The Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Szupper
October 13, 1931 - December 18, 2017
The Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Szupper, priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, since 1957, Catholic Chaplain at the University of Delaware, from 1964 to 2006, and founding pastor of the St. Thomas More Oratory, passed away peacefully on December 18, 2017. He was 86 years old.
Monsignor Szupper was born on October 13, 1931 in Northampton, Pennsylvania. He is the son of the late Anthony Szupper and the late Louise (Szabara) Szupper. He attended Our Lady of Hungary School in Northampton. He began his studies for the priesthood at the Pontifical Josephinum High School and Pontifical College Josephinum, Worthington, Ohio. After Ordination, he received a doctorate in philosophy of education from Catholic University of America in 1968.
He was ordained for the Diocese of Wilmington on May 25, 1957 at the Josephinum by Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States. Monsignor served as associate pastor at St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury, MD, and Immaculate Conception, Elkton, MD. He was finishing his doctoral studies when he received a new assignment in 1964 to become the Catholic Chaplain for the University of Delaware until he retired in July 2006.
In 1973, Monsignor Szupper was taken to court for celebrating Mass on campus. This case was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court and became precedent setting allowing Mass to be celebrated for students on state campuses across the country. A great sports enthusiast, Monsignor Szupper bled blue and gold and was a true University of Delaware fighting Blue Hen, loved and respected by students, faculty, staff, and administration alike. In September 2003, Monsignor Szupper, was presented with the University’s Medal of Distinction, the highest award the institution bestows.
Monsignor also served as Dean of the Iron Hill Deanery, Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry, Member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, Board Member of the Catholic Press of Wilmington, Inc., Member of the Diocesan Board of Catholic Education, Member Pastoral Planning Committee, and an elected representative to the Personnel Committee.
On November 27, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI honored him as a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor in recognition of his outstanding service.
Monsignor is survived by his brother Anthony, sister Theresa (Frank) Trinkle, brother William (Nona) Szupper, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and his Delaware family.
A viewing will be held from 6pm until 8pm on Friday, December 29, 2017 at St. Thomas More Oratory, 45 Lovett Ave, Newark, DE and on Saturday, December 30, 2017 from 10 am until 11 am at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, 2431 Frazer Road, Newark, DE 19702.
The Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of Wilmington, will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Monsignor Szupper on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 11:30 am. at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish. Interment will be at Our Lady of Hungary Cemetery in Northampton, PA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Monsignor’s name to: St. Thomas More Oratory, 45 Lovett Avenue, Newark, DE 19711, or Queenship of Mary Church, 1324 Newport Avenue, Northampton, PA 18067.