By Catholic News Service
MOBILE, Ala – Retired Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb, who was ordained the first archbishop of Mobile, died the morning of July 15 at the Little Sisters of the Poor residence in Mobile after a lengthy period of physical decline. He was 88.
Due to the coronavirus, his funeral Mass was private. It was celebrated July 21 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile. Entombment followed in the crypt at the cathedral.
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile was the celebrant of the Mass, and Msgr. Michael Farmer, former vicar general of the archdiocese and current pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Auburn, Alabama, was the homilist. The Mass was livestreamed on Facebook.com/TheCatholicWeek and aired on Archangel Radio.
Archbishop Lipscomb was a Mobile native and served all of his priestly ministry in Mobile, including 28 years as archbishop. He was ordained the first archbishop of Mobile in 1980 after the Vatican established the Province of Mobile and raised the diocese to the Archdiocese of Mobile.
“Archbishop Lipscomb loved Mobile and its people,” Archbishop Rodi said. “As a native of the city, he devoted his life to bringing God’s love to many. He made an indelible mark in our archdiocese as a man of God, a good priest and a good bishop.”
During his tenure as archbishop, Archbishop Lipscomb served on various committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, numerous college and seminary boards, and the board of directors of the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
He also served on national and international Catholic committees, including the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, the Catholic Health Association Committee on Ethics and Values, the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, the Southeast Regional Office for Hispanic Affairs and Vox Clara, the committee that advises the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on liturgical translations in English.
Oscar Hugh Lipscomb was born Sept. 21, 1931, to Oscar H. Lipscomb Sr. and Margaret Antoinette Saunders Lipscomb. He attended St. Patrick Parochial School and McGill Institute in Mobile before studying at St. Bernard College in Cullman, Alabama, and the Pontifical North American College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood July 15, 1956, in Rome for what was then the Diocese of Mobile-Birmingham.
Upon returning to Mobile, he served at St. Mary Parish and taught at McGill Institute and Spring Hill College. He was appointed vice chancellor of the diocese in 1963 and chancellor in 1966.
He also served as pastor of his childhood parish, St. Patrick in Mobile, from 1966 to 1971 as well as assistant pastor at St. Matthew Parish in Mobile and Cathedral Parish. After 28 years of ministry as the archbishop of Mobile, at age 76, Archbishop Lipscomb’s request for retirement was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
Archbishop Lipscomb continued to remain active in Mobile, attending Masses and Catholic events throughout the archdiocese. He also loved McGill-Toolen Catholic High School athletics and rarely missed a Friday night football game. In 2008, the athletic complex at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School was dedicated as Lipscomb Field.
Archbishop Lipscomb was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Margaret Joyce Bolton, and her husband, Joseph. He is survived by his nephew, Joseph M. Bolton Jr. and his wife, Linda, of Daphne, Alabama; his cousin, Mrs. Raye White of Houston; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.