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Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain
Bishop of Joliet, 2006-2010

Bishop Sartain


Bishop James Peter Sartain was born on June 6, 1952, to Peter and Catherine Sartain, in Memphis, Tennesee.  He attended St. Meinrad College Seminary in Indiana and the North American College in Rome, receiving his STB from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and his STL in Sacramental Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum  San Anselmo.

He was ordained to the priesthood on July 15, 1978 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis.  He served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Memphis, and then was appointed to various diocesan positions, including Vicar for Pastoral Concerns, Vocation Director, Chancellor, Moderator of the Curia, Vicar for Temporal Affairs, Vicar for Clergy and Vicar General.  He was elected Diocesan Administrator after Bishop Daniel M. Buechlein, OSB,  was appointed Archbishop of Indianapolis.  He was serving as pastor of St. Louis Parish in Memphis when he was named the sixth Bishop of Little Rock, Arkansas, by Pope John Paul II, on January 4, 2000.  He was ordained and installed by Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran on March 6, 2000 at the Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock, with Bishops Andrew J. McDonald and J. Terry Steib serving as co-consecrators.  He chose as his episcopal motto, Of You My Heart Has Spoken.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Sartain the 4th Bishop of the Joliet Diocese on May 16, 2006. Bishop Sartain was installed at the Cathedral by Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, on June 27, 2006.

During his brief tenure in Joliet, Bishop Sartain worked to put the Diocese on solid financial footing and instituted a thorough study of all parochial schools, which resulted in the formation of a strategic plan to guide the development of Catholic education in the years to come.  He brought the Catholics Come Home evangelization program to the diocese to invite non-practicing members of the Church to return to the practice of faith.

On September 16, 2010, Bishop Sartain was appointed Archbishop of Seattle, Washington, by Pope Benedict XVI, and he was installed on December 1, 2010, at St. James Cathedral.  On June 29, 2011, he received the pallium from Pope Benedict in ceremonies at the Vatican.  While serving as archbishop, he was elected Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and served as the chairman of the USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans.  In April 2012, he was appointed by the Vatican to oversee a review of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

Due to developing issues with Archbishop Sartain's health, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, then the head of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, as coadjutor in Seattle. Archbishop Sartain resigned officially on September 3, 2019.

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