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Diocese of Fort Wayne becomes Fort Wayne-South Bend

Fifty eight years ago today, the Diocese of Fort Wayne, which had been formed from the Diocese of Vincennes, in 1854, was officially renamed to the Diocese of Fort Wayne South Bend.

The diocese, which is made up of 14 counties in the northern and northeast parts of the State of Indiana, originally held the entire northern half of Indiana. In 1944, when the Archdiocese of Indianapolis was created, Fort Wayne became a suffragan see of Indianapolis. As the Catholic population continued to grow the dioceses of Lafayette In Indiana (the “official” name) and the Diocese of Gary were formed in 1944 and 1956 respectively.

It was during the time of Bishop Leo Pursley (1956-1976) that it was decided that South Bend should be part of the name. The article to the left quotes Bishop Pursley as saying that “…the redesignation was designed to”procure the good of souls more effectively” as well as to honor the site of the University of Notre Dame and other nationally known Institutions located in South Bend”. 1

Bishop William McManus who succeeded Pursley is reported to have said once, tongue in cheek, that the Diocese of Fort Wayne South Bend, is a “wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Notre Dame”. Having that great Univeristy in one’s diocese can be both a blessing and a curse as many bishops have realized.

The current bishop is Kevin Rhoades who has served since 2009. Bishop Rhoades has invited all Catholics within his diocese to join him on Friday July 20, to Sunday July 22 on a diocesan heritage bus tour to explore the roots of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. They will be visiting Louisville, Bardstown, St. Meinrad, Vincennes and St. Mary of the Woods.


Also on this day, we celebrate the ordination of Célstine de la Hailandiére to the priesthood, in Paris, in 1825.

  1. Pittsburgh Catholic-August 4, 1960[]

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