Seattle Catholic community welcomes new archbishop this week
Seattle’s Catholic community welcomes its new archbishop this week — Paul D. Etienne.
Etienne steps in as the sixth archbishop for the Archdiocese of Seattle, after Archbishop J. Peter Sartain resigned from the position for health reasons. Sartian underwent a series of spinal surgeries while dealing with other health issues over the past year. In April, he wrote the pope about the situation and requested that someone else takeover the job. He will now hold the title of archbishop emeritus.
As he enters the role, Etienne says that evangelization is his focus.
“Our highest priority is to help people encounter Christ,” Archbishop Etienne said. “As the shepherd of this archdiocese, I want to help people know Christ on an intimate and personal level. Everything else follows that central priority.”
“I also recognize the need in this community to hear more from your bishops,” he said. “You want to know how the Catholic Church is responding to key issues and you want more transparency around the church. Transparency is something that I’m committed to and will continue to uphold. I will speak out about issues and ensure our community understands our Catholic teaching.”
Archbishop Etienne also comes with his own blog where he discusses topical and timely issues.
Before officially taking on the role, Archbishop Etienne spent the previous months attending mass at Seattle-area parishes and meeting with the local Catholic community.
Etienne was born into a family of six children in Tell City, Indiana. Two of his brothers are also Catholic priests. His sister is a Benedictine nun. He received a Licentiate of Spiritual Theology in 1995 after studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
The Seattle position will not be his first in the role of archbishop. He was previously archbishop in Anchorage, Alaska, and bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The Archdiocese of Seattle covers Western Washington between Oregon and Canada. It has 169 parishes, missions, and pastoral centers.