The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Pope accepts resignation of Archbishop Peter J. Sartain

Published: September 3, 2019   
CNS photo/Andy Telli, Tennessee Register
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, a native of Memphis, Tenn., celebrates the opening Mass of the 2018 Serra International Conference June 28 at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, Tenn. Behind Archbishop Sartain are Bishop J. Mark Spalding of Nashville and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Seattle Coadjutor Archbishop Paul D. Etienne as the archbishop of Seattle and accepted the resignation of Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.

The appointment and resignation were announced Sept. 3 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

In April, Pope Francis named Archbishop Etienne, former archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, to the role of coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle. He was officially welcomed by the archdiocese during a Mass of reception June 7 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.

That liturgy began with Archbishop Pierre welcoming the new coadjutor and praising Archbishop Sartain for asking for help, saying that takes "a lot of courage."

Archbishop Sartain had asked Pope Francis to appoint a coadjutor because of spinal problems he suffered that required several surgeries.

Archbishop Etienne, who turned 60 in June, had been in Anchorage since October 2016. Archbishop Sartain, 67, has led the Seattle Archdiocese since 2010.

In an April 29 letter to archdiocesan Catholics, Archbishop Sartain said: "To say that I am delighted by the Holy Father's choice would be an understatement. Archbishop Etienne is a wonderful shepherd whose love for the Lord is expressed through a deep life of prayer and devotion to the sacraments, as well as contagious enthusiasm for the proclamation of the Gospel and service to those in need in the name of Jesus."

Archbishop Sartain was ordained a priest in 1978 in Memphis, Tennessee. He served as the bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, from 2000 to 2006 and as the bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, from 2006 to 2010.

He serves on a number of Catholic boards and has served as secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has also written several books on spirituality.

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