Discover the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (LatinDioecesis Vhelingensis-Carolopolitanus) is an ecclesiastical territory ordiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the southern United States comprising the state of West Virginia. It is a conjoined diocese with two centers of worship, one day expected to be split into two separate entities. The diocese is led by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield who serves as pastor of the mother churchCathedral of Saint Joseph in the City of Wheeling. He is also pastor of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the City of Charleston.


The original Diocese of Wheeling was canonically erected on July 19, 1850 by Pope Pius IX. Its territory was taken from the Diocese of Richmond. In response to the growth of Catholicism in the state, the ecclesiastical territory became a conjoined diocese and its name was changed on August 21, 1974 by Pope Paul VI..
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is home to Wheeling Jesuit University, an institution of higher learning administered by the Society of Jesus.






There are seven vicariates in the Diocese:

Parishes by Vicariate

There are 111 Parishes and 23 missions in the Diocese.

Wheeling Vicariate

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

Martinsburg Vicariate

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

Charleston Vicariate

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

Beckley Vicariate

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

Clarksburg Vicariate

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

Parkersburg Vicariate

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

Weston Vicariate

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

High schools

Former schools


Bishop Michael J. Bransfield was born September 8, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pa. He attended St. Bridget’s Grade School, St. John the Baptist School and Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. Bishop Bransfield holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and the Master of Divinity degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa. On May 15, 1971, he was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, John Cardinal Krol for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

From 1971 to 1973, Bishop Bransfield served as Assistant Pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. In 1973, Bishop Bransfield received the Master of Philosophy Degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and serviced as a teacher, chaplain, and Chairman of the Religion Department at Lansdale Catholic High School.
In 1980, Bishop Bransfield was appointed assistant director and director of liturgy at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In 1982, he was named director of finance of the National Shrine. In October 1986, Bishop Bransfield was appointed the tenth director of the National Shrine. He was named a Prelate of Honor by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1987. When the National Shrine was designated a Basilica in 1990, Bishop Bransfield was named the first rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception.
On February 22, 2005, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield was ordained and installed as the Eighth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling.
Bishop Bransfield currently serves as President of The Papal Foundation, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.; and is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; and the Catholic Distance University, Arlington, Va.
Bishop Bransfield is the Treasurer for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he also serves as a member of the National Collections Committee.


Blessed Pius IX established the Diocese of Wheeling on July 19, 1850. The Diocese was redesignated the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on October 4, 1974, under a decree of Pope Paul VI, with Co-Cathedral Sacred Heart Church, Charleston, West Virginia.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston comprises the entire State of West Virginia, with a total population of 1,806,926 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.
Chancery Regulations
1. The Chancery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
2. All special collections are to be forwarded to the Chancery within two weeks of the day on which they are taken up.
3. All prenuptial papers and requests for dispensations should be addressed to:
The Tribunal
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
P.O. Box 230
Wheeling, WV 26003
Please designate clearly the type of dispensation needed, and print or type the proper names of the parties.

As disciples of Jesus Christ in West Virginia, we the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in the heart of Appalachia, commit ourselves to furthering the Reign of God on earth and proclaiming the Good News to all people.
Called by God through Baptism, empowered by the Holy Spirit, nourished and formed by the Eucharist, we gather in our diversity as a community of faith, worship, and service under the pastoral guidance of our Bishop in union with the Bishop of Rome and all other local churches.
Tested by an unstable economy, lack of employment opportunities, and challenged by vast distances, we are a determined and family-oriented people of God nurtured by a land of remarkable beauty and abundant resources.
Sent to be a sign of Christ to the world and guided on our journey by the Documents of the Ninth Diocesan Synod, we commit ourselves to:

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