Msgr. Raymond Wegmann

Praised as Leader During Tough Times

Monsignor Raymond Wegmann, member of a well known New Orleans family, became the fourth pastor of St. Rita's in May of 1966. Born in New Orleans on July 18, 1915, he was ordained a priest on May 18, 1940. He studied at Holy Cross College, 1930-33, then went to St. Joseph Minor Seminary and Notre Dame Seminary. From 1940 until 1946, he was assistant pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Houma. He was assigned to St. James Major Church from 1948 until 1953, then at Incarnate Word from 1953 until 1962.

When Archbishop Rummel integrated Catholic schools in 1962, Fr. Wegmann was pastor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Parish in Westwego. He won praise for withstanding the pressures of integration, standing steadfast in the face of criticism. "Hundreds of howling people protested," Fr. Wegmann recalled, "when the first black children were driven up to school. Enrollment plummeted from 800 to little more than 100, but the following year enrollment began to pick up and the bottom didn't drop out of church attendance and collections."

In addition to his St. Rita pastorate, Fr. Wegmann served as the director of Archdiocesan Cemeteries, and in that role, he brought about the restoration of decaying cemeteries. After handling a number of other important duties in addition to administrating affairs of St. Rita Parish, Fr. Wegmann became pastor emeritus in 1987, following a series of heart attacks. He died on November 9, 1990.