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Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston (Latin: Dioecesis Vhelingensis–Carolopolitanus) is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church comprising the U.S. state of West Virginia. The bishop is Mark E. Brennan while the Cathedral of Saint Joseph is in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston

Dioecesis Vhelingensis–Carolopolitanus
St. Joseph Cathedral Wheeling WV 1.jpg
St. Joseph Cathedral
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston
Coat of arms
CountryUnited States
TerritoryState of West Virginia
Ecclesiastical provinceBaltimore
MetropolitanWilliam E. Lori
Area24,282 sq mi (62,890 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2018)
77,874 (4%)
DenominationCatholic Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJuly 19, 1850 (169 years ago)
CathedralCathedral of Saint Joseph (Wheeling)
Co-cathedralBasilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Charleston)
Current leadership
BishopMark E. Brennan
Bishops emeritusMichael Joseph Bransfield
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston map.png


Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart

The Diocese of Wheeling was canonically erected on July 19, 1850, by Pope Pius IX. Its territory was taken from the Diocese of Richmond. Its name was changed to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on August 21, 1974, by Pope Paul VI.[1][2] At the same time, its boundary was shifted to coincide with the state of West Virginia.

On September 13, 2018, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield and appointed the Metropolitan Archbishop William E. Lori as apostolic administrator. Pope Francis then instructed Archbishop Lori to investigate allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.[3]

Reports of sex abuseEdit

On November 29, 2018, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released the names of 18 clergy who had been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing minors while serving in the Diocese.[4][5] The list also revealed the names of 13 priests who were transferred to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston after being accused of committing sex abuse in other Catholic Dioceses.[4][6] One of the accused clergy on the list, Rev. Felix Owino, taught at the Diocese's Wheeling Jesuit University and was deported to Africa after being convicted in 2010 in the neighboring state of Virginia for sexually abusing a girl.[7][5] Reported incidents of sex abuse on this list also go as far back as 1950.[5] 11 of the clergy on the list who were accused of sex abuse while serving in the Diocese are deceased.[5]

Bransfeld removed from DioceseEdit

On July 19, 2019, Pope Francis removed Bransfeld from public ministry in the Catholic church and also barred him from residing in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.[8][9][10] When a new Bishop is installed, Bransfeld must also consult a settlement on how to make amends for his actions.[8] On July 23, 2019, Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Mark Brennan was appointed Bishop and was installed on August 22, 2019. On 22 August 2019, the same day Brennan was officially installed as Bishop,[11][12] On August 21, 2019, a lawsuit against Bransfeld was settled.[13]


On 30 September 2019, it was revealed that a second sex abuse lawsuit had been filed against Bransfeld.[14] It was also revealed that both lawsuits against Bransfeld also "called out" the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as well.[14]


Bishop of WheelingEdit

  1. Richard Vincent Whelan (1850–1874)
  2. John Joseph Kain (1875–1893), appointed Coadjutor Archbishop and later Archbishop of Saint Louis
  3. Patrick James Donahue (1894–1922)
  4. John Joseph Swint (1922–1962), appointed Archbishop (personal title) in 1954

Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston (renamed as such in 1974)Edit

  1. Joseph Howard Hodges (1962–1985)
  2. Francis B. Schulte (1985–1988), appointed Archbishop of New Orleans
  3. Bernard William Schmitt (1989–2004)
  4. Michael Joseph Bransfield (2004–2018)
  5. Mark E. Brennan (2019-present)

Coadjutor bishopsEdit

Auxiliary bishopsEdit


There are seven vicariates in the Diocese:

  • Wheeling Vicariate
  • Parkersburg Vicariate
  • Charleston Vicariate
  • Beckley Vicariate
  • Weston Vicariate
  • Clarksburg Vicariate
  • Martinsburg Vicariate [2]

Parishes by VicariateEdit

There are 111 Parishes and 23 missions in the Diocese.

Wheeling VicariateEdit

There are 18 parishes and 2 missions in the Wheeling Vicariate.

  • Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish, Wheeling
  • Corpus Christi Parish, Wheeling
  • Immaculate Conception Parish, New Cumberland
  • Our Lady of Peace Parish, Wheeling
  • Sacred Heart Parish, Chester
  • Sacred Heart of Mary Parish (Polish), Weirton
  • St. Alphonsus Parish, Wheeling
  • St. Anthony Parish, Follansbee
  • St. Francis Xavier Parish, Moundsville
  • St. James Parish, McMechen
  • St. John Parish, Benwood
  • St. John the Evangelist Parish, Wellsburg
  • St. Joseph Parish, Proctor
  • St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Weirton
  • St. Jude Parish, Glen Dale
  • St. Martin of Tours Parish, Cameron
  • St. Michael Parish, Wheeling
  • St. Paul Parish, Weirton
  • St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Wheeling
  • Holy Family Mission, Beech Bottom
  • Our Lady of Seven Dolors Mission, Triadelphia [3]

Martinsburg VicariateEdit

There are 11 parishes and 1 mission in the Martinsburg Vicariate.

Charleston VicariateEdit

There are 23 parishes and 7 missions in the Charleston Vicariate.

Beckley VicariateEdit

There are 15 parishes and 2 missions in the Beckley Vicariate.

Clarksburg VicariateEdit

There are 21 parishes and 3 missions in the Clarksburg Vicariate.

Parkersburg VicariateEdit

There are 11 parishes and 3 missions in the Parkersburg Vicariate.

Weston VicariateEdit

There are 12 parishes and 5 missions in the Weston Vicariate.

High schoolsEdit


Former schoolsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  2. ^ "Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston". Giga Catholic. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  3. ^ Keane, Judy. "Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield; Archbishop Lori Instructed to Conduct Investigation into Allegations of Sexual Harassment". USCCB. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Wheeling-Charleston Diocese Releases List of Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse Since 1950". Retrieved Jul 13, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  6. ^
  7. ^ Raby, John (Nov 29, 2018). "West Virginia diocese releases names of accused priests". AP NEWS. Retrieved Jul 13, 2019.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b

External linksEdit