History2017-06-16T08:41:14+00:00

History

Early Years 18th Century-1850

The first Catholic church in the Diocese is erected at the corner of Eleventh and Chapline Streets in Wheeling. It is built on a lot donated by Noah Zane and named in honor of St. James.
St. John Parish (later known as St. Joseph) in Martinsburg established, with Rev. John B. Gildea, first pastor. Harpers Ferry, a mission. Property for church at Martinsburg bought in 1802. Church seems to have been completed under Rev. Richard V. Whelan about 1836 when he transferred his residence from Harpers Ferry to Martinsburg. Fr. Whelan later became second Bishop of Richmond and first Bishop of Wheeling. Rev. John J. Kain, native of Martinsburg and pastor of Harpers Ferry, became second Bishop of Wheeling.
St. James Parish in Wheeling becomes first parish with a resident priest, Rev. Francis Rolof. The first baptismal entry is dated Nov. 9.
St. Peter Parish in Harpers Ferry established with Rev. John B. Gildea as first pastor, who continued as pastor of St. John in Martinsburg. Church building commenced 1830, completed 1833. Rev. Richard V. Whelan appointed first resident pastor 1834, with Martinsburg as mission. In 1836, Fr. Whelan took his residence in Martinsburg, with Harpers Ferry as mission. Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry alternate as missions of each other in this period. This area serviced from Maryland in the early days prior to 1825.
Rev. Richard Vincent Whelan, pastor of Martinsburg, Va., appointed Bishop of Richmond.
Bishop Richard Vincent Whelan of Richmond assumes charge of St. James Parish in Wheeling. The first Catholic school of the Diocese is established the “German” school, staffed by lay teachers. It later became St. Alphonsus Parish school.
Visitation Sisters come to Wheeling and open the Wheeling Female Academy, later known as Mount de Chantal Academy. St. Patrick Parish in Weston established, with Rev. Austin Grogan, first pastor.
The new St. James Church is dedicated. It is located from Eleventh and Chapline to Thirteenth and Eoff Streets in Wheeling. Bishop Whelan opens St. Vincent’s Seminary at his dwelling in Wheeling, with four students. (It was discontinued in 1856, reopened in 1865, and closed permanently in 1875.) St. John Mission in Summersville established.

Creation of the Diocese: Bishop Richard V. Whelan, 1850-1874

By Apostolic Brief dated July 19, Pope Pius IX erects the Diocese of Wheeling. Bishop Whelan was transferred from Richmond to become the first Bishop of the new Diocese. St. James Parish in Wheeling (then State of Virginia), becomes St. James Cathedral. This same year Wheeling Hospital was founded through the efforts of Bishop Whelan and Dr. Simon Hullihen.
Three Sisters of St. Joseph and three Novices, under the direction of Mother Mary Agnes Spencer, arrive in Wheeling from St. Louis to take charge of Wheeling Hospital. (Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling was officially established May 4, 1860, by Bishop Whelan.) St. Francis Xavier Parish in Parkersburg established, with Rev. R. P. O’Neill, first resident pastor.
An orphanage for girls was established at Wheeling Hospital. It was moved to Elm Grove in 1894. St. Alphonsus, first parish in Diocese for Germans established in Wheeling, with Rev. Stephen Huber, first pastor. Parish assigned to Capuchins in 1883. St. Augustine Parish in Grafton established, with Rev. James Cunningham and Rev. Henry Malone, first resident priests.
St. Francis Xavier Parish in Moundsville established with Rev. J. Cunningham, first pastor. St. John Parish in Wellsburg established, with Rev. Stephen Huber, first resident pastor. Attended from Wheeling since 1854.
St. John the Evangelist Chapel in Sweet Springs, the oldest standing church in the Diocese, is completed.
First Catholic Cemetery in Wheeling comprising one and one-third acres established by Bishop Whelan at Manchester, on Rock Point Road.
St. Joseph Parish in Mason established with Rev. Joseph Hoeffliner, first resident pastor.
State of West Virginia formed June 20. Diocese of Wheeling, West Virginia, included seventeen and one-half counties in southwest Virginia. Eight counties in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia were continued as part of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. (See 1974 for realignment of Diocese of Wheeling to be the same as the State of West Virginia and name changed to Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.)
Immaculate Conception Parish in Clarksburg established with Rev. Daniel O’Connor, first resident pastor.
St. Vincent’s Classical and Mercantile College opens in the Cathedral, with Rev. F. Loage as President (four faculty members and 80 students). This College was discontinued in 1875.
Sacred Heart Parish in Charleston established, with Rev. Joseph Stenger, first resident pastor. Parish assigned to Capuchins 1902. Seven Dolors Mission in Triadelphia established. Attended from Wheeling. Good Shepherd Mission in Coalburg established.
St. Joseph Mission in Pennsboro established.
Mount Calvary Cemetery opened by Bishop Whelan on National Road, four miles from center of Wheeling. St. Joseph Parish in Huntington (Guyandotte) established, with Rev. Thomas Quirk, first resident pastor. The name of the Cathedral is changed to St. Joseph.
Third Diocesan Synod. The Statutes of the First and Second Synods were not issued in printed form. Immaculate Conception Parish in Wheeling established, with Rev. A. Schleiker, first resident pastor. St. Peter Parish in Fairmont established, with Rev. William Lambert, first resident pastor; mission since 1856. St. Joseph Parish in Proctor established, with Rev. Theodore Varmann, first resident pastor; mission since 1852.
Bishop Whelan dies July 7 at the age of 65 and the Very Rev. Henry F. Parke is appointed Administrator. St. Patrick Parish in Hinton established, with Rev. David Walsh, first resident pastor.

