September 3, 2019
By Nina Shapiro and Christine Clarridge
Seattle has a new Catholic archbishop.
Paul D. Etienne was appointed Tuesday to be the sixth archbishop of the Seattle Archdiocese, which encompasses Western Washington, home to 169 parishes, missions and pastoral centers and an estimated Roman Catholic population of roughly 640,000. He succeeds Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, whose resignation Pope Francis accepted Tuesday.
Sartain, citing “ongoing health challenges following a series of spinal surgeries,” asked Pope Francis a year ago to appoint a “coadjutor archbishop” to share his duties, according to a news statement from the Archdiocese of Seattle. Etienne, 60, assumed that role in June.
In an interview in the downtown Seattle archdiocese offices, he allowed he had to figure out how to lead a region of this size. Etienne last served as archbishop of Anchorage, which has 33 parishes and missions and about 32,000 Catholics. While he liked to be in close contact with everyone, he said, “that’s not a luxury I’m going to be able to afford here.”
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