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Cardinal Ritter

Cardinal Joseph Elmer Ritter attended St. Mary's Church and School in New Albany, Indiana where he was known as "Apple-Pie Ritter." He graduated there in 1906. He then entered St. Meinrad's seminary in 1907. He said "There was no vision, no voice from Heaven. I simply wanted to be a priest."

He was ordained in 1917 and assigned to be assistant at St. Patrick's Church in Indianapolis. Father Ritter recalled, "My home and St. Mary's were the greatest factors in my life."

While a rector of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Indianapolis, he was consecrated a bishop in 1933 at 41 years, one of the youngest in history. He became the first Archbishop of Indianapolis and thought he would serve there the rest of his life.


Diamond Jubilee at St. Mary's Church in New Albany, Ind., Nov. 21, 1933

He was an able administrator, reducing the Indianapolis Archdiocese debt by 3 million dollars in less then ten years. His motto was "Work hard, pray hard -- but don't worry."

He was sent to St. Louis as Archbishop in 1947 and immediately ordered the racial integration of the parochial schools, seven years before the federal Civil Rights act. When the St. Louis Public Schools were peacefully integrated eight years later, their authorities said, "....the ease in which it happened was due to Archbishop Ritter having already lead the way."



 

 

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