October 21, 2022

Father William Ripperger served in parishes across the archdiocese

By Sean Gallagher

Father William RippergerFather William Ripperger, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, died on Oct. 8 in Louisville, Ky., where he was living in retirement. He was 91.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 21 at St. Augustine Church, 315

E. Chestnut St., in Jeffersonville. Archbishop Charles C. Thompson will be the principal celebrant. Retired Father Frederick Denison will be the homilist.

Burial will follow at a later date at St. Peter Cemetery in Franklin County.

William B. Ripperger was born on Oct. 21, 1930, to the late William and Hilda (Wessel) Ripperger. He grew up first as a member of St. Peter Parish in Franklin County. Later, he and his family were members of St. Michael Parish in Brookville and the former St. Andrew Parish in Richmond (now part of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish there).

Father Ripperger became an archdiocesan seminarian after graduating from the eighth grade and received priestly formation at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad. He later was formed for ordained ministry at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University, both in Rome.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at Saint Meinrad, and bachelor’s and licentiate degrees in sacred theology at the Gregorian.

Archbishop Luigi Traglia ordained Father Ripperger a priest on July 17, 1955, at the Church of the 12 Apostles in Rome. The newly ordained priest celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving the following day at the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome.

After completing further graduate studies in Rome, Father Ripperger’s first pastoral assignment in the archdiocese was as associate pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis from 1956-63.

From 1963-69, he ministered as associate pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington.

Father Ripperger first served as a pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, where he ministered from 1969-72.

In 1972, he was appointed co-pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Jeffersonville.

The following year, Father Ripperger was granted a leave of absence from priestly ministry. That leave continued until 1991 when he was appointed associate pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Redwood, Calif.

Father Ripperger returned to the Church in central and southern Indiana beginning in 1995 when he was appointed pastor of St. Maurice Parish in Napoleon and sacramental minister of Immaculate Conception Parish in Millhousen and the former St. Denis Parish in Jennings County.

In 2002, Father Ripperger was granted permission to retire. He returned to ministry in 2004, serving for the next two years before his permanent retirement as administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in Starlight.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave. Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601, or the Humane Society of the United States, 1255 23rd St. NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20037. †

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