On the feast of the Transfiguration, Monday, Aug. 6, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Office of Youth Ministry will host a tour of seven churches in the greater Fort Wayne area. High school students will travel by bus to explore the following churches: the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Cathedral Museum, Fort Wayne; St. Peter, Fort Wayne; St. Louis, Besancon, New Haven; St. Rose of Lima, Monroeville; St. Mary of the Assumption, Decatur; St. Aloysius, Yoder; and St. Joseph – Hessen Cassel.
While parish youth groups have conducted similar tours, it has never been done on the diocesan level.
Director of Youth Ministry John Pratt is most excited for the teens to encounter the priests, seminarians, religious and lay persons at each parish. One goal of the Transfiguration Tour is to show young people that vocational discernment is not a chore solely focused on the final result. Instead, the process should be recognized as a lifelong discovery of God’s eternal, loving plan for each individual. By interacting with clergy, religious and lay persons, Pratt hopes to “foster situations where mentoring young people is just the norm.” Through positive encounters like these, the Church’s youth will be more encouraged to seek guidance and support from the Church.
Appropriately, the teens’ encounters with the faithful of each parish will be made on the feast of the Apostles’ encounter with the transfigured Christ. As recounted in the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus took Peter, James and John up Mount Tabor. Here, Christ’s clothes became dazzling white and his face shone brightly. Moses and Elijah appeared, and God’s voice came down from heaven commanding obedience to Jesus.
Pratt explains the significance of hosting this tour on the feast of the Transfiguration: The three Apostles experienced Jesus in a new way on Mount Tabor, which reoriented their expectations of Him as the Messiah. Likewise, Pratt anticipates the teens’ relationship with Christ and the Church will be transformed.
The Transfiguration Tour also plays a role in the diocese’s preparation for the Synod of Bishops on ‘Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.’ This synod will be held in Rome in October. Like the diocese’s tour, Pope Francis intends the synod to expand vocational discernment beyond a lone endgame into an ongoing journey enriched by participation in the Church and society. Pratt hopes the Transfiguration Tour will not only draw attention to the October synod but also celebrate this year dedicated to young people and vocational discernment.
Another aim of the event is to “help build a sense of the Catholic Church that transcends your parish boundaries,” said Pratt. Teens will be visiting churches that have been mainstays of small communities for decades. Seeing the artistry of the church buildings will expose them to the beauty and uniqueness of each church.
For example, Pratt described the grandeur of St. Peter when the whole church is illuminated. But behind the structure of each physical church is the historical significance each parish holds. This blend of artistry and history highlights “the beauty and universality of the Catholic Church, even in one corner of our diocese.”
The Transfiguration Tour will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. An evening Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. at St. Joseph – Hessen Cassel. Mass will be followed by dinner at St. Joseph – Hessen Cassel.
The teens’ families are invited to both Mass and dinner. After dinner the teens will be bused back to the cathedral by 8:30 p.m.
The tour is open to all high school students and cost is $15 per person, which includes transportation, lunch, dinner, games and activities. Registration for the Transfiguration Tour can be completed online at
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