The Reverend Monsignor Gerald T. Ritchie, 80, died on July 25, 2022 at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie.
Msgr. Ritchie was born on April 29, 1942 in Erie, Pennsylvania, the son of Francis E. and Marie E. (Klick) Ritchie. After attending Blessed Sacrament Elementary School, Roosevelt Junior High School and Cathedral Preparatory School, all in Erie, he entered Saint Mark Seminary, also in Erie, in 1960. He continued his formation for the priesthood at Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, New York in 1962 and received his BA from nearby St. Bonaventure University, in 1964.
Msgr. Ritchie was ordained to the priesthood on May 18, 1968 by the Most Reverend John F. Whealon in St. Peter Cathedral, Erie. Msgr. Ritchie began his priestly ministry as Parochial Vicar at St. Catherine Parish, DuBois, and as Newman Chaplain at the DuBois Extension of Pennsylvania State University. In 1972, he was appointed part of the Team Ministry at Sacred Heart Parish, Erie, where he remained until 1981.
In 1981, Msgr. Ritchie was given his first pastorate at St. John Parish, Tidioute, and St. Anthony, Tionesta. After four years in those parishes, he was named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Clearfield. In 1990, he was made pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Harborcreek where his accomplishments included overseeing the building of a new church which was dedicated in 2000. He remained at Our Lady of Mercy until his death.
In addition to his parochial assignments, Msgr. Ritchie served as Chaplain for the Erie Fire Department from 1972-1981, and on the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Erie from 1989-1994.
Msgr. Ritchie was named Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of “Monsignor” on November 12, 1999.
On the occasion of his 50th Jubilee in 2018, he was given the gift of a trip to the Holy Land.
Msgr. Ritchie was a great outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and spending time at his camp with family and friends. He was supportive of the Erie Fire Department, where his father had served, and loved being their chaplain. Mostly, he loved being a priest and a pastor, caring deeply for all his parishioners wherever he was called to minister. He truly gave his life in service to God’s people.
In addition to his parents, Msgr. Ritchie was preceded in death by his aunt, Margaret Rathers, and her husband, Jack; and two uncles, Theodore Gerald Ritchie and Rev. Msgr. G. Carlton Ritchie.
He is survived by first cousins, Michael T. Rathers and his wife, Mary Lou; Mary Eileen Strohmeyer and her husband, Michael; and many other cousins and their families, including Susan Hurt and her husband, Richard; John Hall; Stephanie Hall; Mickey Rathers; Kerri Young and her husband, Bill; and Peter Strohmeyer and his wife, Paula, and the Lion clan. Many close friends and his parish family also survive him.
Visitation will take place at Our Lady of Mercy Church (837 Bartlett Road, Harborcreek, PA) on Sunday, July 31, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. with a vigil service to conclude the visiting hours. Additional visitation will take place on Monday, August 1, at Our Lady of Mercy Church from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the Funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m. Bishop Persico will be the main celebrant of the Mass. The Vigil Service and Funeral Mass will be livestreamed. Visit ourladyofmercychurch.org for links. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials may be made to Our Lady of Mercy Church, or the Harborcreek Volunteer Fire Department.
Send condolences to www.kloeckerfuneralhome.com