Eric Scheidler receives the blessing of Bishop Sartain at a Mass for Life in September 2007 [Photo by Roger Earl]
Yesterday it was announced that the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, had been appointed to head the Archdiocese of Seattle.
I greeted this news with mixed feelings. While I was pleased to hear that such a fine bishop was being elevated to a higher post, I was also sorry to learn that Bishop Sartain, a strong advocate for life, would be leaving the area.
An important focus of mine over the past three years has been leading the opposition to the massive Planned Parenthood “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, Illinois, which is geographically located within the Joliet Diocese. Bishop Sartain came out with a statement against Planned Parenthood early on in the fight.
I had the good fortune to meet Bishop Sartain and receive his blessing at a special Mass for Life at Our Lady of Mercy parish, only a few blocks from Planned Parenthood. Over the past three years, Our Lady of Mercy has been a tremendous resource, as have several other parishes of the diocese.
Today I wrote to Bishop Sartain to congratulate him on his new appointment and thank him for his pro-life leadership. My letter follows below:
September 17, 2010
The Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Bishop of Joliet
Office of the Bishop
425 Summit Street
Joliet, Illinois 60435
I wish to congratulate you on your appointment as Archbishop of Seattle. I am grateful that the Holy Father has recognized in this way the faithfulness and leadership so evident to us who have seen you at work over the past four years.
Your tenure as Bishop of Joliet has breathed a new optimism into the diocese, especially within the pro-life community. Your appointment of Fr. Thomas Milota as Respect Life Coordinator was a key factor. It has been an honor to work with him, and I look forward to continuing that relationship under your successor.
The Diocese of Joliet has been a great blessing to my work as a pro-life activist, particularly in the ongoing pro-life campaign at Planned Parenthood Aurora. Several parishes—most notably Our Lady of Mercy in Aurora, Saints Peter and Paul in Naperville and Saint Mary Immaculate in Plainfield—have offered outstanding leadership and sacrifice in the fight.
Thank you for the strong pro-life message that you have presented during your years as Bishop of Joliet. You will be missed.
Please be assured of my prayers as you make the move to Seattle. The people of western Washington are blessed to be receiving such a kind and able shepherd.
Yours for Life,
Eric J. Scheidler
Pro-Life Action League