J. Peter Sartain

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James Peter Sartain
Archbishop of Seattle
Annual breakfast brings JBLM together over prayers, potatoes (2).jpg
J. Peter Sartain in 2012
AppointedSeptember 16, 2010
InstalledDecember 1, 2010
PredecessorAlexander Joseph Brunett
OrdinationJuly 15, 1978
by Carroll Thomas Dozier
ConsecrationMarch 6, 2000
by Eusebius J. Beltran, J. Terry Steib, and Andrew Joseph McDonald
Personal details
Born (1952-06-06) June 6, 1952 (age 66)
Memphis, Tennessee
DenominationCatholic Church
Previous postBishop of Little Rock (2000–06)
Bishop of Joliet in Illinois (2006–10)
Styles of
James Peter Sartain
Coat of arms of James Peter Sartain.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Ordination history of
J. Peter Sartain
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byEusebius J. Beltran
DateMarch 6, 2000
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by J. Peter Sartain as principal consecrator
Joseph M. SiegelJanuary 19, 2010
Daniel Henry MueggenborgMay 31, 2017

James Peter Sartain (born June 6, 1952), better known as Peter Sartain, is an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He is the fifth and current Archbishop of Seattle, serving since 2010.[1] He previously served as Bishop of Little Rock (2000–06) and Bishop of Joliet (2006–10).[2]

Early life and education[edit]

J. Peter Sartain was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Joseph Martin ("Pete") and Catherine (née Poole) Sartain.[3] He is the youngest of five children as well as the only boy.[4] His father served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Ocean during World War II.[5] Raised in the Whitehaven neighborhood of Memphis, he received his early education at the parochial school of St. Paul the Apostle Church, and graduated from Bishop Byrne High School in 1970.[3]

Sartain studied chemistry at Memphis State University for one year before transferring to St. Meinrad College in Indiana, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1974.[5] Sartain is an alumnus of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum in Rome, where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1977.[1]


On July 15, 1978, Sartain was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Carroll Dozier at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis.[2] Returning to his studies in Rome, he was in St. Peter's Square when the newly elected Pope John Paul II emerged from the papal conclave of October 1978.[6] He earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology with specialization in sacramental theology from the Pontifical University of St. Anselmo in 1979.[1]

His first assignment, following his return to the Diocese of Memphis, was as associate pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, where he remained for two years.[4] He then served as director of vocations, chancellor, moderator of the curia, vicar for clergy, high school chaplain, and judge with the diocesan marriage tribunal.[1] From 1992 to 2000, he served as pastor of St. Louis Church and vicar general of the diocese.[3] He served as diocesan administrator (1992–93) after Bishop Daniel M. Buechlein was named to head the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.[1]


Bishop of Little Rock[edit]

On January 4, 2000, Sartain was appointed the sixth Bishop of Little Rock, Arkansas, by Pope John Paul II.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following March 6 from Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran, with Bishops J. Terry Steib and Andrew Joseph McDonald serving as co-consecrators.[2] He was the first priest of the Diocese of Memphis to become a bishop.[7] He selected as his episcopal motto: "Of You My Heart Has Spoken" (Psalms 27:8).[1]

Due to the increasing Hispanic population in Arkansas, Sartain took a course in Spanish in San Antonio, Texas, in 2001, and established Hispanic ministries throughout the state.[8] He also ordained Arkansas's first Mexican-born priest and deacon.[8] He worked to increase vocations; the diocese had ten seminarians and no ordinations in 2000, but fifteen seminarians and two ordinations in 2005.[4] In 2005, he led more than 5,000 Catholics in a bilingual Eucharistic Congress. During his tenure, the Catholic population in Arkansas rose from 90,600 to over 107,000.[8]

Bishop of Joliet[edit]

On May 16, 2006, Sartain was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Joliet. He was installed on June 27, 2006, in the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus[9]

Archbishop of Seattle[edit]

On September 16, 2010, he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, succeeding Archbishop Alexander Joseph Brunett. He was installed as Archbishop on December 1, 2010 in St. James Cathedral in Seattle.

On November 15, 2011, Sartain was elected Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); he begins a three-year term in November 2012. His position also makes him chairman of the USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans.[10]

In April 2012, Sartain urged parishes in the Seattle archdiocese to collect signatures to place Referendum 74 on the November ballot. The referendum sought to repeal Washington state's newly enacted same-sex marriage statute. "The word 'marriage' isn't simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships," Sartain wrote. "Instead, 'marriage' reflects a deep reality – the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman. There is nothing else like it, and it can't be defined or made into something that it isn't...Marriage can only be between a man and a woman because of its unique ends, purpose and place in society."[11]

On April 18, 2012, the Vatican announced the appointment of Archbishop Sartain to oversee a review of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a prominent umbrella group for nuns in the United States. It involved reviewing and changing the group's laws, programs and practices to correct practices that are "incompatible with the Catholic faith."[12]

Archbishop Sartain is to receive on June 7, 2019 a coadjutor archbishop, appointed April 29. The coadjutor was Paul Etienne, until then Archbishop of Anchorage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop J. Peter Sartain Biography". Archdiocese of Seattle.
  2. ^ a b c d Cheney, David M. "Archbishop James Peter Sartain". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  3. ^ a b c Ramirez, Margaret (May 17, 2006). "BISHOP J. PETER SARTAIN: New bishop is eager to lift spirits". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ a b c "J. Peter Sartain". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
  5. ^ a b Beattie, Trent (November 8, 2010). "Faith in the Northwest". National Catholic Register.
  6. ^ McGuire, Terry (December 11, 2010). "An interview with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain". Arkansas Catholic.
  7. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI names Bishop Sartain to diocese in Joliet, Ill". Arkansas Catholic.
  8. ^ a b c "Most Rev. James Peter Sartain". Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock.
  9. ^ Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, IL
  10. ^ "Archbishop Sartain of Seattle to become USCCB secretary in 2012". Catholic News Service. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  11. ^ J. Peter, Sartain. "Bishop's Referendum 74 Letter" (PDF). Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  12. ^ Rachel, Zoll. "Vatican orders crackdown on US nun association". Associated Press. Retrieved April 19, 2012.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alexander Joseph Brunett
Archbishop of Seattle
Preceded by
Joseph Leopold Imesch
Bishop of Joliet
Succeeded by
R. Daniel Conlon
Preceded by
Andrew Joseph McDonald
Bishop of Little Rock
Succeeded by
J. Gaston Hebert (interim)
Anthony Taylor