The Diocese in Transition: Bishop John J. Kain, 1875-1893

The Immigrants’ Bishop: Bishop Patrick J. Donahue, 1894-1922

Rev. Patrick James Donahue, Rector of Assumption Cathedral in Baltimore, is appointed third Bishop of Wheeling on Jan. 22, and is consecrated in Baltimore on April 8.
The first official Diocesan periodical, The Church Calendar, is established, with Rev. Oscar Moye as editor. The Catholic Messenger, edited by Rev. Thomas Quirk, appeared in the 1870s, but was limited in distribution to the Parkersburg locality. St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling established, with Rev. L. P. Paquin, first pastor. Sacred Heart Parish in Bluefield established, with Rev. Emil Olivier, first pastor.
St. Brendan Parish in Elkins established, with Rev. John J. Daly, first pastor. St. Michael Parish in Wheeling established, with Rev. C. J. Kluser, first pastor.
Holy Rosary Parish in Sistersville established, with Rev. Patrick J. Boyce, first pastor. St. Patrick Parish in Mannington established, with Rev. Andrew J. McGrath, first pastor.
St. Agnes Mission (formerly known as Immaculate Conception) in Shepherdstown established. First reference to Shepherdstown in Catholic Directory for 1822. Sixth Diocesan Synod.
St. Joseph Hospital opens in Parkersburg and the Monastery of Our Lady of Charity (Good Shepherd Home) is established in Wheeling. St. James Parish in McMechen established, with Rev. R. F. Harris, first pastor. St. Joseph Parish (now Holy Rosary) in Buckhannon established, with Rev. D. Loan, first pastor. (Became a mission of Richwood 1912 to 1920.)
St. Theresa Parish (formerly St. Francis de Sales) in Morgantown established, with Rev. C. J. Kluser, first pastor. St. Vincent Parish in New Martinsville established, with Rev. Marcellus Van Den Bussche, first pastor.
Holy Family Parish in Richwood established, with Rev. Nicholas Hengers, SM, first pastor. Sacred Heart Parish in Chester established, with Rev. William J. Sauer, first pastor. St. Patrick Parish in West Union established (Mission since 1856), with Rev. Dennis Dwyer, first pastor. Sacred Heart Mission in Pickens established.
St. John Baptist Parish (later named St. Charles Borromeo) in White Sulphur Springs established, with Rev. Charles Schlipp, first pastor. Our Lady of Victory Parish in Gary established, with Rev. Patrick H. Gilsenan, first pastor.
Immaculate Conception Parish in New Cumberland established, with Rev. Julius Jaworek, first pastor.
St. Joseph Orphanage is begun in Huntington by the Sisters of Christian Education.
St. Anthony Parish in Follansbee established, with Rev. M. Madert, first pastor. St. Joseph Parish in Howesville established, with Rev. William C. Hall, first pastor. Log church built here in 1849. Holy Rosary Parish (Slovak) in Clarksburg established, with Rev. Melchoir Furst, first pastor. Our Lady of Lebanon Parish (Maronite) in Wheeling established, with Rev. Paul K. Abraham, first pastor.
St. Joseph Parish (Italian) in Fairmont established, with Rev. A. Michielli, first pastor. St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley established, with Rev. J. P. T. Holzmer, first pastor.
St. Paul Parish in Weirton established, with Rev. M. Madert, first pastor.
Sacred Heart Parish in Williamson established, with Rev. Michael J. Coghlan, first pastor. St. Ladislaus Parish (later called St. Anthony) in Charleston established, with Rev. Cyprian Gehrling, OFM Cap., first pastor. (First reference as mission of Sacred Heart 1910). Holy Trinity Parish (Polish) in Clarksburg established, with Rev. Lawrence Michalski, first pastor. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Logan established, with Rev. Joseph Peter, first pastor.
St. Francis Hospital in Charleston and Sacred Heart Hospital in Richwood are opened. The Carmelite Monastery in Wheeling is established. St. John Mission, St. Mary’s established. (Station since 1883.)
Sacred Heart Parish in Powhatan established, with Rev. Gregory Sturm, OSB, first pastor. St. Sebastian Mission (formerly St. Peter) in Kingwood established.
Sacred Heart Parish in Salem established, with Rev. John White, first pastor. Sacred Heart Parish in Princeton established, with Rev. Jeremiah O’Connell, first pastor. St. Michael Parish (Polish) (later known as Sacred Heart of Mary) in Weirton established, with Rev. Michael Pawloski, first pastor.
Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling established, with Rev. Patrick H. Gilsenan, first pastor. St. Anthony Parish in Ridgeley established, with Rev. H. J. Bruning, first pastor.
St. Anthony Parish in Grant Town established, with Rev. John H. Corcoran, first pastor.
St. Patrick Parish in Coalton established (transferred from Kingsville), with Rev. James J. Kennedy, first pastor.
St. Mary Mission in Camden-on-Gauley established. St. Anne Mission in Webster Springs established.
St. Peter Parish in Farmington established, with Rev. Thomas Collins, first pastor. St. John the Baptist Parish (Italian) in Clarksburg established, with Rev. Joseph Gilberti, first pastor. St. Joseph Hospital opens in Buckhannon.

