Bishop Olson delivers homily for esteemed Catholic University of America priest, professor
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monsignor John F. Wippel, Theodore Basselin Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, died on Monday, September 11, 2023, at age 90.
Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson delivered the homily at Msgr. Wippel’s funeral Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on September 20. Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio was the principal celebrant of the liturgy.
John F. Wippel was born in Pomeroy, Ohio on August 21, 1933, to Joseph Edward and Mary Josephine (Andrews) Wippel.
In his homily, Bishop Olson noted Msgr. Wippel heard the call to the priesthood at a young age, entering minor seminary at age 14. As a Basselin Scholar and seminarian at Theological College, Msgr. Wippel earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1955 and 1956, respectively. He subsequently earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University in 1960. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, on May 28, 1960.
After teaching for a year, he pursued doctoral studies in philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, defending his dissertation summa cum laude in April 1963. He had the Ph.D. degree conferred on Jan. 6, 1965, after publishing an article based upon his dissertation.
With an academic focus on metaphysics, Msgr. Wippel served The Catholic University of America as a professor and administrator for 60 years, earning many honors and distinctions for his writing, scholarship, and teaching.
Bishop Olson recalled, “It was a generous act on his part to accept the responsibilities of Academic Vice President and Provost and to sacrifice time and energy that otherwise would have been spent on research and scholarship. The University benefited because of this generosity. His dedication and fidelity to his vocation have been vindicated through the lasting influence he has exerted upon his students and colleagues, so that we might remain persistent in fidelity to the Word…
“It was truly a privilege to learn from him. We, his students, were shown by his example that we had an obligation to the truth to prepare for class and to give our best,” continued Bishop Olson, who was a student in Msgr. Wippel’s honors metaphysics class in 1986.
Monsignor Wippel leaves behind his sister-in-law, Mrs. Mary Wippel, the wife of his late brother, Patrick, a nephew, two nieces, five grandnieces and nephews, several cousins, and the family of Jim and Ann McCrery.