Bernard J. Ganter

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Bernard Jacques Ganter (July 17, 1928 – October 9, 1993) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Tulsa (1973-1977) and Bishop of Beaumont, TX (1977-1993).


Bernard Ganter was born in Galveston, Texas, to Bernard and Marie (née Bozka) Ganter.[1] He studied engineering at Texas A&M University for one year before transferring to St. Mary's Seminary in La Porte to study for the priesthood.[1] He was ordained by Bishop Wendelin Joseph Nold on May 22, 1952.[2]

He then attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from where he obtained a Doctor of Canon Law in 1955.[1] He was a curate at Sacred Heart Church in Conroe before serving as private secretary to Bishop Nold (1955-1958).[1] He was also head of the diocesan tribunal (1958-66), chancellor of the diocese (1966-72), and diocesan consultor.[1] He was named Papal Chamberlain in May 1964, and elected to the presbyterate council the same year.[1]

On December 13, 1972, Ganter was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Pope Paul VI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on February 2, 1973 from Archbishop Luigi Raimondi, with Bishops Nold and John Louis Morkovsky serving as co-consecrators.[2] He quickly became a beloved figure among Catholics in Eastern Oklahoma, and led a diocese that was culturally and economically diverse.[3] After four years in Tulsa, Ganter returned to Texas and was named the third Bishop of Beaumont on December 13, 1977.[2]

During his tenure in Beaumont, he established five new parishes, including the first parish in the United States for Vietnamese Americans.[1] He started the permanent diaconate and ordained 36 men between 1979 and 1992.[4] He also established a Catholic Charities office, diocesan financial board, retreat center, and biblical school for adults.[4] The Diocese of Beaumont lost territory with the creation of the Diocese of Tyler in 1986, but received the rest of Chambers and Liberty Counties in 1989.[4]

Ganter died from a brain tumor at age 65.[1] He is buried in the Bishop's Garden next to St. Anthony Cathedral.[1]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Tulsa
Succeeded by
Eusebius J. Beltran
Preceded by
Warren Louis Boudreaux
Bishop of Beaumont
Succeeded by
Joseph Anthony Galante