God’s Bricklayer: Archbishop John J. Swint, 1922-1962

Rev. John Joseph Swint, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Weston, is appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Wheeling on Feb. 22 and consecrated in St. Joseph Cathedral on May 11. Bishop Donahue dies on Oct. 4 and Bishop Swint is appointed fourth Bishop of Wheeling on Dec. 11. This same year the National Home for the Aged is founded by the Knights of St. George at Wellsburg.
Seventh Diocesan Synod. The Catholic Observer West Virginia Edition, a weekly, with Rev. Frederick Schwertz as editor, supersedes The Church Calendar, a monthly. St. John Parish in Mullens established, with Rev. John B. O’Reilly, first pastor. St. Agnes Parish in Charleston established, with Rev. William J. Lee, first pastor. St. Margaret Mary Parish in Parkersburg established, with Rev. Patrick J. Browne, first pastor. St. Peter Parish in Welch established, with Rev. John J. Hanley, first pastor. St. Ann Parish in Shinnston established, with Rev. Patrick J. Mullally, first pastor.
Msgr. James F. Newcomb is appointed first Diocesan Superintendent of Schools. St. Mary’s Hospital is opened in Huntington, in the building formerly occupied by St. Edward College. St. James Parish (formerly St. Margaret Mary) in Clarksburg established, with Rev. Joseph L. Quillen, first pastor.
Newman Hall is dedicated in Morgantown.
The new St. Joseph Cathedral is dedicated on April 21.
Sacred Heart Children’s Home is opened in Clarksburg. St. Anthony Mission in Boomer established.
Catholic Charities established with part time director.
St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Berkeley Springs, also known as Bath established, with Rev. James McConnell, first pastor.
St. William Mission in Cairo established.
Eighth Diocesan Synod.
Sacred Heart Parish in Huntington established, with Rev. Wilbur M. Burke, first pastor. The West Virginia Register is established as the official Diocesan Weekly, with the first issue appearing on Feb. 11, with Msgr. Frederick J. Schwertz, MA, first editor.
St. Peter Claver Parish in Huntington established, with Rev. Leo Landoll, CPPS, first pastor.
Very Rev. Benjamin F. Farrell, JCD, appointed First Officialis of the Matrimonial Tribunal. Blessed Sacrament Parish in South Charleston established, with Rev. Matthias O’Reilly, first pastor.
Christ the King Parish in War established, with Rev. Vincent Slavinas, first pastor.
Infirm Priests’ Association succeeds IPF; established on a broader basis of sick and retirement benefits for all members, not only the indigent. Seven Dolors Mission in Paden City established.
Christ the King Parish in Dunbar established, with Rev. Patrick Keating, first pastor.
All Saints Parish in Bridgeport established, with Rev. Charles R. Carroll, first pastor.
Mount de Chantal Academy observes Centenary of its founding. Sacred Heart Parish in Point Pleasant established, with Rev. Henry A. Huppert, SAC, Administrator.
The Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception Province of New York came to Good Counsel Friary in Morgantown. Bishop Swint blessed the Friary on Oct. 4.
Bishop Thomas J. McDonnell, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, is appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Wheeling with right of succession on March 7. Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Huntington established, with Rev. James Tierney, first pastor.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in St. Albans established, with Rev. Joseph W. Wanstreet, first resident pastor (mission of Sacred Heart in Charleston, since 1922; received present name 1926).
Rev. Robert Hickey appointed first full time director of Catholic Charities. St. Mary Parish in Star City established, with Rev. Edward Griffin, first pastor. Sacred Heart Parish in Rainelle established, with Rev. James Pietersma, first pastor. St. John Parish in Belle established, with Rev. Paul Fahey, first pastor (mission of St. Agnes in Charleston, 1943). St. Elizabeth Mission in Philippi established.
Bishop Swint is elevated to the rank of Archbishop ad personam on March 12, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of his priesthood.
Wheeling College, staffed by the Jesuit Fathers, opens its doors to its first Freshman class. The Very Rev. Lawrence P. McHugh is President, and there are 90 students. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish (formerly St. Bridget) in Stonewood established, with Rev. John Allison, first pastor.
The new Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling, located on the grounds of the former Holloway Estate near Oglebay Park, dedicated. St. Michael Parish in Vienna established, with Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald, first pastor.
St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Weirton established, with Rev. James Altmeyer, first pastor. Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Ravenswood established, with Rev. Andrew Pennella, OSB, Administrator. Holy Redeemer Parish in Spencer established, with Rev. Bernard Quinn, first pastor.
Our Lady of Mercy Chapel in Alderson established. St. Joseph the Worker Mission in Whitesville established.
Our Lady of Mercy Mission in Parsons established.
Bishop McDonnell dies on Feb. 25. Bishop Joseph H. Hodges, Auxiliary Bishop of Richmond, is appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Wheeling with right of succession May 24. St. Barbara Nursing Home, a memorial to victims of the Monongah mine disaster and first non-profit nursing facility in the State of West Virginia, was opened. St. Mary Parish in Holden established, with Rev. Paul Hickey, first pastor. St. Edmund Mission in Man established.

