Discover where it all began.

A pilgrimage to encounter the roots of the Church in Indiana and the Midwest.

Breaking news! Young adult scholarships now available!

Verso Ministries and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Young Adult Ministry office just announced that up to ten, $150 scholarships will be awarded to young adults (aged 18-39) of our diocese. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will remain open until filled. Apply now for your chance to road trip with a bishop!



In 1808, the only diocese in the United States, the Diocese of Baltimore, was split into four more: Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, and Bardstown, Kentucky. We're betting that you probably didn't guess that last one! The Diocese of Bardstown was to include the area of ten modern states – including Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois, and more.

Join Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades on the Diocesan Heritage Pilgrimage which will travel back in time to visit the beginnings of the Catholic Church in the Midwest. This three day journey through Kentucky and Indiana will explore the roots of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

From cathedrals decorated by the kings of France to the homes of religious life at Saint Meinrad and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, join us as discover where it all began.

Dates of this pilgrimage are:
Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22 (3 days / 2 nights)

Pilgrimage Highlights:

  • Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Kentucky: This is the first Cathedral west of the Allegheny mountains. When it was built in the early 1800s, the Church was adorned by artwork sent by the king of France and even the Pope Leo XII!

  • Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky: Only about three decades later, the see of the Diocese of Bardstown was moved to the Louisville, the population of which was exploding. The Cathedral is the third oldest Catholic Cathedral in the United States in continuous use.

  • Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Saint Meinrad, Indiana: This Benedictine monastery was founded in 1854 by monks sent from Switzerland to serve the pastoral needs of German speaking Catholics in southern Indiana. Nowadays, the monastery houses about 85 monks of the Benedictine Order who observe the Rule of St. Benedict. They adhere to the maxim ora et labora (“prayer and work”), emphasize hospitality, and pray several times daily.

  • Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes, Indiana: Founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1734, this is the oldest Catholic parish in Indiana. The current church was built in 1826 and served as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Vincennes from 1834 until 1898, when the see of the diocese was moved to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana: Home to the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence and Indiana's first saint. Mother Guerin arrived from France in 1840 and founded Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Indiana's first university for women, in 1848.

In its history, the area of what is now the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has existed in 7 different iterations.

  • From 1674-1789 - Part of the Diocese of Quebec.

  • From 1789-1810 - Part of the Diocese of Baltimore (first diocese in the United States)

  • From 1810-1834 - Part of the Diocese of Bardstown (first U.S. diocese west of the Allegheny Mountains)

  • From 1834-1857 - Part of the Diocese of Vincennes

  • On January 8, 1857 - Pope Pius IX created the Diocese of Fort Wayne for the northern half of Indiana and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for the southern half.

  • 1944 - The Diocese of Lafayette was established and took away area from the current diocese.

  • 1957 - The Diocese of Gary was established in the northwest corner of Indiana to give us what is now, today, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.


Bishop Rhoades headshot.jpg

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades
Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend

The chaplain for the Diocesan Heritage Pilgrimage is anticipated to be Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. Bishop Rhoades was appointed Bishop of Fort Wayne – South Bend in 2009. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and Bachelor (STB) and License (STL) degrees in Sacred Theology and a License degree in Canon Law (JCL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1983. He directed the Spanish apostolate in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties. He served on the faculty of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and as rector until his 2004 ordination as Bishop of Harrisburg. While serving as Bishop of Harrisburg, Bishop Rhoades was president of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and served on the boards of Saint Charles Seminary, Saint Vincent Seminary, and Mount Saint Mary's University.  Bishop Rhoades serves as Chair-Elect of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine and as a member of the USCCB Committee on Religious Liberty.  Previously, he served as Chair of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and Chair of the USCCB Task Force on Health Care.  Since 2010, Bishop Rhoades has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Our Sunday Visitor. Bishop Rhoades has been a member of the Board of Catholic Relief Services since 2015.  

Bishop Rhoades frequently travels as a pilgrim. In addition to leading the Diocesan Heritage Pilgrimage, he's also planning to be a pilgrim at World Youth Day with the Diocesan delegation headed to Panama in January 2019.



The pilgrimage will depart from both Fort Wayne and South Bend. The buses will meet in Indianapolis and stay together until Sunday afternoon. Pickup/drop off locations still to be determined. Final locations will be communicated to all pilgrims.

Friday, July 20: Bardstown (lunch provided)

  • 8:00 a.m. - South Bend bus departs (meeting location TBD)

  • 8:30 a.m. - Fort Wayne bus departs (meeting location TBD)

  • Buses meet in Indianapolis, boxed lunch provided

  • Afternoon visit to the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, with Mass

  • Early evening drive to Louisville, check into hotel, and dinner on your own in downtown Louisville.

