A photo of The Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Szupper

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.

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15 Condolences for The Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Szupper

  • I remember those masses in the cinema center and the New Century Club so well. Father Szupper was wonderful. Wish there were more like him.

  • Saint Peter no doubt welcomed Msgr Szupper and escorted him to a prominent place within clear site of God. A remarkable Saint who walked among us and strengthened so many of us during his lifetime and priesthood.

    May you Rest in Eternal Peace, Michael Szupper. Thank you for being you in our lives !

    Phil Wescott

  • Truly a saint among us. No doubt he will be caring for his UD Family from Saint Peter’s 50 yard line. While we struggle to live the life he modeled for us. Missing and loving you, until hopefully we meet again.

  • I enjoyed many masses at the University of Delaware with Father Szupper and Father Keagon. My husband and I were married from the Neuman Center in Newark forty four years ago. Father Szupper was a wonderful priest, counselor and man. May he rest in peace.

  • We had the benefit of knowing Father Szupper for over 50 years. He baptized our children. He married our children. And Sunday after Sunday he would provide, in a quiet manner, words, thoughts, ideas and notions of the simple things in life to the more profound that were for you to think about, take home and be with you for your lifetime. Indeed, a holy man. He will always be with us. Rest in Peace, Michael.

  • Although it has been years since we have seen Father Mike(my cousin), he was thought of often. I still remember him having such a kind heart and gentle spirit. My father, Paul Szabara passed away when I was four. A fond memory was when Father Mike took my mom, brother and I on vacation to Rehoboth Beach. Father Mike married my husband and I in 1981 and baptized our daughter in 1989. He will be greatly missed by everyone who had the honor of having him be a part of their lives.

  • I was a student at the U of D from 1970-1974 and attended masses regularly at what was then Newman Center. Father Szupper was the heart and soul of the place. He always stood up for what he believed no matter if it was the popular thing to do. He will be in my heart forever.

  • What an honor to have met and been counseled by a wonderful man of God – gentle, caring and encouraging. What a ministry that made a difference to this Class of 1988 grad 🙂 Thanks be to God for him.

  • Monsignor Szupper was an incredible person. I served as the University of Delaware Dean of Students for over 20 years. During that time Father Szupper helped me out on numerous occasions with very difficult situations involving students. His calm demeanor and wonderful communication skills worked extremely well with UD students. I will forever be in his debt!

    Thank you, Father.

  • Father Szupper contributed tremendously to my faith formation. He officiated at our marriage at the Newman Center in 1974. His flock was always his first concern, and we knew his voice. May the angels lead him into paradise and the martyrs come to welcome him!

  • Our Parish community at the Thomas More Oratory is saddened by the passing of a truly wonderful man. Fr.Szupper was an inspiration to all of us by his humble, gentle demeanor and true spirit of Christianity. He was a priest in every sense of the word! During his final years, even when faced with pain and disabilities, he accepted his condition with an uncomplaining spirit. My husband and I are truly blessed and thank God that he was a part of our lives throughout the years. Father, May you Rest In Peace for all eternity.

  • Father Szupper was kind, thoughtful, compassionate, funny, and caring. He loved everyone, especially the students at the U of D. He was a Blue Hen fan through and through. I’ll always remember the productions he put on of The Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar. He lives on in my heart and those of many others. RIP Father Mike.

  • Rest in Peace Fr. Szupper. Thanks for being an amazing servant of God. Thanks for letting me sing in the Oratory and welcoming me even though I was never a student. Much love forever.

  • By far, my most favorite priest. After college, Monsignor Szupper let me continue to be a member of the Oratory. That kept my Catholic faith going. For that, I’m forever grateful. Rest in Peace, Monsignor Szupper.

  • Just learning of Father Szupper’s death in the “Messenger.” His kindness and wisdom transcended all religions and denominations, and have stayed with me 40 years later.