Vatican II and the Diocese: Bishop Joseph H. Hodges, 1962-1985

Plans announced for construction of St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna. Bishop Hodges attends first session of Second Vatican Council in Rome. Archbishop Swint dies on Nov. 23. At his death, Bishop Hodges becomes the fifth Bishop of Wheeling. Our Lady of Peace Parish in Wheeling established, with Rev. Robert Lee, first pastor. Holy Trinity Parish in Nitro established, with Rev. Patrick Keating, first pastor. St. Mary Mission in Petersburg established.
Rev. Bernard Schmitt appointed first Diocesan Director of Vocations. Very Rev. Benjamin F. Farrell appointed first Vicar for Religious. First Directory of Diocese of Wheeling is published. First lay editor for the West Virginia Register, Robert Ramsey, succeeds Rev. Msgr. Frederick J. Schwertz. Diocesan Liturgical Commission appointed. Very Rev. Daniel M. Kirwin appointed first Rector of St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary, which formally opens.
New Chancery Building completed. Rev. John L. O’Reilly is first Diocesan missioner to Diocese of Jalapa in Guatemala, which was selected as the first foreign mission to be sponsored by the Diocese. Diocesan Commission for Religious Unity established. Immaculate Conception Parish in Fairmont established, with Rev. Stephen Wolan, first pastor. St. Anthony Parish in Fairmont established, with Rev. Joseph Dene, first pastor.
First Sisters of St. Joseph assigned to Diocesan mission in Guatemala. First Central Grade school established in Fairmont. Cursillo Movement established with Rev. Kenan Ryan, ST, director. Camp Tygart opened at Huttonsville Conference Center.
Dedication of St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna, by Cardinal Shehan of Baltimore. Catholic Charities opens first branch office in Charleston. St. John University Parish in Morgantown established, with Rev. Robert Scott, CSP, first pastor.
St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary graduates first class. House of Studies established in Wheeling for graduates of St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary. Bishop Francis Zayek, DD, first Bishop of the Maronite Exarchate of North America, pays first official visit to Wheeling and the Maronite Parish of Our Lady of Lebanon. Diocesan Senate of Priests established. St. James Parish in Charles Town established, with Rev. Lambert Stack, ST, first pastor.
Diocesan Sisters’ Council established. First lay Executive Director of Diocesan Catholic Charities named. First Diocesan Lay Congress held. New Welty Home for Aged dedicated in Wheeling. Lay Executive Secretary of Campus Ministry (Newman Apostolate) appointed (the first layman in the U.S. to hold such a Diocesan position). St. Jude Parish in Glen Dale established, with Rev. A. James Myles, first pastor. Holy Cross Mission in Pineville established. St. John Bosco Mission in Huttonsville established under St. Brendan in Elkins. Attached to Catholic Conference Center in Huttonsville, 1970, as Parochial Vicariate with Rev. Leon Alexander as Vicar Curate. Parish Councils mandated in the Diocese. Bishop Hodges blessed the new addition to Good Counsel Friary on May 8; the addition began the Retreat and Renewal Center.
Elementary Principals Association holds its first meeting. First TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) held at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling. Diocesan Pastoral Council holds first meeting. Office of Media established with Lay Director. Catholic Conference Center established at former Don Bosco School in Huttonsville.
Diocesan Newspaper, The West Virginia Register, changes title to The Catholic Spirit and adopts new format. First lay persons in Diocese of Wheeling appointed as extraordinary ministers for the administration of Holy Communion. The West Virginia Supreme Court directed county boards of education to provide transportation for parochial school students. First Financial Report (1969) of the Diocese of Wheeling published. Catholic Charities opens Fairmont branch.
Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling, dedicated. The Catholic Spirit ends affiliation with The Register System, Denver, Colo., and begins local publication. Msgr. Frederick J. Schwertz, PA, crowns Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrim Statue in the American Embassy in Moscow, as representative of Bishop of Fatima in Portugal. First Annual Ecumenical Scripture Workshop held at St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary.
Mission of the Risen Lord in Clay established. Evangelization Commission is established, with Rev. John H. McDonnell as chairman to coordinate evangelization efforts in the Diocese. Second Lay Congress held.
Publication of complete text of official norms for Due Process for the Diocese of Wheeling. Most Rev. James Edward Michaels, DD,D. Miss., SSC, appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese and Vicar General. Catholic Charities officially opens Catholic Community Services Center in Weirton. Harrison County Catholic School System established. St. Thomas Parish in Gassaway established, with Rev. Kenneth Reed, SVD, as first pastor. (Mission since 1908). Exterior and interior of St. Joseph Cathedral renovated.
