards as well). The last book has consistently been at the top of best selling Catholic Spanish books list. Scheduled for 2008 is “A Process for Parish Evangelization” a practical and detailed process with accompanying materials (St. Anthony Messenger Press).
Ten years ago, Father Champlin founded the Guardian Angel Society, a non-profit effort to assist children in the Central New York area from diverse below poverty level homes with their education. During that decade the Society has raised $2 million, distributed $1.5 million and aided over 150 youngsters to have a better chance at life. Seven of those graduates are now studying at prestigious colleges including Clarkson, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Syracuse University.
He also appears frequently on Sirius Satellite Radio at 6:40 a.m. on Tuesday mornings.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Calling hours: Tuesday, January 22, 3:00-7:00pm
Vigil Service: Tuesday January 22, 7:00pm
Funeral Mass: Wednesday, January 23, 10:30am
All are in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Please note: Father Champlin's remains will not be present for the Calling Hours or Funeral. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that it is a "noble and meritorious act" (#2296) for persons to donate their entire bodies to science or to a medical school for use by students studying to become physicians. Msgr. Champlin made that choice and donated his body to Upstate Medical Center. However, this process requires the body to be transferred immediately after death to the medical institution. Consequently, having his body and an open casket, present for the funeral service, traditional for priests, clearly was not possible.
For more information, contact Danielle E. Cummings, Assistant Chancellor/Director of Communications at 315.470.1476.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Msgr. Champlin Goes Through Death to Life
From the Diocese of Syracuse: