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Bishop’s Month

July is a month filled with calendar items about our bishops.

July 20th is the anniversary of the birth of our 7th Bishop and 1st Archbishop, Joseph Elmer Ritter (who was born Elmer Joseph Ritter). Just two years after the creation of the ARCHdiocese, Ritter was transferred to St. Louis. It was there that he continued what he had started in Indianapolis, namely, the desegregation of Catholic schools. At the time he was transferred, whoever went to St. Louis, usually received the “red hat”, or Cardinal. Ritter followed Cardinal Glennon who had been Archbishop since 1903.

Archbishop Ritter became a Cardinal in 1961 and he participated in the election of St. Paul VI in 1963. At the time there was talk of Ritter being elected Pope.

Most Rev. Joseph Elmer Ritter
Born in New Albany, IN, July 20, 1892. Ordained priest at Saint Meinrad, May 30, 1917. Named rector of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Indianapolis, in 1924. Appointed titular bishop of Hippo and auxiliary to the bishop of Indianapolis, February 3, 1933. Consecrated in the cathedral at Indianapolis, March 28, 1933, by Bishop Chartrand, assisted by Bishop Emmanuel Ledvina of Corpus Christi and Bishop Alphonse J. Smith of Nashville. Made vicar general of the Diocese of Indianapolis, February 5, 1933. Bishop of Indianapolis, March 24, 1934. Installed as first archbishop of Indianapolis, December 19, 1944, by Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, apostolic delegate to the United States. Transferred to St. Louis by virtue of apostolic letters dated July 20, 1946. Formally installed in the Cathedral of St. Louis, October 8, 1946. Proclaimed and created a cardinal by Pope John XXIII on January 16, 1961. Died at St. Louis, June 10, 1967. Buried in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, MO. 1

On July 22, we clebrate the anniversary of the priestly ordination of the third Bishop of Vincennes, Jean Stephen Bazin. (October 15, 1796–April 23, 1848). Bishop Bazin (pronounced Baz-on) worked in the Diocese of Mobile Alabama. He was named the successor of Celestine de la Hailandiere, the second Bishop of Vincennes, who wreaked havoc on the young diocese, because he was one who sought to control everything, literally, which led to Saint Mother Theodore Guerin contemplating leaving “The Woods” and any number of talented preiests leaving the diocese. Bazin brought stability and a sense of calm, but his time as bishop lasted only 7 months.

John Etienne Bazin (October 15, 1796–April 23, 1848) was the third Roman Catholic Bishop of Vincennes (now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis).

Jean Etienne Bazin was born at Duerne, near Lyon, on October 15, 1796, the fourth of nine children of Jean-Antoine and Claudine (née Ville) Bazin. He was educated in his native country and ordained in Lyon Cathedral on July 22, 1822.

In November 1830, he arrived in the United States and began his labours among the Roman Catholics of Mobile, Alabama, where for seventeen years he worked for the religious instruction of the young, organizing the Sunday schools and establishing the Catholic Orphan Asylum Society. He was also the vicar-general of the diocese.

In 1846 at the request of Bishop Michael Portier, Bazin went to France to secure the services of the Society of Jesus for Spring Hill College of Mobile, Alabama, and of the Brothers of the Christian Schools for the Boys’ Orphan Asylum. In both efforts he was successful.

When Célestine Guynemer de la Hailandière, Bishop of Vincennes, resigned his see in 1847, Bazin was consecrated his successor on the 24th of October of that year.

Bazin reassured Theodore Guerin that her congregation, the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, could continue despite numerous issues they had had with Bishop de la Hailandière, who had banished Guerin from the diocese and threatened excommunication. In a letter to another bishop, Jean-Baptiste Bouvier of Le Mans, Guerin described Bazin as “pious, humble, and of an amiable simplicity.”

Bazin died at Vincennes, Indiana on April 23, 1848, only seven months after his consecration as bishop. He and was interred in the Old Cathedral. 2

On July 26, 1967, George Biskup was named coadjutor Archbishop of Indianapolis. He became Archbishop on January 14, 1970. Archbishop Biskup had a tough road to hoe. The years after Vatican II were very challenging in many ways. Regardless, Biskup paid a lot of attention to Catholic education.

George Biskup (August 23, 1911 – October 17, 1979) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in Indiana from 1970 to 1979.

Biskup previously served as bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines in Iowa from 1965 to 1967 and as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in Iowa from 1957 to 1965.

