ANCHORAGE, AK — Pope Francis has named Bishop Paul Dennis Etienne to be the next archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska and accepted the resignation of Archbishop Roger Schwietz who submitted his resignation last year upon turning 75-years-old as required by the church’s canon law.
Archbishop-elect Etienne has served as the bishop of Cheyenne Wyoming for the past seven years.
The new appointment was announced at noon in Rome today. Archbishop Schwietz will introduce Archbishop-elect Etienne at an 11am press conference this morning. The installation date for Archbishop-elect Etienne is yet to be announced, but Archbishop Schwietz will serve as apostolic administrator during the interim.
Archbishop-elect Etienne’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas/St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. He also has a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a License in Spiritual Theology from Gregorian University in Rome.
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on June 27, 1992. Assignments after ordination include, associate pastor of St. Barnabas Church in Indianapolis; associate vocation director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1992; vocation director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis from 1995-1998; pastor of St. Anne Church and St. Joseph Church in Jennings County from 1995 to 1998; pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in New Albany from 1998 to 2007 and many more.
In 2009 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the bishop of Cheyenne Wyoming and was ordained a bishop in December 2009.
The Archdiocese of Anchorage comprises 138,000 square miles in Southcentral Alaska and the population of the archdiocese is approximately 400,000, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the population of Alaska. There are eight parishes in the Anchorage urban area. The other 13 parishes and missions are in more rural parts of the archdiocese. Many are accessible only by airplane or boat. Archbishop-elect Etienne will be the fourth archbishop of Anchorage.