Boundaries of Diocese changed, effective Aug. 13. Former Virginia section of Diocese incorporated into the Diocese of Richmond, Va. The eastern panhandle of West Virginia, formerly part of the Richmond, Va., Diocese, was incorporated into the Diocese of Wheeling. The five new Diocesan parishes are: St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Berkeley Springs; St. James Parish in Charles Town; Assumption Parish in Keyser; St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg; St. Anthony Parish in Ridgeley. Name of Diocese of Wheeling changed to Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston with Sacred Heart Parish in Charleston designated Co-Cathedral, Oct. 4. Ground broken at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Wheeling, for first Community Chapel Mausoleum in Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. St. Joseph Parish in Pennsboro established, with Rev. Cyprian Mercieca, TOR, first pastor. St. John Parish in St. Marys established, with Rev. Paul J. Schwarten, first pastor. Continuing Adult Religious Education Office is established under Office of Religious Education, with Sr. Anne Francis Bartus, SSJ, first directress.
Observance of 125th anniversary of establishment of Diocese, with special commemorative service at St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling, and Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charleston, and in each Deanery. Bishops of Appalachia promulgate Pastoral Letter, “This Land Is Home To Me.” St. Boniface Parish in Leading Creek and St. John Parish in Benwood, observed parish centennials. Wheeling Hospital dedicated at Medical Park in Wheeling, June 1. Former building on Main Street in Wheeling converted to Extensive Care facility. Two official pilgrimages to Rome for Holy Year under chairmanship of Bishop Michaels. St. Stanislaus and Our Lady of Pompeii Parishes in Monongah, merged and renamed Holy Spirit Parish. Diocesan Department of Social Ministries established, with Marist Brother Ronald Mulholland, as first director. Diocesan Office for Pastoral Ministry of Religious established, with Sr. John Eudes Duffy, OLCR, first director. Over 90 South Vietnamese refugees resettled in Diocese. St. Elizabeth Mission in Philippi established as parish, with Rev. Damian Drass, TOR, administrator. St. Mary Mission in Petersburg established as a parish encompassing counties of Grant, Hardy, and Pendleton, with Rev. Richard B. Hite, MSsA, first pastor. Permanent Diaconate Formation Program initiated in Diocese with 12 candidates. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Franklin, Mission of St. Mary’s in Petersburg established, with Rev. Richard B. Hite, first administrator. Dedication of new church building at Terra Alta Mission; name of mission changed from Help of Christians to St. Edward the Confessor.
St. Monica Parish in Lubeck established, with Rev. Msgr. Daniel M. Kirwin, first pastor. Wheeling College designates library as “Bishop Joseph H. Hodges Learning Center.” Diocesan Pro-Life Office established with Sr. Carol Pregno, OLCR, first director. Webster County association begins low-cost housing (ECHOWEB) with Diocesan support. Bishop Hodges leads public protest of opening of Wheeling abortion clinic. The Catholic Spirit resumes weekly publication. Missions of St. Mary in Madison and St. Joseph the Worker in Whitesville, designated as parishes, with team of Capuchin Fathers. Our Lady of Grace Mission in Springfield established as parish in Romney, with Rev. Joseph Quinn, TOR, pastor. Good Shepherd Mission in Glenville established as parish, with Rev. Michael Rooney, SMA, pastor.
Bishop Hodges issues Mission Statement, “Strengthened by Hope.” Pocahontas County Parish of St. John Neumann established at Marlinton and mission of St. Mark at Bartow, with Rev. Roy Lombard, first pastor. Catholic Rural Life Center dedicated at Huttonsville, with Rev. Paul Hickey, first director. Mission of the Risen Lord Church building dedicated at Clay (Clay County). New 60-bed unit added to Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling. St. Andrew Parish in Union (Monroe County) established, with Rev. James McGee, OMI, first pastor. Sisters of the Cenacle come to the Diocese to establish Cenacle Retreat House in Charleston. Bishop Hodges celebrates the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. St. Elizabeth Seton Parish established and building dedicated at Westover (Monongalia County). Mission of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace established near Grantsville (Calhoun County). Our Lady of the Hills Parish established at Elkview (Kanawha County), with Rev. Emil Fischer, OFM Cap., as first pastor.
