CHAMPLAIN - The Town of Champlain Quadricentennial Committee is preparing for some upcoming celebrations that will honor the man for whom their town is named.
St. Mary's Church, located on Church Street in the village of Champlain, will hold a special Mass next Sunday, Aug. 2, which will honor French explorer Samuel de Champlain. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m., and be officiated by the Rev. Marcel Rainville from St. Michael's College, Colchester, Vt. Joining him in the celebration will be the Rev. Terry Lavalley, a native of Mooers who serves as interim administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg; the Rev. James Delbel, pastor of St. Mary's Church; and the Rev. Dean Bechard, a native of Coopersville.
Celine R. Paquette, vice chairperson of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission and a member of the town Quadricentennial committee, said the Mass will be open to people of all faiths and conducted in both English and French, in honor of Samuel de Champlain.
"Champlain was a very religious man," explained Paquette. "On the monument in Champlain, one can read 'He valued the salvation of a soul more than the conquest of a kingdom.'"
The monument of which Paquette spoke, which recognizes the explorer, is located on the church grounds and will be rededicated following the Mass. The rededication will be similar to a ceremony held in 1959 in honor of the 350th anniversary of Champlain's arrival on Lake Champlain.
In addition, the committee will place a wreath at the tomb of the Rev. Francis X. Chagnon, who served as pastor of St. Mary's for 33 years. Chagnon died in 1911 and was laid to rest near the Champlain monument.
"[Chagnon], along with Louis-Camille LaFontaine, was instrumental in the erection of the monument. It is time to tell his story and to honor him," said Paquette.