Catholic News Service
Apr 29, 2019
By Kevin Birnbaum
Pope Francis has named Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage to be coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, meaning he will assist and could succeed Archbishop James P. Sartain in leading the archdiocese.
Etienne, who will celebrate his 60th birthday June 15, has been in Anchorage since October 2016.
Sartain, who will turn 67 June 6, has led the Seattle Archdiocese since 2010.
Etienne was preparing for Holy Week on the morning of Saturday, April 13, when he got a call from Archbishop Christophe Pierre. the apostolic nuncio to the United States, saying Pope Francis had appointed him coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
“To say I was caught off guard would be an understatement,” Etienne told Northwest Catholic, magazine for the Seattle Archdiocese. “You just never expect these phone calls.”
Nevertheless, he said, “My answer was immediately to say yes.”
In his nearly 27 years as a priest and 10 years as a bishop, he’s learned to trust in God’s providence when the pope asks him to take on a new responsibility, “to follow the Lord to another land.”
“My life is at the service of the church,” he said. “I’m a pastor at heart.”
Etienne’s appointment was announced by the nuncio April 29; a “rite of reception” Mass – because Sartain remains archbishop of Seattle – will be celebrated June 7 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.
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