Heidi Sforza Photo Pictured following the Mass of Gratitude at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Nov. 20 are, from left, Deacon Doug Breiding; Father Arul Anthony, administrator of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Wellsburg; Bishop Mark Brennan; Msgr. Eugene Ostrowski, V.G.; and Father Joseph Wiley, associate pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling. Bishop Brennan is holding the 32 typed pages of prayer intercessions shared by the faithful from all over the state.
By Colleen Rowan At his celebration of the Mass of Gratitude Nov. 20 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling, Bishop Mark Brennan was presented with 32 typed pages of prayer intercessions shared by the faithful from all over the state. “They will be part of my daily prayer,” the bishop assured those gathered for the Mass in the church and watching the livestream on the diocese’s website and Facebook page. In the weeks leading up to the Mass, West Virginia’s Catholic faithful were invited to visit the diocese’s website and to share their prayer intentions, which were offered at the Mass. Concelebrating the Mass were Msgr. Eugene Ostrowski, V.G.; Father Joseph Wiley, associate pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling and Father Arul Anthony, administrator of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Wellsburg. Deacon Doug Breiding of the cathedral served as deacon of the word. Continuing his homily, Bishop Brennan said that one of the truths Jesus taught is to make use of the resources one has to help others. Whether that is faith that moves one to pray for others, or helping in a building project, carrying out works in their parishes or neighborhoods, or contributing the money that enables others to help serve those in need. Jesus said it’s not just enough to love God, the bishop reminded the faithful, they have to love their neighbor too. “Today I want to thank the people around this diocese, the whole state of West Virginia,” Bishop Brennan said, “who have been supporting their parishes, Catholic schools, Catholic Charities, and other good works in whatever way.” The bishop explained that the diocese was unable to conduct the annual Catholic Sharing Appeal this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, through the pandemic, he said, Catholic Charities has continued to serve; parishes have continued to serve and livestream Masses; Catholic schools are open, some virtual and some in person, forming children in Christ. “You have been helping them,” he said to those gathered and watching online. “Your contributions have been making a difference. And your prayer intentions … They will be part of my daily prayer. I thank all of you who help others through your contributions.” He then reminded all of the diocese’s participation in the Dec. 1 Giving Tuesday, one day of giving to support parishes and diocesan ministries as well as Catholic Charities West Virginia. “Such help is a witness to our faith in Jesus Christ,” the bishop said, ”who gave of himself to save all of us.” The Giving Tuesday website dwc.org/GivingTuesday has been up and running since Nov. 20, and is available for those who wish to make their donation early. The website will be open to accept donations through Dec. 2. Every parish has its own profile page within the website. The full amount of one’s donation will go to his or her parish. “Your generosity provides your parish with the tools to help them teach the faith, celebrate the Blessed Sacraments, expand charitable outreach, and build a vibrant culture centered around the eucharist,” stated on the diocese’s Giving Tuesday website. There is also a place on the website to make donations to the diocesan ministry of Catholic Education: “The Catholic school communities of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston are committed to providing quality education in the Catholic tradition for all students in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment. We accompany families in challenging children to recognize, develop, and share their God-given talent. “Your gift will help provide challenging academics complimented with life and leadership lessons in empathy, morals, responsibility, and faith,” the site states. “You can help give our students a strong foundation for the future—spiritually, academically, emotionally, and socially!” Donors may also provide support for the diocese’s efforts in Evangelization and Catechesis. Stated on the website: “Your gift will support formation opportunities for Lay Ministry, and training and education for parish catechists who teach the Catholic faith to adults, youth and children through RCIA, parish religious education, sacramental preparation and adult formation.” Donations also may be made to support Catholic Charities West Virginia. “We envision a West Virginia where all people can access the services they need to be happy, healthy, and reach their full potential,” the site states. “Guided by God’s love, Catholic Charities collaborates with community partners, parishes and families to provide caring and compassionate services to people in need and work toward lasting and meaningful change.” “Your gift will help sustain and expand outreach efforts to some of the most underserved areas of our state. Your generosity provides funding for statewide services such as food and utility assistance as well as programs that provide for children and the elderly,” the site states. Donations can also be dropped off at one’s parish or in the collection basket during Mass. Donors should include Giving Tuesday on the memo line of their checks