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Elmer Joseph Ritter

On this day (February 3), 1933, Elmer Joseph Ritter, who was to be known at “Joseph Elmer”, (just like Francis Silas Chatard switched his first and middle name) was named as Auxiliary Bishop to Bishop Joseph Chartrand.

Chartrand probably had some indication of failing health and he obviously desired that Father Ritter, who was then Rector of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, to be his successor, or to, at least, carry on.

Ritter had been ordained a priest by Chartrand on May 30, 1917. He was assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Indianapolis and later to the Cathedral. At the young age of 41, Chartrand named him auxiliary bishop. Ritter was the last auxiliary bishop of Indianapolis until the recent appointment of Father Christopher Coyne.

Bishop Ritter is known and honored for his ground breaking work in desegregating schools in the Diocese of Indianapolis as early as 1938, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where he became Archbishop in 1946.

You can read more about Ritter at any number of websites. Here are some:

In February 2010, during “Black History Month“, Indianapolis TV station, WISH-8 aired a segment about Ritter’s trailblazing. Unfortunately that video is no longer available. Here is a link to the Indiana Historical Bureau regarding Bishop Ritter’s journey.


Categories: Postings.