Chapel Mausoleum dedicated at St. Paul Cemetery in Weirton. Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling celebrate 125th anniversary. Blessed Sacrament Church and parish facilities dedicated at South Charleston. Sacred Heart Rectory and Parish Hall dedicated at Salem. Sacred Heart Church in Powhatan renovated and re-dedicated. St. John’s Home for Children in Wheeling renovated and three new buildings added for group living. Siena House, Bethany College Catholic Center, dedicated. All Souls’ Chapel at Priest Field (Jefferson County), renovated and rededicated. Priest Field Pastoral Center (Wizard Clip) dedicated at Middleway. Genoa Christian Center established in Wayne County, with Sr. Alice Bouchard, OSU, director. Resurrection Mission established at Belington (Barbour County), with Sr. Teresa Reddington, SSJ, director. Mission of St. Anne in Webster Springs (Webster County) designated as parish, with Rev. Edwin Daschbach, SVD, first pastor. Joint Commission of Roman Catholics and Episcopalians established by Bishop Hodges and Rt. Rev. Robert P. Atkinson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.
Eight members of the First Permanent Deacon Class ordained in St. Joseph Cathedral. St. Mary of the Greenbrier Catholic Center in Alderson (Greenbrier County), as mission of St. Patrick Parish in Hinton, established and dedicated. First meeting of the Anglican/Roman Catholic Commission of West Virginia held at Cenacle Retreat House in Charleston. New SS. Peter and Paul Church dedicated at Oak Hill (formerly Scarbro). First Diocesan Workshop on Evangelization held. New Holy Trinity Church dedicated at Nitro. New St. John Church dedicated at St. Marys. Logan Deanery established, consisting of parishes in Boone, Lincoln, Logan, and Mingo Counties. Bishop Hodges appointed chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for the Campaign for Human Development (CHD). Nazareth Farm dedicated at Center Point (Doddridge County). Dedication of St. John Neumann Church building at Marlinton. Dedication of Resurrection Mission Building at Belington. Church building for St. Louis (of France) dedicated at Lewisburg (Greenbrier County).
Holy Family Christian Community Center in Welch dedicated. St. John Bosco Chapel at Rural Life and Retreat Center in Huttonsville dedicated. St. Luke’s Parish in Cheat Lake (Mission of St. Theresa’s in Morgantown) dedicated. St. Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Danville dedicated. St. Barbara’s Mission in Chapmanville blessed. Holy Family Church in Beech Bottom dedicated. St. Anne Church in Webster Springs enlarged and renovated. Bishop Hodges, standing atop Spruce Knob, Pendleton County, blesses entire state and dedicates the Diocese to the Blessed Mother in Honor of her Sacred Heart and Immaculate Conception, Oct. 6. First Bishop’s Annual Diocesan Appeal held. Christ Our Hope Church in Harrisville dedicated.
Marshall Newman Center in Huntington, dedicated. Our Lady of Grace Church in Romney, dedicated. St. Peter Claver Church in Huntington dedicated. Church of the Ascension in Hurricane, dedicated. New church building at Ravenswood dedicated and named St. Matthews (previously Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish). Newman Hall in Morgantown renovated after 55 years of serving Catholic community at West Virginia University. Church of the Annunciation in Fort Ashby dedicated. Three new deaneries created: Elkins, Logan, Keyser. Paul VI Pastoral Center dedicated. Catholic Diocese officially accepted into West Virginia Council of Churches. Mater Dolorosa in Paden City established as Parish (formerly mission of New Martinsville, 1921-1978, and Sistersville 1978-1981). Catholic Communications Center in Wheeling, dedicated.
Holy Spirit Complex in Monongah dedicated. St. John Fisher Chapel in Bethany dedicated. Our Lady of the Hills Church in Elkview dedicated. St. Leo Complex in Inwood dedicated. New Wing of Huttonsville Diocesan Rural Life and Retreat Center dedicated. St. Francis de Sales School in Beckley celebrates its 25th anniversary. St. Stephen Catholic Center in Ona dedicated. Center for Behavioral Counseling and Ministry created, with Rev. Robert Park, first director. First Diocesan Liturgical Conference held. Church of the Nativity of Our Lord in Wayne dedicated. New gymnasium at Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling dedicated.
First Lutheran/Anglican/Roman Catholic Conference at Huttonsville. St. Vincent de Paul Church in New Martinsville dedicated. Continuous Care Center/Kidney Dialysis Center in Wheeling dedicated. Priest Field Pastoral Center dedicated. Christ the King Church in Dunbar dedicated. Formation of Diocesan Presbyteral Council (replacing the Senate of Priests) and Diocesan Finance Council (replacing Council of Administration) in accordance with the revised Code of Canon Law.
Bishop Hodges rededicates Diocese to the protection of Mary, the Mother of the Church. Ground breaking ceremonies held for new chapel at Wheeling College. St. Barbara’s Church in Chapmanville dedicated. Bishop Whelan inducted into Wheeling Hall of Fame. St. Martin’s Parish Community Center in Cameron blessed. Welty Retirement Apartment Building in Wheeling dedicated. First Diocesan Conference for separated, divorced, and remarried Catholics held. Wheeling Hospital Bishop Joseph H. Hodges Continuous Care Center dedicated. The pastoral letter, “Peace in Our Time,” is issued by State Episcopal and Roman Catholic Bishops. The Rural Life and Retreat Center in Huttonsville is renamed Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center.

