BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) A new era is ushered in for the Catholic Church of West Virginia. Bishop Mark Brennan was recently selected by Pope Francis to lead the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.
Just days into the new job, the Bishop is already making his way to nearly every West Virginia county, visiting parishioners and taking stock of the mission that lies ahead.
On Friday, his tour landed at St. Francis de Sales in Beckley.
“I was a bishop priest most of my adult life. You learn that religion is essentially about connecting people to God and one another — the vertical and horizontal dimension — to strengthen people’s relationship with the Lord and bringing the Lord to others,” said Bishop Brennan.
During his tour of the school, Bishop Brennan told students to take a stand when it comes to bullies and step up for those in need.
As he starts in his new role, he told WVVA News there are challenges.
“There’s an opioid crisis in this state which is terrible. The Church is already responding but could we do more? I suspect we could do more.”
Bishop Brennan also addressed past challenges with his predecessor.
“We have to overcome the negative legacy of my predecessor. Unfortunately, he did misuse Church funds for personal benefit. That’s not what you’re supposed to do with the resources people give you for the mission of the Church. You have to be respectful of the people who are working with you. So the only way to overcome the bad stuff is with good stuff.”
Thus far, the Bishop has enjoyed his tour through the Mountain State.
“What I see is not demoralized people. I see people who are living their faith, serving the needs of their neighbor and responding to God’s call.”
The Bishop said his next priorities also include strengthening Catholic schools across the Mountain State.
His tour continues on Saturday in Princeton and Bluefield, where WVVA News will have more coverage of his swing through Southern W.Va.