The Rev. Msgr. Charles J. Nosser, the priest who led Floral Park’s Our Lady of Victory Parish for more than three decades, died last Friday. He was 90.
Nosser was known as a remarkably friendly, caring and modest religious leader beloved by the Floral Park community as a whole, not just the parish, according to two residents who knew him throughout his tenure.
“He could speak to the prince or the pauper,” said Thomas Tweedy, the village mayor and a lifelong Our Lady of Victory parishoner. “He treated them each equally and he treated them each with their level of understanding.”
Nosser was born in Brooklyn on Dec. 6, 1926, and was ordained a priest in June 1953, according to his obituary published by the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre.
His first assignment was at the Church of St. Joseph in Ronkonkoma, where he stayed for 10 years before moving to Holy Spirit Parish in New Hyde Park.
He “exuded warmth and holiness” when he came to Our Lady of Victory in 1974, replacing a longtime monsignor who had died, said Frank Gunther, who served for 10 years on the Our Lady of Victory Parish Council.
He also had a trademark modesty, Gunther said — he insisted that parishoners call him Father Nosser even after he was given the title of monsignor.
“He didn’t have firey oratory or memorable statements, things that you could quote,” said Gunther, who is also the chairman of Floral Park’s village Architectural Review Board. “But it’s just [that] he was always there and would help people.”
Nosser fought to raise money to support Our Lady of Victory’s parish school at a time when many other Catholic schools were closing, Tweedy said. The school, opened in 1931, continues to teach students in kindergarten through eighth grade, according to its website.
Nosser also went above and beyond to thank and appreciate church members, Gunther said. One year, he held a special mass and dinner for couples who had been married at least 25 years.
After he retired in 2006, Nosser wanted to continue to live in the Our Lady of Victory rectory, Gunther said. He only moved to the St. Pius X Enriched Living Facility for Retired Priests in Amityville after breaking both his hips, Gunther said.
But his connection remained — Nosser was still listed as a pastor emeritus on Our Lady of Victory’s website on Tuesday.
Nosser was also a fixture in the broader Floral Park community, Tweedy said. He performed many weddings and regularly said funeral masses and prayers at the Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in the village.
“He was generous with his time, generous with his opinions,” Tweedy said. “He listened. He was charitable. He was a good priest.”
Nosser will be honored Wednesday with a wake from 2 to 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Victory Parish, located at 2 Floral Blvd. in Floral Park. The Rev. Thomas Fusco, the parish’s current pastor, will lead a mass of transferral there at 7:30 p.m.
Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop John O. Barres will preside over Nosser’s funeral mass at the parish at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, where Nosser’s brother, the Rev. Msgr. John Nosser, will give the homily.
Charles J. Nosser will be buried at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.