John Ricard was born in Baton Rouge; he is Creole. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier High School in 1958, he joined the Josephite Fathers at Mary Immaculate Novitiate in Walden, New York, and entered Epiphany Apostolic College in Newburgh. He completed his theological studies at St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1968.
He then served as assistant pastor at St. Peter Claver Church in New Orleans until 1972, and earned a Master degree from Tulane University in 1970. He was pastor of Holy Redeemer Church (1972–75) and of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church (1975–79), both in Washington, D.C., where he also served as an instructor at the National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America from 1976 to 1978. He was also pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and earned a doctor of philosophy from the Catholic University in 1983.
In 1984, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where he was responsible for parishes in the city of Baltimore. In 1997, Ricard was made Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
He is currently on chair of the Sub Committee of the Church in Africa and a member of the Committee on Justice and Peace and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and former Chair of Catholic Relief Services.
On Tuesday, December 22, 2009, John Ricard suffered a stroke and was treated at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. He tendered his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI in February 2011 due to poor health. Pope Benedict accepted Bishop Ricard's request for retirement on March 11, 2011, and appointed Archbishop Thomas Wenski of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, the metropolitan see for the state of Florida (the Ecclesiastical Province of Miami), of which the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee is a part, to serve as the Apostolic Administrator until a new bishop is appointed.
In June 2011, Bishop Ricard was appointed rector of St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, DC. He commenced service as rector on August 1, 2011.
- National Black Catholic Congress bio of John Ricard
- National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus bio of John Ricard
|Catholic Church titles|
John Mortimer Smith
|Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
1997 – 2011
Gregory Lawrence Parkes