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Franciscan Values

Cardinal Ritter is proud to espouse Franciscan Values. We strive to live by these universal values:

Dignity of the Individual | Peace & Justice | Reconciliation | Responsible Stewardship

Mission Statement

The West Deanery Unified Catholic Schools are Roman Catholic schools that provide an academically rigorous education for our diverse student population. Students are challenged to grow in Mind, Body, & Soul and to engage in charitable stewardship of their unique talents and abilities.


Cardinal Ritter High School opened its doors in 1964, thus beginning its rich tradition of diversity and spirituality. This west side Catholic school was named after Cardinal Joseph E. Ritter. Born in 1892 and ordained a priest in 1917, Cardinal Ritter became best known for his work in desegregation. In 1938, he ordered all of the Catholic schools in the diocese to integrate, a full sixteen years before the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. He was appointed the first Archbishop of Indianapolis in 1944. Just two years later he was appointed Archbishop of St. Louis.

Building on the values exemplified in the life of Cardinal Joseph Ritter, Cardinal Ritter High School has always been dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of students and fostering within them the values that Cardinal Ritter stood for throughout his life. He possessed a love for God and His Church, a belief in social justice and service to others, and the will to hold each student to the highest standards of excellence and achievement.

School Crest

Cardinal Ritter High School was opened in 1964. The construction of the school, along with the other three inter-parochial high schools in the city, took place during the administration of Archbishop Paul C. Schulte. The first principal of Cardinal Ritter High School was Fr. John Fish. The Herff Jones Company designed the present school crest under the direction of Fr. Fish.

The right side of the shield is the original Coat of Arms designed for Cardinal Joseph E. Ritter when he was made auxiliary bishop of Indianapolis. The cross is the Cross of St. George, patron of horsemen or knights, for the family name Ritter. The gold ciborium in the center of the cross symbolizes the Blessed Sacrament and is a tribute to Bishop Chatard, noted above for his devotion to the Eucharist. The pierced stars and mullets, at each side of the ciborium and the four ermine spots (crosses) in the background are heraldic symbols personal to the Bishop and again connected with the family name.

The left side of the shield is symbolic of our school itself. In 1964 the students chose the mascot name “RAIDERS.” This is shown as a ship, i.e. pirate ship. (Coincidentally, the symbol for the National Catholic Education Association is also a ship.) The star and rays above the ship represent the dedication of the school to the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea.

Passing through the shield is a sword that is symbolic of the soldier. This recalls the motto from Cardinal Ritter’s Coat of Arms: Miles Christi Sum (I am a Soldier of Christ). These words originate in the New Testament letters of St. Paul (see Php 2:25 and 2Ti 2:3). Given his heroic struggle for justice, they serve as a fitting memorial to Cardinal Ritter and his accomplishments.


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