Pope Francis names Washington priest as an auxiliary bishop of Seattle

Father Frank Schuster, who was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle March 8, 2022. Father Frank Schuster, who was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle March 8, 2022. | Archdiocese of Seattle

Pope Francis on Tuesday named Father Frank Schuster as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Schuster, 50, will join fellow auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo and Seattle Archbishop Paul D. Etienne to serve more than a million Catholics in the western part of Washington state.

The auxiliary bishop-elect fills the place left by former Seattle auxiliary bishop Daniel Mueggenborg, who was appointed bishop of Reno, Nevada, in July 2021.

In a video message posted on his personal website on March 8, Schuster announced: “Hi gang, big news today. I can finally share with you that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed me to become the next auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Seattle.”

“With all my heart, I am grateful to Almighty God, to Pope Francis for his faith in me, and to Archbishop Etienne for his trust.”

Schuster’s consecration as a bishop will take place at St. James Cathedral, Seattle, on May 3.

He said he received a call from the papal nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre on Feb. 26 at 6:23 p.m. with the news of his appointment.

“After picking my jaw up from the floor, and offering a prayer of gratitude to Jesus on my knees, I started pacing around my room in profound wonder trying to process all of this,” he said.

Schuster has been director of the diocesan office for the formation of permanent deacons since 1995. In summer 2021, he became pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Federal Way.

According to Schuster, Etienne has asked him to continue as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul as an auxiliary bishop.

“Please keep me in your prayers as I make this transition in my life from priest to bishop. What this is teaching me again right now: with Jesus, all things are clearly possible. In everything, we place our faith and trust in him,” he said in his message.

Schuster was born in Mount Vernon, Washington, a small city north of Seattle, in 1971. After studying at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Seattle in 1999.

He has served as a vice pastor and pastor at various Seattle parishes. He was also a university chaplain at Western Washington University for four years.

From 2007 to 2021, Schuster was pastor of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Woodinville, where he oversaw the Catholic parish’s project to fund a church building for an orphanage in Nyumbani Village in Kenya.

“There’s a lot of hope in that village,” Schuster told Northwest Catholic, the Seattle archdiocese’s newspaper, in 2020.

The parish raised $200,000 from more than 300 donors for the construction of Mary, Mother of Christ Church, which was completed in December 2019.

Schuster traveled to Kenya with a group of parishioners in January 2020 to meet the children and other members of the Nyumbani Village community, which the parish supports.

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The priest also brought to Kenya rosaries made by members of the parish’s Rosary Makers group, which was inspired by a group called Our Lady’s Rosary Makers, which was highlighted on an EWTN program.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Schuster stayed busy sharing video messages on Instagram and reaching out to parishioners through phone calls, emails, and Zoom gatherings.

He told Northwest Catholic in June 2020 that he missed celebrating Mass in a full church during the lockdowns.

“I miss baptisms. I miss weddings. I miss the laughter and joy. What do I miss most about ordinary parish life? Ordinary parish life!” Schuster said at the time.

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