A Pilgrim Bishop: Bishop Francis B. Schulte, 1984-1989

John XXIII Pastoral Center dedicated. Bishop Joseph H. Hodges dies Jan. 27 and is entombed in Mount Calvary Chapel in Wheeling Feb. 1. The Emmaus Program for priests is initiated. Campus Ministry Center is dedicated in West Liberty. Most Rev. Francis B. Schulte, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, is named sixth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston on June 4 and installed July 31. St. Monica Church in Lubeck dedicated. Chapel of Mary and Joseph, Wheeling College, dedicated. Newman Center, Concord College in Athens, dedicated. Twenty-nine of West Virginia’s 55 counties are hit by November floods.
St. Francis de Sales Parish Center in Beckley, dedicated. U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue held in Wheeling. New St. Michael Church in Vienna dedicated. Newly renovated Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Weirton is rededicated on the occasion of its 75th Anniversary.
Economic Pastoral, “Justice for All,” signed by Bishop Francis B. Schulte and Bishop Robert Atkinson, of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. Diocesan Services are restructured with the establishment of the Department of Catholic Education and Formation; Rev. Robert V. Arkle is appointed as director. Seminary House of Studies in Wheeling closes. St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna closes. Church of the Risen Lord in Clay dedicated. Auxiliary Bishop James E. Michaels resigns as Auxiliary Bishop to begin a life of solitude at a Trappist Monastery. Office of Pastoral Planning opened, with Rev. Eugene S. Ostrowski, director. Rev. Robert G. Park is appointed Delegate of the Bishop for the Clergy of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Bishop Joseph H. Hodges is named to Wheeling Hall of Fame. Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charleston officially dedicated as a cathedral. Miss Judith Minear is named the first lay superintendent of schools in the Diocese. St. Jude Parish in Glen Dale dedicates new church. Diocesan Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., made as part of the Marian Year observance. First Summer Ministry Institutes, sponsored by the Diocesan Department of Catholic Education and Formation, offered at three sites. Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt, a Wheeling native, is ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese and Titular Bishop of Walla Walla (Wash.), May 31. Wheeling Catholic Elementary School established. New church of St. Elizabeth is dedicated at Philippi. Dr. Rizal Pangilinan of Wheeling becomes president of Serra International. Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling dedicates new Outpatient Center. St. Luke Parish in Cheat Lake established (mission since 1980).

On a Journey Together, Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt, 1989-

