LaFargevilles St. John took second place at their last fair

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LAFARGEVILLE, New York (WWNY) – “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The pews were filled on Sunday at St. John the Evangelist in LaFargeville for the Church’s second through final mass. Some have spent their Sunday here for more than 70 years.

Barbara Robinson has been attending Church since 1947 and Marcia O’Neill has also been attending Church since the late 1940s.

“About the age of seven, that would have been about ’48, ’49,” said O’Neill.

And over the years, miles of memories have been created.

“I got married here 62 years ago today,” said O’Neill.

“We brought our nine children here for mass every Sunday. All nine celebrated their first communion here, seven got married here, ”said Robinson.

That is why the closure is painful for so many. Terry LaValley, the bishop of the diocese of Ogdensburg, says the church will be closed due to a dwindling population and fewer priests.

“Economically and realistically it was impossible to sustain a church like this,” said LaValley.

And next Sunday an era will come to an end in more ways than one. Arthur LaBaff is retiring as a pastor. He was ordained 55 years ago and has been a pastor in St. John for 12 years.

“Yes, it’s bittersweet. But I will remain a priest of the sacraments, ”said Pastor Arthur LaBaff.

Pastor LaBaff says he will continue to celebrate masses and funerals, but he will not have any administrative duties.

The church dates from the 1840s. It has been an integral part of the community ever since. And there is one thing that parishioners will miss in particular.

“I’ll just miss all of these people,” said Robinson.

Both Robinson and O’Neill say they haven’t decided where to go to church after St. John’s closes. But this group still has a Sunday to celebrate church service together.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.



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