Diocese to Present Lenten Pilgrimages

By Colleen Rowan The Diocese of Wheeling-Char- leston will once again present its Lenten pilgrimages at four churches around the state. The pilgrimages will be held in Charleston, Inwood, Morgantown and Wheeling, each beginning with the opportunity to receive the sacrament of penance at 6 p.m. Several priests from within each region will also be present to hear confessions. The pilgrimage Masses will begin at 7 p.m. with a diocesan priest as the featured celebrant and homilist. “Each year, the diocese hosts Lenten pilgrimages across the state of West Virginia for Catholics to come together during this special season to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation, pray, worship and fellowship together,” said Bernadette Kime, director of the diocesan Office of Worship and Sacraments which is organizing the pilgrimages.   The pilgrimages will be held at the following churches with the featured celebrant and 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. The churches in which these pilgrimages will be held, Kime said, are ones that “reflect a sense of sacred beauty. One of the highlights this year for those in the Charleston area and southern part of the state is by going to the basilica of the co-cathedral, they will get to experience the beauty of the new altar and ambo and all the renovations.”   A small reception will follow each of the Masses allowing the faithful time for fellowship. Going on pilgrimage is an important part of the Catholic faith, Kime said, and many people travel to holy places throughout the world. The Lenten pilgrimages in West Virginia, she noted, will be opportunities for the faithful to take a pilgrimage without leaving the state. “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 pilgrimage Masses are priests who serve in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Father Rowgh is pastor of St. Anges 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. His assignments include: pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Princeton, 1981-1993; pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish in Wheeling, 1979-1981; associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley, 1977-1979; and associate pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Follansbee, 1975-1977. 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. He has served in several parishes throughout West Virginia. One of his hobbies is to compete on TV game shows. He appeared on “Jeopardy!” in 2013 and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” in 2016. Father Blanc is associate pastor and director of campus ministry at St. John University Parish in Morgantown. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield at the cathedral June 28, 2014. 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 a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in biblical theology after priestly ordination. He previously served as priest secretary to the bishop. He is a native of Charles Town and a 2007 graduate of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, where he obtained a degree in history. In 2017, Father Blanc began writing a regular column for The Catholic Spirit. 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. His assignments include: rector of the cathedral, 1994-2005; pastor of Holy Family Parish in Beech Bottom and St. Therese Mission in Windsor Heights, 1990-1994; diocesan director of Communications, 1990-1997; pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Ona, 1980-1990; administrator of Good Shepherd Parish in Glenville, 1980; associate pastor of St. Theresa Parish in Morgantown and St. Luke Mission in Cheat Lake, 1978-1980; and associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Clarksburg, 1975-1978. He is a member of many community organizations. 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.