WHEELING, W.Va.—Catholic faithful in West Virginia have a wonderful opportunity for penance, prayer and preaching during the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Lenten Pilgrimages set to be held at four churches across the state.
Churches in Charleston, Inwood, Morgantown and Wheeling will host the pilgrimages, each beginning with the opportunity to receive the sacrament of penance at 6 p.m. Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m., with a visiting priest from the diocese serving as featured celebrant and homilist.
The pilgrimages will be held at the following churches with the celebrant and featured homilist for each Mass listed: St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown Feb. 21 with Father T. Mathew Rowgh; the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston Feb. 28 with Father Bill Matheny; the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling March 7 with Father Justin B. Blanc; and St. Leo Parish in Inwood March 14 with Father Larry Dorsch.
Bernadette Kime, director of the diocesan Office of Worship and Sacraments, said the idea of making a pilgrimage is an important aspect of the Catholic faith. Each year, millions visit holy sites across the world to make pilgrimages in faith. She added that these pilgrimages in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston offer faithful the same opportunity without having to travel a great distance. “We are asking parishes to make this a part of their Lenten activities,” Kime said. “Encourage parishioners to travel together so it becomes a real pilgrimage experience. The participation in these pilgrimages has been growing every year and we hope this year is no exception.”
Each of the celebrants and featured homilists for the pilgrimages are priests who serve in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and are widely known for their preaching.
Father Rowgh is pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Shepherdstown and chaplain for the Veterans Administration. He has a master’s in clinical psychology and a doctorate in philosophy in pastoral counseling, and serves as a counselor and therapist working with veterans in recovery from combat trauma at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Martinsburg. Father Rowgh was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Joseph by Bishop Joseph H. Hodges April 19, 1975.
Father Matheny is associate pastor of St. Michael Parish in Wheeling. He was born in Charleston and raised in St. Albans, where he attended St. Francis of Assisi Grade School. He then went on to St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary High School and graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University with a degree in history. Father Matheny then earned a master’s degree in counseling and served in the U.S. Army. He studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum and earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1996. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt at the basilica co-cathedral June 1, 1996.
A native of Charles Town, Father Justin Blanc was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in 2014. Before entering seminary, he earned a B.A. in History with a minor in Spanish from Shepherd University. As a seminarian, he completed philosophy studies at the Catholic University of America and theology studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he also completed an S.T.L. in Biblical Theology after priestly ordination. He is currently serving as associate pastor and is the director of campus ministry at St. John University Parish in Morgantown.
Father Dorsch is pastor of St. Paul Parish and St. Paul Parish School in Weirton. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University, and a Master of Theology from the University of Notre Dame as well as a master’s degree in communication from Marshall University. He was ordained to the priesthood at the cathedral by Bishop Hodges April 19, 1975. In 2005, he was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wheeling Jesuit University.
For more information, contact the Office of Worship and Sacraments at (304) 233-0880, ext. 289.