WHEELING, W.Va.—Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has named three priests of the diocese each as Chaplain to His Holiness, entitling them to be addressed as monsignor. The new monsignors are:
Rev. Msgr. Anthony Cincinnati, S.T.D., V.E., Episcopal Vicar for Clergy of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, with residence in Wheeling;
Rev. Msgr. Paul Hudock, diocesan director of Vocations and priest secretary to Bishop Bransfield, with residence in Wheeling;
Rev. Msgr. Joseph Peterson, V.F., vicar forane of the Parkersburg Vicariate and pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Parkersburg, W.Va.
The Vatican made this announcement to Bransfield Dec. 16.
A pontifical honor conferred exclusively upon secular or diocesan priests in recognition of their dedication and exemplary service to the church, monsignors are honorary members of the Pontifical Family, appointed by the pope himself. There are three grades of monsignor in the Catholic Church: Protonotary Apostolic Supernumerary, Prelate of Honor to His Holiness and Chaplain to His Holiness.
“I am grateful to His Holiness for the recognition of the service each of these men has provided to the diocese in their own ways,” Bransfield said. “In particular, I am thankful to have received the news of these Papal Honors in time for the celebration of Christmas. I welcomed the news of this award as a sign of our Holy Father’s awareness of the good work of all our priests and a tribute to the wonderful ministry they offer.”
Bransfield said that Cincinnati has served as a priest of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston with distinction for 24 years. “Prior to coming to service in the central administration of the diocese," Bransfield said, "Msgr. Cincinnati served as an effective pastor in two parishes, where he distinguished himself in the his care for the elderly members of the parishes and his stewardship of the parish facilities.”
Bransfield said that Cincinnati has also provided consistently sound and valuable advice to the diocesan bishop. Bransfield also noted Cincinnati’s excellence in work as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy for the diocese, providing oversight and coordination of services and programs that support the development of priests and deacons within the diocese. This includes clergy retirement and healthcare for priests. Cincinnati also plays a key role in planning future clergy assignments and continuing education and formation of clergy across the diocese.
Cincinnati, 50, is a native of Boomer, W.Va. He is the son of John A. Cincinnati and the late Patricia A. Cincinnati and the grandson of the late Clara Cincinnati. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Oct. 3, 1987. Cincinnati served as associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley, W.Va., from 1987 to 1989 and of St. Paul Parish in Weirton, W.Va., from 1989 to 1990. He completed his doctoral studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, graduating summa cum laude in 1994 after earning three academic degrees. Following his studies abroad, he served as associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Clarksburg, W.Va., from 1994 to 1996. Cincinnati later served as pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Follansbee, W.Va., from 1996 to 2004 and St. Michael Parish in Wheeling from 2004 to 2009. While at St. Michael's, Cincinnati served as chancellor of the diocese until he left parish ministry to become the current Episcopal Vicar for Clergy in 2009.
Cincinnati was adjunct professor of philosophy and theology at Wheeling Jesuit University from 1998 to 2007. Throughout his diocesan assignments, Cincinnati has served terms on the diocesan Presbyteral Council and was named vicar forane in 2006. In 2007, he was elected as a member of the National Advisory Council, representing Region IV of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Hudock was born in Lexington Park, Md., and was raised in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. After graduating from Musselman High School in Bunker Hill, W.Va., he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Shepherd University in 1989 and his master’s in divinity degree from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1998. Hudock was ordained to the priesthood June 13, 1998, for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He is one of five children of the late Charles J. Hudock, Sr., and Hazel Hudock, who currently resides in Wheeling.
After his ordination to the priesthood, Hudock served as vice rector of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston from 1998 to 2001 and as associate pastor at St. John University Parish in Morgantown from 2001 to 2004. He was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Huntington and chaplain to Marshall University in 2004, and one year later he was appointed priest secretary to Bransfield. Also in 2005, Hudock was named the associate director of Vocations for the diocese, and he later became the director of Vocations in 2007. Hudock is serving his second of two terms on the Presbyteral Council.
In his role as priest secretary to Bransfield, Hudock travels extensively with Bransfield in his ministry to Catholics across the state. “Msgr. Hudock is a great help to me and to the parishes I visit by serving as a master of ceremonies and as a planning resource,” Bransfield said. “He has demonstrated himself to be a diligent and caring priest, who works for fraternal unity among our priests and who is careful to represent emergent needs and concerns as he becomes aware of them.”
Peterson, 61, is the oldest of six children of John and Eleanor Peterson of Weirton. He was baptized at St. Paul Parish and attended Sacred Heart of Mary School, both in Weirton. He was ordained to the priesthood April 19, 1975. Peterson was associate pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling from 1975 to 1978 and later St. Peter the Fisherman Parish in Fairmont, W.Va., for one year until he was named Vocations director and rector of the diocesan seminary house of studies in Wheeling from 1979 to 1984. He was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s/St. Ladislaus churches in Wheeling in 1984 and, in 1990, Peterson moved to Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Huntington, W.Va., to serve as pastor. In 2004, he was named pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Parkersburg, where he continues to also serve as the vicar forane of the Parkersburg Vicariate. In that capacity, he has filled in as a temporary administrator of four parishes at different times.
He has served as chairman of the Presbyteral Council and as a member of the Priests Personnel Committee for the diocese. Peterson also has experience as promoter of justice from 1981to 1983, a dean of the Huntington Deanery from 1990 to 1999 and currently sits on the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, the diocesan College of Consulters and the Priests’ Health and Retirement Association Board. He recently served on the FaithLink Advisory Board and the Mission and Ethics Board of St. Joseph Hospital, both in the Parkersburg area.
Peterson was one of three priests who came out of the first graduating class of 1967 at St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna, W.Va. He was also in the first class to complete four years at the seminary house of studies in Wheeling, where he simultaneously earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University. Peterson later went on to attend the Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame, where he was one of two of the first diocesan seminarians to attend Notre Dame’s seminary. He completed a master’s in theology at Notre Dame in 1974.
“Msgr. Peterson has served in the diocese stably and with distinction for 36 years,” Bransfield said. “He is greatly loved by the people entrusted to his pastoral care and well respected by the priests of the diocese. He has ably served as a pastor for over 27 years, distinguishing himself in his pastoral ministry. He has graciously accepted the additional responsibilities given to him and fulfilled them with wonderful attention for the people and their needs.”
Bransfield said these honors are a wonderful gift from Pope Benedict XVI to all three priests and certainly for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. “It is a true affirmation of the pastoral leadership that these gifted and talented men have supplied throughout the diocese in unique and challenging leadership roles,” he said. “I am very happy that the Holy Father has chosen to recognize them at this time.”