NEW ALBANY —
Ritter, who was born in the house in 1892, attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School in New Albany and was ordained a priest in 1917. He became the first Archbishop of Indianapolis and later became Archbishop of St. Louis, where he integrated parochial schools in 1947, just as he had done in Indianapolis. He was elevated to cardinal in 1961 and died in 1967.
MORE THAN A HOUSE
The Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation was founded in 2004. Hock said the house has become everything the board had envisioned it would become and more. The community center has hosted gatherings, like the one held recently commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Timothy P. O’Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, spoke about the important role Ritter played in the Second Vatican Council at the event.
Hock said the house has truly become a community project with donations of both funds and labor coming from all over. The Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County gave the project a major boost with grants early in the process.
“The bricks and mortar are done. Now it’s how are we going to set up the displays and tell his story,” Hock said.
The board received some input on putting the museum together from Troy McCormick, and now Sekula, Ray Day and the Rev. Troy Overton will help organize and plan the museum area.
“We are trying to get the biggest bang for the buck,” Sekula said. “The shell of the area is done, we just need to add exhibits.”
Sekula hopes the museum area can open July 20, which is Ritter’s 121st birthday.
“He would probably be humbled by the attention,” Sekula said of Ritter. “He is certainly someone who should be looked up to as a model.”
Hock said the recent attention given to a new pope being elected has also drawn more attention to Ritter’s birthplace. He said he has heard people of all faiths talk about the process and the excitement of the election of Pope Francis.