Editor’s note: This story will be updated.
By Tom Maguire | Associate editor
Father John S. Finnegan was mourned by hundreds of people Saturday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Baldwinsville. Father Finnegan died April 30 at the age of 88. He was a priest of the Syracuse Diocese for 63 years.
The church was standing-room-only for his funeral Mass; the parking lots were so crowded that mourners had to park on the grass. The chief celebrant was Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, who said that Father Finnegan loved St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and the church loved him too.
More than 30 choir members from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Joseph’s in Camillus sang hymns, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioner Jack “Piper Jack” Heins played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes at the end of the ceremony.
The homilist, Father Joseph M. O’Connor, noted that Father Finnegan “provided a good image of God.” Delivering a remembrance was Father Finnegan’s nephew Patrick John Finnegan, of Asheville, N.C., who said his middle name was given to him in honor of Father Finnegan.
At the reception following the Mass, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioner Tom Wolff said: “I’ve never seen a priest smile all the time he was saying Mass.” He added that he can’t even remember a time when Father Finnegan wasn’t smiling. And Wolff remembered that Father Finnegan always had Irish Setters for pets, many of them retired show dogs.