About Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

Installed as 9th bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend on January 13, 2010.

Early Life and Education

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades is the son of the late Charles and Mary Rhoades, and the brother of Charles Rhoades and Robin McCracken. He was born November 26, 1957, in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, located in Schuylkill County in the Diocese of Allentown, and baptized at Saint Canicus Church there. He grew up in Lebanon, PA, where he was a member of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. He attended the former Saint Mary’s School in Lebanon and graduated from Lebanon Catholic High School in 1975.

He enrolled at Mount Saint Mary’s College (now University) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in the fall of 1975, and studied there for two years. In 1977, he entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, and earned a bachelors degree in philosophy there in 1979. He did his theological studies at the North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University, both in Rome, from 1979-1983. He also studied Spanish at the University of Salamanca in Spain during the summer of 1982.

Pictured: The future Bishop Rhoades at his Confirmation

Ordination and Priesthood

Cardinal Terence Cooke ordained Bishop Rhoades a deacon at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City in 1982. He was ordained a priest of the Harrisburg Diocese on July 9, 1983, by then-Auxiliary Bishop William Keeler (pictured). The ceremony took place at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Lebanon, and was the first ordination to take place in the county. His first assignment in the diocese was as parochial vicar at Saint Patrick Parish in York from 1983-1985. During this time, he also ministered in the Spanish-speaking apostolates at Cristo Salvador Parish in York and Cristo Rey Mission in Bendersville. In 1985, he returned to the Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned advanced degrees in dogmatic theology and canon law.

In 1988, he came back to the Harrisburg Diocese to serve as assistant chancellor under then-Bishop Keeler. During this time, he also ministered as the director of the Spanish apostolate in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties, and as administrator pro-tem of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Lebanon.

Bishop Rhoades was appointed pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Harrisburg, in 1990. He served there until 1995, when he accepted a full-time faculty position with Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. While there, he taught courses in systematic theology, canon law and Hispanic ministry.

In March 1997, he was named rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, a role he fulfilled until his appointment by Pope John Paul II as Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg on October 14, 2004.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

Kevin Rhoades was ordained a bishop on December 9, 2004, by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. On that date, he began his ministry as Bishop of Harrisburg, a diocese that encompasses 15 counties of south-central Pennsylvania and which includes more than 250,000 Catholics.

Bishop Rhoades was appointed the Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend on November 14, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI, and installed on January 13, 2010, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. (Read more.)

Committees and Boards

Currently, Bishop Rhoades serves as Chair-Elect of the USCCB Committee on Religious Liberty, as a member of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, and as a member of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.  He also currently serves as a member of the Foundation Board of Catholic Relief Services, as Chair of the Board of Directors of Our Sunday Visitor, as Episcopal Moderator of the Society of Catholic Scientists, as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Eucharistic Congress, and as a member of the Bishops’ Advisory Board of the National Eucharistic Revival.    He also serves on the Advisory Boards of the following entities: the Theology of the Body Institute, the Institute for Priestly Formation, the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, the Augustine Institute, and the Catholic Leadership Institute. 
Previously, Bishop Rhoades served as Chair of the USCCB Task Force on Health Care, as Chair of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and as Chair of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine.  He also served as a member of the USCCB Administrative Committee and the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catechism, as well as a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the USCCB Committee on Religious Liberty.  He served as the Episcopal Moderator of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf.  He also served on the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and on the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University. 
While serving as Bishop of Harrisburg, Bishop Rhoades served as President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and on the Board of Trustees of Saint Charles Seminary, the Board of Regents of Saint Vincent Seminary, and the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary.

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms for Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, ninth bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend, combines diocesan and personal elements.

The crescent moon at the top left of the shield symbolizes the Blessed Virgin, the patroness of the diocese and the cathedral under the title of her Immaculate Conception; the battlement, or rampart, recalling the historic foundation of the See City of Fort Wayne; and the three crosses of equal size representing the Most Blessed Trinity, the basic mystery of our faith. The lower portion of the left side includes heraldic reference to the city and area of South Bend. The lily is a traditional symbol of Saint Joseph, whose name identifies the county of which South Bend is the seat and also the river which flows through it. The use of the “fleur de lis,” the French form of the lily, recalls the pioneer settlement of the territory by the French and the early missionary labors of French priests, particularly Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin and his companions who founded the University of Notre Dame.