Fr. Jack Topper Retires

Fr. Jack Topper, O.S.M., Retires

After 25 Years at The Grotto



The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother (The Grotto) announces the retirement of Fr. Jack Topper, O.S.M.

Fr. Jack has served The Grotto for many years, first as Director from 1991-2014 and then as Rector from 2014 to the present. Fr. Jack's tenure at The Grotto were years of modernization, beautification, and greater visitor outreach.

When Fr. Jack arrived at The Grotto in the summer of 1991, a fund-raising campaign to construct a new gift shop was already underway and Fr. Jack worked hard  to build new relationships with the friends and supporters of The Grotto, as well as the larger community. The Grotto Gift Shop, as well as the adjoining plaza were dedicated in early 1995.

In 2001, a new visitor complex and conference center facility was completed in the plaza, on the site of the old gift shop. Other projects followed: a major plaza restoration in 2003, and a modernization of the elevator to the Upper Level Gardens in 2007. In 2010, Fr. Jack oversaw the installation of a meditative labyrinth in the Upper Level Gardens, modeled after the labyrinth in France's Chartres Cathedral. This project was spearheaded by Servite Sister Val Lewandoski and Fr. Jack.

Fr. Jack is most proud of the creation and installation of the wayside cultural shrines that now grace a quiet pathway in the Upper Level Gardens. A Lithuanian shrine had been erected at The Grotto in 1963. In 2007, Fr. Jack collaborated with the members of the local Polish St. Stanislaus parish to create a new wayside shrine in honor of Our Lady of Czestochowa. This was followed by the installation of Dambana, the Filipino shrine in 2008. Most recently, the Our Lady of Lavang Vietnamese shrine was dedicated on Freedom Sunday in July of 2016, and the blessing and dedication of the shrine in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, will take place Saturday, October 29.

In 2012, Fr. Topper was the recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (for the Church and the Pope) medal, also known as the Cross of Honor, an award bestowed on clergy and lay people by the papacy in recognition of outstanding service to the Church.

Honoring this occasion, Fr. John Fontana, O.S.M., Prior Provincial of the Friar Servants of Mary, USA Province, stated, "We Servites are so proud and so deeply grateful to Fr. Jack, who has been the 'face and voice' of the Grotto, and of the Servite community, for more than 23 years! He has developed the Sanctuary physically and spiritually. And, with his engaging personality, he has so ably led its diverse ministries of hospitality, spiritual enrichment, worship and prayer, offering the opportunity for both quiet reflection and joyful celebrations to such a vast variety of pilgrims and visitors from near and far."

Fr. Richard Boyle, O.S.M.,

Appointed Rector of The Grotto


The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother (The Grotto) announces the appointment of Fr. Richard Boyle, O.S.M., as Rector.  Fr. Boyle begins his tenure November 1, 2016.

Fr. Boyle comes to The Grotto with a wealth of pastoral and ministerial experience, most recently in the Diocese of Sacramento, CA, where he served the parishes of St. James in Davis, CA, and St. Joseph in Rio Vista, CA. He also served as Catholic Chaplain at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and at Solano State Prison in Vacaville, CA. Fr. Boyle spent many years in education ministry at Servite High School, Anaheim, CA.

"I am delighted to be taking on this new responsibility, pastoral role, and ministry," saysFr. Boyle. "Certainly, it's a bit daunting... a 'big job,' but my best guide, counsel, and inspiration comes from the Lord himself, who said many, many times in the Gospels, 'Do not be afraid.'"

No stranger to the Portland area, Fr. Boyle previously served on The Grotto staff in the 1990s and was also pastor of the parishes of St. Rita, Portland, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Cottage Grove, OR. In 2015, Fr. Boyle was appointed to The Grotto's first Board of Directors.

"While one might say that Fr. Richard has big shoes to fill after Fr. Jack's 25 years, I am pleased to affirm rather, that he arrives in his own shoes, which have walked through high school, parish, hospital, and prison ministries," said Fr. John Fontana, Prior Provincial of the Friar Servants of Mary, USA Province. "All that experience has prepared him well to minister to the many people who make their way to The Grotto."