George Biskup was born on August 23, 1911, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Frank and Julia (née Kuda) Biskup. He had an older brother, Leonard, and a younger sister, Helen. His father died when he was young and his mother had to go to work to support her young family. Biskup was educated at St. Wenceslaus School through high school. He studied at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1933. He then furthered his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Biskup was ordained to the priesthood in Rome by Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani for the Archdiocese of Dubuque on March 19, 1937. Upon his return to Iowa, Biskup served as a curate at St. Raphael’s Cathedral in Dubuque until 1939. Biskup took up graduate studies in the fine arts at the University of Iowa while serving as the administrator of Holy Trinity Parish in Walford. Biskup became a faculty member in 1939 of Loras College, where he founded the art department and served as artist in residence.

In 1948, Biskup was then called to Rome as an official of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. During his years in Rome, he was made a monsignor. Again returning to Iowa, he was named pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Key West and chancellor of the archdiocese in 1951. Biskup was appointed vicar general in 1952, and served as a chaplain at the Presentation Sisters Convent (1952–1958).
Auxiliary Bishop of Dubuque

On March 9, 1957, Biskup was appointed Titular Bishop of Hemeria and Auxiliary Bishop of Dubuque by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on April 24, 1957, from Archbishop Amleto Cicognani at St. Raphael’s Cathedral. Archbishop Leo Binz and Bishop Loras Lane served as co-consecrators. In addition to his episcopal duties, Biskup served as pastor of the Church of the Nativity Parish in Dubuque from 1958 to 1965. Biskup attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II; 1962-1965) in Rome. He was named the administrator of the archdiocese sede vacante after Archbishop Binz was transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul.

Biskup was named by Pope Paul VI as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines on February 3, 1965. He was installed on March 19, 1965, in St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. In 1966 he purchased 55 acres (220,000 m2) from the Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines to construct Dowling Catholic High School. He also started to implement the changes in the church as a result of Vatican II.
Coadjutor Archbishop and Archbishop of Indianapolis

Biskup was appointed by Paul VI as Coadjutor Archbishop of Indianapolis and Titular Archbishop of Tamalluma on July 20, 1967. He was formally received into the archdiocese at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral on October 10, 1967, and also served as pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Indianapolis.

Following the resignation of Archbishop Paul Schulte, Biskup automatically succeeded him as the third archbishop of Indianapolis on January 3, 1970. He supported the concept of Total Catholic Education and established lay boards of education to govern parochial schools. It was also during Biskup’s tenure that the archdiocese became nationally known for its holistic approach to Catholic education under then-superintendent of Catholic schools, the Rev. Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger.

On March 20, 1979, Pope John Paul II accepted Biskup’s resignation as archbishop of Indianapolis. George Biskup died at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis on October 17, 1979, at age 68. He is buried at Calvary Chapel Mausoleum in Indianapolis. 3

On July 27th we celebrate the naming of Joseph Chartrand as coadjutor bishop of Indianapolis, to succeed Bishop Francis Chatard. Chartrand was named coadjutor in 1910, but he did not become the Bishop of Indianapolis untl Chatard’s death in 1918.

Joseph Chartrand (May 11, 1870 – December 8, 1933) was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He was the 6th Bishop of Indianapolis, serving from 1918 until his death in 1933.

Joseph Chartrand was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Joseph and Margaret (née Sullivan) Chartrand. His father, who was also born in Missouri, was of French descent; his mother was a native of County Kerry in Ireland.

He studied at Saint Meinrad Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood on September 24, 1892, for the Diocese of Vincennes, which later became the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He was made vicar general of Indianapolis on February 13, 1910.

On July 27, 1910, Chartrand was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Indianapolis and Titular Bishop of Flavias by Pope Pius X. He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 15 from Archbishop Diomede Falconio, with Bishops Denis O’Donaghue and Herman Alerding serving as co-consecrators. Chartrand succeeded the late Francis Silas Chatard as the sixth Bishop of Indianapolis on September 7, 1918.

In May 1925, Chartrand was named Archbishop of Cincinnati and John McNicholas, Bishop of Duluth, Minnesota was named Bishop of Indianapolis. For reasons that are unknown, Chartrand was able to convince Rome that he should not take that post, so in July 1925, the two men switched and McNicholas was named Archbishop of Cincinnati and Chartrand was reappointed to Indianapolis.

Chartrand was once described as an “able” bishop, and as “probably closer in contact with his flock than any other” bishop. He was also named an Assistant at the Pontifical Throne on February 4, 1928.

Bishop Chartrand died in Indianapolis, at the age of 63. He was initially buried in the crypt of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, but his remains were later transferred to the Calvary Chapel Mausoleum on June 8, 1976. 4

Finally, on July 28th we celebrate the 7th anniversary of the installation of Archbishop Chalres Thompson as the 7th Archbishop and 13th Bishop of Indianapolis (including the former Diocese of Vincennes).


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