Plattsburgh parishioners brave cold to say goodbye

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Despite the snow and winds, members of the faithful, young and old came to the St. John's Catholic church in Plattsburgh Sunday.

"We made it," said Elaine Williford, who along with her husband, braved the drive from Beekmantown.

"It was mostly okay. There was a few spots, at the intersections especially it was bad," said Mike Williford.

These Catholics were determined to get here.

"We live in Saranac originally, so we had to stay in Plattsburgh for the night, just so we could help out with the parishes," said Stevan Loy of Saranac.

Because this isn't just any Sunday mass. It's Father Canaan's last mass at St. John's.

"We wanted to come down, because he's been such a good pastor to us," said Mike Williford.

"We just want to be there for him. He loves the people here. And we all love him," said Loy.

"For all these people to weather the storm and to come and worship together one last time with me, it's humbling, it's very humbling," said Father Timothy Canaan.

His cardiologist recommended he retire after continued heart problems worsened. The thought of embarking on a new hopefully less stressful path, is a daunting one.

"This has been difficult, because this is my life. It's my passion," said Father.

For Father Canaan and the parishioners it's been 12 and a half years of weddings, baptisms, celebration, and special blessings.

All are cherished memories.

"I firmly believe that those who live in the Lord don't have to say goodbye, it's until we meet again," Father Canaan addressed the church.

All the snow in the world couldn't keep these parishioners from giving these final hugs.

"He's always going to be welcome here and loved," said Loy.