The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in is one of the oldest and most prestigious buildings in Fort Wayne. It was dedicated 150-years-ago today, December 8 1860.
That was one month after Abraham Lincoln was elected president, just days after Charles Dickens published 'Great Expectations,' and before The Civil War.
"I think there's always an atmosphere of prayer and a real sense of reverence” says Monsignor Bob Schulte.
The church has an extensive rich history and today has about 2000 parishioners, but thousands more have sat in the church's long, wooden pews over the years.
"It’s a place in the center of town that Catholics can point to as “the mother church” says Schulte.
Outside in the church, two spires tower into the sky
Inside, large stained-glass windows line the side, while rows of pews lead up to the marble altar.
"The church is very special to me because my grandparents took me to church here” says Cheryl Bender.
Today is the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation for Catholics, and where the cathedral got its name.
Monsignor Julian Benoit oversaw the church’s construction back in 1840, which was not an easy feat considering disease and crisis that ruled the times.
"For the past few weeks, preparing for today, I’ve been doing alot of reading and thinking about those pioneer Catholics who built this church, really an incredible feat’ says Bishop Kevin Rhoades.
Tonight is a special for Bishop Rhoades, as his one-year anniversary as bishop in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese.
"It's not even a year. I really feel that Fort Wayne and South Bend are home” says Rhoades.
They’re home to Rhoades, religious, and the hundreds that pack the cathedral each and every week.