Rachel Batdorff
Freelance Writer
January 18, 2017 // Uncategorized

Landmark of the faith, in the heart of Fort Wayne

Rachel Batdorff
Freelance Writer

By Rachel Batdorf

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located in downtown Fort Wayne, brings beauty, service and tradition to the Allen County community.

Located at the core of the city of Fort Wayne, downtown on South Clinton Street, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception adds to the city in several ways: through the enormity and beauty of the building’s architecture, the culturally diverse Catholic community it serves and through its traditional approach to the practice of faith.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades is often at the parish for special events and to celebrate Mass, and he draws large crowds of the faithful. Msgr. Robert Schulte is rector of the cathedral and one of three priests who have the day-to-day responsibility of celebrating Masses there.

Msgr. Schulte said the building and location serve partially as a regional attraction.

“Since we’re located downtown, we draw people from all over Allen County. They’re drawn to the beauty of the church and the architecture.” Cathedral staff often field inquiries and calls related to religion and Catholicism, as well as to various diocese initiatives and events. Residents look to the cathedral with other concerns as well.

“We’re located in the core of the city, so during the week the surrounding community will come to us for various needs — such as food and shelter,” Msgr. Schulte said.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is not  just a pilgrimage destination and local symbol, however. Just like other churches in the diocese it is a parish, and it engages in the ministries of a parish.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the home of the Bishop’s Chair and contains the crest of the Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Monday through Thursday, from 1-3 p.m., the disadvantaged in the community can seek assistance at the cathedral through its members who belong to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a society that consists of men and women who seek to grow spiritually by offering services to those in need. Those eligible can receive food vouchers, clothing vouchers and other assistance. On average, 400 people every month are helped.

“The third Wednesday of every month, the committee members host a food distribution,” Pastoral Associate Sue Jordan said. “This past December, parishioners distributed cookies and wassail to those who attended. Blessing bags are made by our religious education students, consisting of toiletries and a prayer card, which are distributed by the St. Vincent workers.”

Cathedral parish membership consists of 875 registered households, including over 1,900 individuals. Full- and part-time staff members wear multiple hats to service the needs of both the community and parish.

“We’re a more traditional parish,” Msgr. Schulte explained. “Our worship consists of almost exclusively organ music and hymns. It’s a great atmosphere to pray and worship.”

Weekday Masses at the cathedral take place at 8 a.m. and 12:05 p.m. in the St. Mother Theodore Guerin Chapel. “The 12:05 p.m. lunch hour Mass is very popular for those working downtown,” Msgr. Schulte noted.

The sacrament of reconciliation is offered at 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday and Friday in the chapel, and at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday; Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place Friday afternoon from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. benediction.

The cathedral also sponsors several school-age children.

“Because we do not have a school of our own, we have over 30 children from our parish sponsored at area Catholic schools,” Mgsr. Schulte continued. “Overall, we have a pretty active parish life.”

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception runs several programs that distinguish the church from other parishes. Highlights include Soup N Stations, a lending library and services geared towards the Burmese community.

“Lenten Simple Soup dinner of meatless soups are provided by various ministries at our parish during Lent, every Friday beginning March 3 at 6 p.m.,” Pastoral Associate Sue Jordan said. “Dinner is followed by Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m.”

The lending library, located in the Cathedral Center in the parish office area, contains a multitude of Catholic books available for parishioners to borrow, take home, read and return, Jordan said.

Additionally, Father Peter Dee De invites all members and families of the Burmese community for special Masses held in the St. Mother Theodore Guerin Chapel at least once a month, she said. “Adults and children sing and pray in the Burmese language.” The Knights of Columbus have started a chapter at the cathedral, and many Burmese have joined under the direction of Father Dee De.

A new initiative and a new program are also available at the parish. A hearing loop system installed last month will help hard-of-hearing parishioners and visitors during Mass; the parish also provides a sign language interpreter on the second 11:30 a.m. Mass of every month. For the musically inclined, a bell choir is in the process of being formed under the direction of Music Director Michael Dulac.

Religious education events held at the cathedral and featuring Bishop Rhoades as the speaker often result in the parish’s most well-attended programs.

“Religious Education has a steady enrollment each year,” Jordan said. High school teens help in each of the classrooms, where children enjoy activities, crafts and opportunities to deepen their prayer lives.

Visit the parish website, www.cathedralfortwayne.org, to view the upcoming programs and events scheduled to take place at the cathedral.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
1122 S. Clinton St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46854



Mass Schedule:

Sunday at 8:30, 11:30 a.m.; 5 p.m.

Saturday at 5 p.m.

Holy Day at 7 a.m.; 12:05, 5 p.m.

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