This month marks the 80th anniversary of the appointment of an important figure in the local Catholic church, Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel.
A native of Baden, Germany, Rummel came to America with his parents when he was just six years old. Ordained a priest in 1902, he served several years as the bishop of Omaha, Nebraska, before being appointed in 1935 by Pope Pius XI as the ninth archbishop of New Orleans.
Rummel served as archbishop for 30 years (the longest tenure in local church history), and his time here coincided with a period of great growth and change for the archdiocese.
In 1953, Rummel's pastoral letter, "Blessed are the Peacemakers," ordered the end of segregation in the archdiocese. In 1962, he famously excommunicated three local Catholics — including Leander Perez Sr. — for defying the authority of the church by protesting integration. The Metairie high school that bears Rummel's name opened in 1962, two years before he died at age 88.