As this new day dawns on the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, I share with you the news that I am in Seattle for the announcement that Pope Francis has named me Coadjutor Archbishop of Seattle. The press conference will be 11:00 PT.

While I am excited and surprised by this announcement, I know it will come as a shock to the People of God in the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Our time together has been too short, but I am mindful of a phrase in Sacred Scripture that refers to God’s timing, known as “the fullness of time”.  That time has now come in God’s plan for new leadership in Anchorage.

Today I am mindful of the holy woman we celebrate on this her feast, St. Catherine of Siena.  St. Catherine had a profound love for God the Father, for her Lord, Jesus Christ, for the Holy Father and for the Church.  From an early age she devoted herself completely to knowing God and fulfilling his will for the good of the Church and in her words, ‘for the salvation of souls.’

For many years, I have seen St. Catherine as a companion and a kindred spirit. She called the Holy Father ‘Sweet Christ on earth’.  She was his emissary on various occasions, and she offered many sacrifices for the unity of the Church. On the feast of this great woman and saint, I ask that you implore her intercession as I now take up a new appointment from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, that my ministry will be fruitful and conducive to the unity of the Church and the salvation of God’s people.

I want you to know that I am deeply grateful to God for each of you. In the past two and a half years, we have done some very good things together for the People of God in the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Now deep into a strategic, pastoral planning process, we were beginning to dream about what is next. We now place the future once again, as always, into the hands of a faithful and loving God.

Soon we will know how the Holy See will provide for leadership in the Archdiocese during this time of transition. Wednesday evening, I return to Anchorage. We will have about a month together, to prepare the Archdiocese for the next step of this journey of faith. At this time, it appears I will take up residence in Seattle June 1, with the Rite of Reception scheduled for Friday, June 7.

Please know of my deep respect for each of you and my gratitude for the profound faith I have experienced in the people of this ‘great land.’ Please keep me in your prayers, and know of my prayers for you and all who are a part of the faith-family of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

To the people of Seattle and western Washington …

You have been in my prayers since receiving this news April 13, on the eve Holy Week.  I have known Archbishop Sartain for many years, and have nothing but admiration and esteem for him as a brother bishop.  I look forward to meeting some of you in these immediate days.  Most especially, I anxiously await the time that I join you as a brother in this journey of faith, serving one another, and together, proclaiming Jesus Christ and serving as witness to the power of his Resurrection and promise of eternal life.

With prayers, I remain,

In The Heart of Christ,