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Blessed Pius IX established the Diocese of Wheeling on July 19, 1850 with St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling serving as the seat of the Bishop. The Diocese was re-designated the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on October 04, 1974, under a decree of Pope Paul VI. Sacred Heart Church in Charleston was erected as Co-Cathedral and, on November 09, 2009, was named a Minor Basilica.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston comprises the entire State of West Virginia, with a total population of 1,852,994 in an area of 24,282.45 square miles.

When established in 1850, the Diocese of Wheeling was entirely within the State of Virginia. In 1863 when West Virginia separated from Virginia, eight counties in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia continued as part of the Diocese of Richmond, and the Diocese of Wheeling included seventeen and one-half counties in Southwest Virginia.

On August 13, 1974, the Diocese of Wheeling was realigned to be coterminous with the State of West Virginia. The counties in Virginia then became part of the Diocese of Richmond.