The Vatican announced Tuesday, May 16 that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop J. Peter Sartain bishop of the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. For the past six years, Bishop Sartain has served as bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses the entire state or Arkansas.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Bishop Sartain was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Memphis on July 15, 1978. He served in various pastoral and administrative capacities within the Memphis diocese until his appointment as bishop of Little Rock in January of 2000. He was ordained and installed as Little Rock’s sixth bishop on March 6, 2000, succeeding Bishop Andrew J. McDonald.

In his new appointment, Bishop Sartain succeeds Bishop Joseph L. Imesch, who has served as bishop of Joliet for 27 years. He will be installed as Joliet’s fourth bishop on June 27 in the Cathedral church of St. Raymond, with His Eminence Francis Cardinal George of Chicago presiding over the installation liturgy. One of six Catholic dioceses in Illinois, Joliet has a Catholic population of more than 630,000 in seven counties. This compares to the approximately 107,000 Catholics in Arkansas.

Reflecting on his appointment to the Diocese of Joliet, Bishop Sartain said, “I did not anticipate this appointment, but I have accepted it with trust in God’s ways and God’s wisdom, and I know that just as he has blessed me during my time in Arkansas, so will he bless me now in Illinois. I ask for your kind prayers, that I will be a generous and wise servant of the Church of Joliet. It has been a privilege and a joy to serve the Diocese of Little Rock, and I will always miss the clergy and parishioners here.”

Read Bishop Sartain’s statement here
Photo: Diocese of Little Rock

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