Highway portion designated to renowned priest

A portion of State Route 174 has been dedicated to the late Rev. Joseph Champlin, who died from a rare form of bone cancer Jan. 17 at age 77. Sen. John DeFranciso and Assemblyman William Barclay made the announcement at a press conference this morning at a Camillus restaurant, The Inn Between.

The segment of Route 174, which runs through the town of Camillus, has been designated as the Father Joseph Champlin Memorial Highway. A sign unveiling took place near the Route 5 and Route 174 interchange immediately following the conference.

DeFranciso described Champlin as being "a true holy man who had others in his heart at all times."

"This tribute is fitting for a special man who has touched so many lives through his messages of hope and his good works," DeFrancisco said.

Champlin was ordained in the Syracuse Diocese, where he served as presbyter for more than 50 years. He was pastor in three parishes within the diocese, rector of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception and sacramental priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Warners.

In 1997, Champlin founded the Guardian Angel Society to provide the Cathedral School's students with tuition assistance and to support their continuing education in Catholic high schools. Since its inception, the Guardian Angel Society has raised almost $2 million.

Additionally, Champlin was a prolific writer who penned 50 books on Christian topics ranging from marriage advice to meditation; more than 20 million copies of his publications are in print throughout the world today.

As well, his was a familiar voice on radio, spreading inspirational messages daily with his famous sign-off, "You may have tried everything else, why not try God?"

"Today is a happy day," DeFrancisco said. "We'll always remember Father. We always will, but even generations to come, when they travel this highway, they will see his name and ask, 'Well, who was Fr. Champlin?' and it will give all of us the opportunity to tell them about him, and keep his memory alive forever."

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