Diocesan Museum

Open Tuesday – Saturday
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
and by appointment

Free admission and parking in any cathedral lot.
Handicap entrance on the south side of the building.

1103 S. Calhoun St., Fort Wayne.

Encounter Christ in our diocesan heritage

Diocesan Museum is a treasure trove of religious artifacts that bring to life the Catholic faith’s awe-inspiring history, especially that of northeast Indiana.  Many items are significant in telling the story of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, while others reference the universal history of Christ and the Catholic Church.  The displays are informative, sometimes thought-provoking, even amusing.  Museum artifacts include a mid-13th century handwritten bible; relics of St. Mother Teresa and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; a collection of nun dolls; an 85-year-old statue showing the graphic wounds of a scourged Jesus.

Museum History

Diocesan Museum started as a dream of Msgr. Thomas L. Durkin. When he passed away in 1977, newly-ordained Father Phillip Widmann began planning a museum in his memory.  Over the next forty years, Father Widmann collected, rescued, and restored items abandoned when local churches closed.  Other items were donated from people’s closets and basements.  Until his death in 2021, Father Widmann oversaw the setting up of displays and wrote the information labels/notes that accompany them.
 
The Museum opened its doors in 1981.  After several moves, it came to be housed in its current location in 2019.  It has remained free and open to the public. All are welcome!

Feature Exhibit: Funeral Pall

In the Catholic Church, a Funeral Mass is sometimes called a Requiem Mass. Requiem is Latin for “rest” or “repose,” the first word in the phrase Requiem aeternum dona eis, Latin for “Eternal rest grant unto them.” The Funeral Pall is a large cloth placed over the coffin at the beginning of a funeral Mass, meant to remind us of the garment or bib given at Baptism and therefore symbolizing our life in Christ. In Roman times, a soldier wore a cape or cloak called a pallium. Later, this term was shortened to pall. Christians used a pall to cover their loved ones when burying them. Black was the traditional color for the pall and funeral vestments, representing mourning and the somber quality of death. White became used more to put emphasis on the belief in the Resurrection of the body. Currently, priests may wear black, white, or purple

Stained Glass Window Restoration Fund

The Diocesan Museum is located in the historic former diocesan Chancery building, which was erected in 1950. While many aspects of the building need updating, the 77 windows in particular need repaired, recalked, and covered with UV protective film, all to help ensure t