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Diocese of Fort Wayne Established

On this day in 1857, by decree of Pope Pius IX, the northern half of the state became the Diocese of Fort Wayne, the boundaries being that part of the state north of the south boundaries of Fountain, Montgomery, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Randolph, and Warren counties. The remaining southern half of the state made up the Diocese of Vincennes, embracing 50 counties. It covered an area of 18,479 square miles extending from the north boundaries of Marion and contiguous counties to the Ohio River and from Illinois on the west to Ohio on the east.

In 1944, when the Diocese of Indianapolis was made the metropolitan see, the Diocese of Fort Wayne was further carved up with the creation of the Diocese of Lafayette-In-Indiana. Lafayette took most of the southern part of the diocese, essentially cutting it in half.

In 1957, the diocese’ centennial year, the Diocese of Gary was created, taking the four counties in the northwest part fo the State of Indiana.

The last change took place on May 28, 1960 when the Diocesan name was changed from the Diocese of Fort Wayne, to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, with Fort Wayne being the primary location.

One of Fort Wayne’s bishops, Herman J. Alerding, was the author of A History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Vincennes, the last full history of the diocese of Vincennes (Indianapolis), published in 1884, and The Diocese of Fort Wayne, 1857–September 22–1907, published in 1907. This book is currently being transcribed, and you can see it by clicking here.

You can also look at parts of Joseph White’s excellent history of the diocese, Worthy of the Gospel of Christ by looking at Google Books.


Categories: Postings.