After 17 years of serving the parishioners of St. John The Evangelist Parish in Pawling, the community bids a sad farewell to the beloved Reverend John J. Duff as he moves his home and calling to serve those in Westchester County.
At noon on Sunday, July 21st, the community came together as a family to wish Father Duff well and to hear his last sermon in the church that he has called home for 17 momentous years. There was no question that the St. John community reveres this man and it was clear that he had a tremendous impact on the lives of the residents of this small, close-knit town. With a crowd of well-wishers flowing out the doors of the church and on to the equally crowded street below, Father Duff stated to all, “I thank God, truly thank God, for my gift of being here, and Father O’Connor who assigned me here to St. John’s 17 years ago. Most of all, I thank you, the good people of St. John’s – God loves you. You know we are Christians by our love. You have loved God, you have loved your neighbor, and I am so happy I got to be here for 17 years.”
As we embrace our good fortune of having had Father Duff be a part of our daily lives for such a long time, we should pause to remember some of his parting words, “forever and ever . . . be not afraid, I go before you always.”
Father Duff . . . you are loved and will be forever and ever in the hearts of this community. We thank you for your services . . . and your gifts . . . and I’m sure I speak for many of my neighbors when I say you will always be in our prayers. God be with you.