  • Overnight at the Louisville Downtown Marriott.

Saturday, July 21: Louisville, Saint Meinrad, and Vincennes (lunch and dinner provided)

  • Breakfast on your own

  • Morning Mass at the Louisville Cathedral of the Assumption, followed by tours of the Archdiocesan History Museum.

  • Late morning drive to Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Tour, noontime prayer with the monks, and lunch at Saint Meinrad.

  • Afternoon drive to Vincennes. Visit to Bishop Brute library and evening prayer in the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier. Dinner catered in the parish center.

  • Overnight at the Vincennes Hampton Inn.

Sunday, July 22: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (lunch provided)

  • Morning drive to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana. Tour, Mass, visit, and lunch with the Sisters of Providence.

  • 2:00 p.m. - Both buses depart Terre Haute.

  • ~6:30 p.m. - Fort Wayne bus returns to meeting location (TBD)

  • ~7:00 p.m. - South Bend bus returns to meeting location (TBD)



Space is limited to 100 participants. Register today to ensure your spot.

Pilgrimage package includes:

  • Pilgrimage preparation and follow-up materials delivered via email

  • A dedicated pilgrimage guide who will accompany the group

  • Custom-designed pilgrimage booklet for each pilgrim

  • Tickets and donations for included activities: St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville Archdiocesan History Center, Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, and Saint Mary of the Woods

  • Transportation on a motor coach for the duration of the pilgrimage (one bus departs from Fort Wayne, the other from South Bend)

  • Two-nights accommodations in double-occupancy rooms, including taxes (single, triple, and quad-occupancy also available at alternate pricing)

  • Bellman and chambermaid gratuities

  • Most meals - 1 breakfast, 3 lunches, and 1 dinner

  • On-site preparation meeting for all pilgrims to review itinerary, activities, logistical arrangements, and prayer resources (will be offered twice - once in Fort Wayne and once in South Bend

    Pilgrimage does not include:

  • Any personal purchases and two meals (Friday dinner and Saturday breakfast)

  • Recommended travel insurance (optional add-on)

  • Gratuities for guide(s) and driver(s)

  • Anything else not explicitly stated as included



Registration is now open!

Cost of the pilgrimage is $448 per person.

Additional Items:

  • Single-occupancy supplement: Additional $175

  • Triple-occupancy: Save $50

  • Quad-occupancy: Save $75

  • Children ages 3-18: Save $25

  • Children ages 2 and younger: Free

Please note that singles, triples, and quads are all subject to availability. If you are a single traveler, or a group of 2 or 3 and would like to find a roommate, we will do our best to match you with another roommate.  If you elect triple/quad occupancy but we cannot find you a roommate, you would be charged the double-occupancy rate. If you are a single traveler and we cannot find you a roommate, you would be required to pay the single-occupancy supplement for a single room.

How do I register?

  • Register online now!

    • For your convenience, registration can be made online and the $50 deposit can be made with a credit card or debit card.

Payment Schedule:

  • Deposit - $50 due upon registration

  • Final balance - Due by June 1, 2018

    • Invoices will be emailed in May for the final balance. The final payment may be paid by credit/debit card, electronic bank transfer, check, or money order.

Please note: Payment plans can be arranged if needed. Please contact us if you would like to pay in several installments.

How do I pay?

  • During registration, the $50 deposit can be paid online with a credit card or debit card.

  • The final payments may be paid credit/debit card, check, money order, or electronic bank transfer for no fee. Checks and money orders can be made payable to "Verso Ministries LLC".

    • Payments can be mailed to:

      • Verso Ministries LLC

      • P.O. Box 986

      • Notre Dame, IN 46556

Registration is open until filled. If space is still available, registrations may be made at any time.

What is your cancellation policy?

The $50 pilgrimage deposit is non-refundable. Cancellations are possible at any time, but refunds are subject to cancellation fees at the rates listed here.

  • Cancellation after deposit and 91 days or more from departure: $50 per person

  • 90-31 days prior to departure: $150

  • 30-7 days prior to departure: $250

  • 6 days or less: No refund given

    Any cancellation charges incurred from other supplies or vendors (flight, lodging, ground transportation, etc.) may come in addition to the administrative fees listed above. Cancellation fees are for individual pilgrims.

Pricing also assumes a minimum of 50 pilgrims. Pricing may be subject to adjustment for a different size group.



Please contact us with any questions!