Pope Francis named Juneau Bishop Andrew Bellisario as the temporary leader of the Anchorage Archdiocese until a new archbishop can be named to replace Archbishop Paul Etienne.
Archbishop Etienne was transferred from Anchorage to Seattle on June 7 as the coadjutor archbishop where he will eventually succeed Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain.
Bishop Bellisario will serve as the apostolic administrator of the Anchorage Archdiocese meaning he will carry out daily oversight of the archdiocese.
Bishop Bellisario is a member of the Congregation of the Mission (commonly known as the Vincentians) founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in 1625.
Born in Alhambra, Calif., near Los Angeles, Bishop Bellisario entered the congregation in 1975 and was ordained a priest on June 16, 1984. He has ministered as a parish priest in numerous parishes across California and served as dean of students at St. Vincent’s Minor Seminary at Montebello. He also served as director of the De Paul Evangelization Center at Montebello and as superior of the De Paul Center Residence there.
He was provincial superior of the Vincentians Province of the West from 2002 to 2010 and director of the Daughters of Charity at Los Altos from 2003 to 2015. He later served as the Superior of the international group of Vincentians in Anchorage to serve Latino Catholics in Alaska. From May of 2016 until October of 2017 he was pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Anchorage.
In 2017 Pope Francis appointed him to shepherd the Juneau Diocese. Archbishop Etienne ordained him as the bishop of Juneau on Oct. 10, 2017.
At the time, Archbishop Etienne called him a “wonderful priest and a great administrator.”
“Mostly, he is warm-hearted, and with his Vincentian missionary spirit, will be a fine new Bishop for Juneau,” he wrote in a blog post.
On the morning Bishop Bellisario took over temporary leadership of the Anchorage Archdiocese, Archbishop Etienne sent a letter informing local priests that Bishop Bellisario was now the apostolic administrator.
“Please be assured of my prayerful best wishes for each of you, Bishop Bellisario, and all the good people of the Archdiocese of Anchorage,” Archbishop Etienne wrote on June 7.
Archbishop Etienne served as archbishop of Anchorage from November 2016 until June 7 of this year when he was officially transferred to the Seattle Archdiocese as the coadjutor archbishop.
As coadjutor, Archbishop Etienne will assist Archbishop Peter Sartain, 67, for several months until he succeeds him upon his retirement.
Archbishop Sartain, who has suffered from severe spinal pain since 2012, requested that Pope Francis send him a coadjutor to eventually take his place upon his expected early retirement, likely within the next year.
Archbishop Etienne was welcomed into the Seattle Archdiocese during a rite of reception on June 7 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.