.- Community members are working together to restore the boyhood home of the much-loved Joseph Cardinal Ritter, with the hope of honoring the cardinal by turning the dilapidated house into a community center, reported the Associated Press. Cardinal Ritter was born and raised in New Albany, Ind., in 1892. He became a priest and was a bishop for the Diocese of Indianapolis in 1934. He became the archbishop of St. Louis in 1946, and was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John XXIII in 1961.
Cardinal Ritter led the community with courage, desegregating the Indianapolis parochial schools and speaking out against the Ku Klux Klan. Catholic high schools in Indianapolis and St. Louis are named for Cardinal Ritter.
Community members formed the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation, a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to restore the house in the city, just north of Louisville, Ky. It has received about $170,000 in contributions and in-kind in the past year.
Some renovation is already complete at his family home, and upcoming work includes restoration of the family's storefront bakery. Organizers hope to have the renovation completed by July 2006, in time for the 119th celebration of the cardinalâs birthday.