Bishop Sartain of Joliet, IL to become new Archbishop of Seattle, WA

In a move that’s as much masterstroke as surprise (at least, to many), the Pope has named J. Peter Sartain, 58, bishop of Joliet since 2006, as archbishop of Seattle.

Envisioned by many as an optimal choice to replace Cardinal Francis George in Chicago after the outgoing Bench-Chief reaches the retirement age in early 2012, the much-celebrated prelate instead succeeds Archbishop Alex Brunett, who passed the canonical age-limit in January 2009. Founded in 1850 and made an archdiocese in 1951, today’s Emerald City church encompasses all of Washington State west of the Cascades — some 25,000 square miles — and a Catholic population that, by the chancery numbers, stands in excess of 900,000.

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