James F. Vanderholt

GANTER, BERNARD JACQUES (1928–1993). Bernard Jacques Ganter, Catholic bishop, son of Bernard J. and Marie (Bozka) Ganter, Sr., was born in Galveston, Texas, on July 17, 1928. He attended Catholic primary and secondary schools in Galveston, studied engineering one year at Texas A&M University, and transferred to St. Mary's Seminary, La Porte, for theological studies. After ordination to the priesthood on May 22, 1952, at St. Mary's Chapel in La Porte, he attended the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (1952–55), where he earned a doctorate in church (canon) law. Father Ganter was secretary to Bishop Wendelin J. Nold (1955–58), head of the diocesan tribunal (1958–66), chancellor of the diocese (1966–72), and diocesan consultor. He was named papal chamberlain, i.e., monsignor in 1964, and elected to the presbyterate council the same year. Ganter was consecrated first bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on February 2, 1973, and transferred to be third bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas, on December 13, 1977. He wrote three articles for the Catholic Encyclopedia; served on the boards of Immaculate Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, St. Gregory College in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the Catholic University of America, and St. Joseph Seminary in Covington, Louisiana; served as liaison between the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Region Ten (Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona); was a member of the Committee for Priests, Religious and Laity, as well as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; served on the national episcopal committees of Health Care and Leadership of Women Religious; and was Texas state chaplain to the Knights of Columbus. As bishop of Beaumont, he established five new parishes, including the first parish in the United States for Vietnamese; reorganized a diocesan lay council and established a diocesan financial board; started the permanent diaconate and greatly expanded the chancery staff to meet Vatican II recommendations; established parochial-school scholarships and foundations; divided the diocese into five vicariates for administration purposes; established the Diocesan Office of Catholic Charities, which serves immigrants' needs, provides day care, runs a hospice for AIDS patients, gives meals to the hungry, and operates an advocacy center for abused children. During his tenure a diocesan Bible school for adults was established that has won national praise. His greatest pride was the Holy Family Retreat Center, a site for prayer and pastoral services. Bishop Ganter died of a brain tumor on October 9, 1993, and is buried in Bishop's Garden, next to St. Anthony Cathedral.


East Texas Catholic, October 22, 1993. James Vanderholt, Carolyn Martinez, and Karen Gilman, The Diocese of Beaumont: The Catholic Story of Southeast Texas (Beaumont: East Texas Catholic, 1991). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, James F. Vanderholt, "GANTER, BERNARD JACQUES," accessed January 17, 2020,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on November 5, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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