Bishop Francis B. Schulte installed as Twelfth Archbishop of New Orleans, Feb. 14, in St. Louis Cathedral. “Facing the Future with Hope and Creativity: A Process for the Planning for the Future Direction and Staffing of Parishes and Missions,” begins in the Diocese. St. John’s Home for Children in Wheeling renovated and reopened. The Most Reverend Bernard W. Schmitt installed as Seventh Diocesan Bishop May 17. St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon and St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington incorporated into Pallottine Health Services, Inc. Jacob’s Well Christian Renewal Center dedicated by Most Rev. Bernard W. Schmitt, D.D.
Restructuring of Catholic school education in Monongalia County, with the closure of St. Francis High School in Morgantown, to create the new St. Francis Central School, grades K through 9. Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling and St. Joseph Hospital in Parkersburg honored as Charter Members (1915-1990) of the Catholic Health Association. The late Bishop Joseph H. Hodges is inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame for his contributions in the fields of religion/education.
The first Diocesan Commission for Persons with Disabilities is established. Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt is appointed a member of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family. A stewardship program titled, “Stewardship, New Beginnings,” approved by Bishop Bernard Schmitt and introduced in parishes in the Diocese. “Walk in the Presence of the Lord,” a pastoral letter on catechesis is issued by Bishop Bernard Schmitt. Diocese marks the beginning of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Americas with the blessing of the quincentenary cross in October, at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charleston. Our Lady of Peace Parish in Wheeling opens their Peace Family Center in November. Bishop Schmitt issues, “The Treasure of Family,” a pastoral letter on family life.
A plaque in honor of the establishment of the Diocese and the first Mass is dedicated in July near the Ohio River/Wheeling Creek site. All Saints Parish in Bridgeport dedicates its new parish center.
St. Margaret Mary Parish in Parkersburg dedicates its newly renovated church. St Zita Parish in Masontown rededicates its church after major renovations. One hundred forty-nine Catholic youth and chaperones from around the Diocese travel to Denver for World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II. Catholics from across the state participate in the first ever series of three statewide teleconferences, sponsored by the Diocesan Communications Office entitled “Initiation to Discipleship.” In March, Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt announces a process for developing a plan to revitalize parish and mission life in the Diocese. Sixteen people (seven priests, five lay people, three women religious, and one deacon) are appointed by Bishop Schmitt to an Analysis Committee for the Diocesan pastoral planning process.
Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt issues “A Pastoral Reflection on the Eucharist.” A restructuring of the Diocese’s central administration is begun. A pastoral letter on health and wellness is jointly issued by the Bishops of the Lutheran, United Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Episcopal Churches of West Virginia. Bishop Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Pittsburgh, joins Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt in signing a statement regarding marriage between members of the two faiths. Wheeling Jesuit College dedicates the new Center for Educational Technologies, which will house the Challenger Learning Center and the Classroom of the Future. During weekend liturgies March 5-6, Bishop Schmitt issues formal decrees concerning the reorganization and revitalization plan for the Diocese.
St. Francis Hospital in Charleston is sold to the nation’s largest health-care system, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., based in Louisville, Ky. First annual Catholic Schools Dinner is held in Wheeling with the awarding of “The Bishop’s Cross” and the “Aquinas Medal.” The Conciliation and Due Process Policy becomes effective in October.
Diocese begins campaign to finance $3 million Cathedral restoration. New Appalachian pastoral, “At Home in the Web of Life,” focuses on building sustainable communities. St. Francis Xavier Parish in Parkersburg celebrates its 125th anniversary and begins $300,000 renovation. The Diocese creates a new Stewardship and Development Office, with Bryan Minor, director. Newly restored St. Joseph Cathedral is rededicated Aug. 16.
Diocesan offertory increase campaign finances Cathedral renovations. The Diocese conducts a statewide Time, Talent, and Treasure campaign to increase stewardship in the Diocese. Society of the Holy Spirit is formed to foster vocations. The Gabriel Project is initiated in West Virginia to help women in crisis pregnancies. Bishop Schmitt begins the Ninth Diocesan Synod. Mine subsidence destroys St. Joseph Church in Fairmont. The Diocese’s 14 deaneries are reorganized into seven vicariates. Sisters of St. Joseph establish charitable fund. Bishop Schmitt incorporates the West Virginia Catholic Foundation; the first comprehensive endowment development program for Catholic parishes, schools, charities, and other organizations.
Bishop Schmitt dedicates a new worship space at Church of the Ascension in Hurricane. Vicars Forane are installed in each of the seven vicariates of the Diocese. Bishop Schmitt announces the restructuring of Diocesan Central Services, including the newly named departments of Catholic Education and Parish Life, Catholic Charities, the Chancery, and Communications and Technology. Bishop Schmitt travels to Rome for his ad limina visit with the Pope. St. Theresa/St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Morgantown/Westover is canonically established as a new territorial parish.
The themes of the Ninth Diocesan Synod are announced as the Synodal process moves into its second year. Fire ravages SS. Peter and Paul Church in Oak Hill, where worship is transferred to the school gymnasium for the remainder of the year. On Aug. 26, Bishop Schmitt established the Catholic Education Endowment Fund in the West Virginia Catholic Foundation by donating $165,000 divided among 33 Catholic schools. The Catholic Foundation developed and implemented its Charitable Gift Annuity program. After 17 years, the Annual Diocesan Appeal changed its name and focus. Renamed the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, the campaign funded Bishop Schmitt’s grant program that supported the most worthy and needy Catholic parishes, schools, and charities. The National Catholic Stewardship Council recognized the West Virginia Catholic Foundation with an honorable mention (second place) Outstanding Foundation Operation Award of excellence at the NCSC’s 1999 convention in Minneapolis.
The three-year Synod process concluded with intensive meetings and writing sessions, and the promulgation of the final Synod documents, which seek to guide the future of the Diocesan Church. The four Synod Regional Assemblies were held at Paul VI Pastoral Center in Wheeling, Priest Field Pastoral Center in Kearneysville, John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston, and Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center in Huttonsville. The Ninth Diocesan Synod Final Plenary Assembly met May 7-10 at Canaan Valley. The Synod Closing Celebration was held June 4 at Charleston Civic Center. The Synod documents were formally promulgated at the final Synod Closing Celebration, held at St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling, and the Wheeling Civic Center, June 11. Mid-East Peace Talks between Syria and Israel were held in Shepherdstown while St. Agnes Parish took part in ecumenical prayer services for peace. Bishop Schmitt issued the Pastoral, “One Hundred Fifty Years around the Table of the Lord: The Eucharist and Our Diocesan Church.” Methodists and Catholics issued, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” a fundamental agreement on 10 points regarding the Sacrament of Baptism, at John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston. The first Rural Ministry Conference, sponsored by the Diocese, was held at Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center in Huttonsville. Bishop Schmitt announced a new lay ministry formation program called Koinonia for the Diocese. Eric Hall was ordained transitional deacon at St. Michael Parish in Wheeling, May 20. Tim Grassi, Benny Kapa, and Paul Yuenger were ordained to the priesthood at St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling. Sister Anne Regina O’Leary, SSJ, received the Distinguished West Virginian Award from Governor Cecil H. Underwood. St. Joseph School in Martinsburg dedicated a new school building. St. Joseph High School in Huntington dedicated its new technology wing. The Diocesan Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration Mass took place Oct. 23, St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling. The Office of Catholic Schools announced a strategic plan, “Moving in God’s Spirit.” Bishop Schmitt declared the liturgical year 2001 as “Year of the Child” Nov. 20.