President Bush Gives Volunteer Award to Msgr. Champlin Congratulations to Monsignor Joseph Champlin, who received the President's Volunteer Service Award directly from President Bush yesterday when the President visited Canandaigua, N.Y. The Monsignor is being recognized for founding the Guardian Angel Society in 1997, helping to raise nearly $2 million for tuition assistance and technology updates at the Cathedral school here in Syracuse, NY. The Cathedral school has 100 kids, 20 percent of them Catholic, a majority African-American and 75 percent below poverty-level income. The Guardian Angel Society also supports ongoing education for graduates and a community mentoring program.
I have a special place in my heart for Father Champlin, not only for being one of the most inspirational priests I've ever known, but also because he baptized my son. While he was at Cathedral, he invite the Ecumenical group with whom I sing to perform at least once a year.
He has run every year in the Camillus Veterans Memorial 5k Run, which traditionally kicks off our annual Memorial Day parade. A gifted writer, he has penned many books about Catholicism and sprituality. He has struggled with bone marrow cancer, diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in 2002. He wrote a book titled From Time to Eternity and Back: A Priest's Successful Struggle with Cancer. My own mother read and was comforted by the book in her last days in her own battle with cancer. One of my favorite books by Father Champlin is Slow Down, which is a book of five-minute meditations on God and spirituality. (Read a sample - "Blessings in Burdens" - pdf file)