Rev. Msgr. Vincent J. Topper
08/28/1912 - 10/07/2016

Reverend Monsignor Vincent James Huber Joseph Topper, 104, died on October 7, 2016 at Saint Catherine Labouré Parish Rectory, Harrisburg. At the time of his death, Monsignor Topper was the oldest and longest ordained diocesan priest in the United States, having celebrated his 80th anniversary of priestly ordination in June, 2016.  Born on July 28, 1912, in Hanover, he was the son of the late Vincent and Flora (Topper) Topper. He attended Saint Joseph Grade School and High School, Hanover; and Saint Mary’s High School, McSherrystown. Monsignor Topper received his formation for the priesthood at Saint Vincent College and Seminary, Latrobe.  Monsignor Topper was ordained a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg on June 6, 1936 in Saint Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg by Bishop George Leech and served in the Diocese of Harrisburg his entire priestly life. He was assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, York from 1936 to 1943 during which he served the pastoral needs of people at Saint Joseph Chapel, Saginaw. He then served as assistant pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Mount Carmel from 1943 to 1948.  He then served as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Fairfield and Administrator of Saint Rita Parish, Blue Ridge Summit from 1948 to 1950. He was pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, Milton from 1950 to 1957. He was pastor of Saint Columba Parish, Bloomsburg from 1957 to 1963. During that time, he founded Christ the King Mission Church, Benton. He then served as pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, York from 1963 until his retirement in 1977.  In 1970, he was named as Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope Paul VI and given the title of Monsignor. He was named Pastor Emeritus of Saint Joseph Parish, York in 1977 and then resided at the former Villa Vianney in Lebanon. In 1979, he was appointed Administrator Pro Tem at Immaculate Conception Parish in York where his priestly ministry began. In 1999, he became a resident at Saint Catherine Labouré Parish, Harrisburg where he assisted with the pastoral care of parishioners until the time of his death.  In each parish where he served, Monsignor Topper worked to advance the mission of Catholic Education, including the construction and expansion of school buildings.  Monsignor Topper held several offices during his 80 years of ministry. He was the Boy Scout Chaplain for the York-Adams Counties area from 1936 until his retirement in 1977. He served two terms as a member of the Diocesan College of Consultors and was Vicar Forane of the York Deanery.  He had been a member of the Presbyteral Council, Priests’ Retirement and Benefits Board, Planning Office Advisory Board, Diocesan Cemetery Board, and the Committee on Catholic Education.  In addition to his parents, Monsignor Topper was predeceased in death by two step-mothers, Annie (Eck) and Loretta (Brady); his sisters, Loretta Redding, Evelyn McGinity, Frances, Doris, and Leon Topper; a niece, Elizabeth McKim; and a brother-in-law Thomas McKim who died on October 5, 2016. He is survived by two sisters, Judith McKim of Hanover and Sister Loretta Topper, SC of Connellsville; as well as nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.  The Order of Christian Funerals for Monsignor Topper will be celebrated at Saint Catherine Labouré Church, Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, 4000 Derry Street, Harrisburg, as follows. Friday, October 14, 2016: 4:30 p.m. Reception of the Body at the Church and Evening Prayer followed by public viewing. 7:00 p.m. Mass of Transferral followed public viewing until 9:00 p.m. Saturday, October 15, 2016: 8:00 a.m. Recitation of the Rosary. 8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer followed by public viewing. 10:30 a.m. Funeral Mass.   The Rite of Committal will take place in the Priests Circle of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cemetery, McSherrystown at 2:30 p.m.  Murphy Funeral Home, Inc., McSherrystown, PA has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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Posted at:10/10/2016 5:05 am
Katie -
Fly w/the angels Monsignor. Look down on the Hbg Diocese w/pride as you are a blessing here and above. My best To Father Ogden whom I am sure met you at the gate of heaven. god speed to the family.

Posted at:10/10/2016 3:03 pm
Therese Waskie Gross -
I'm so proud to say that Fr. Topper was my priest when I was a child at St. Columba Church, Bloomsburg, PA. Fr. Topper was the greatest example of being a priestly priest. He was beloved by all, especially by my parents, Andy & Eileen Waskie and family. He helped St. Columba having the dinner stand at the Bloomsburg Fair. He made it possible to even include lobster tail on the menu! He could handle it all, church, congregation, parochial school and Fair Stand! I've kept him in my thoughts and prayers and also kept in touch with Christmas cards of which I cherish. God allowed us to be included in his life. And now he has joy being in God's presence in Heaven. And, I know he was greeted there by his St. Columba family, especially with my dear Mother and Dad. What an amazing legacy shared with so many of a life well-lived and devoted to God and His followers. Rest in peace Father Topper. Your smile will always be remembered by all who knew and loved you! 104 years on this Earth! Praise God!

Posted at:10/11/2016 10:10 am
MIke Bannon -
May Rev. Monsignor Vincent Topper rest in the Peace of Jesus Christ. Mike Bannon, Archivist, OLV Church, Shippensburg

Posted at:06/12/2017 2:02 pm
Byronlab -
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