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Pope names Washington priest as auxiliary bishop of Seattle archdiocese

A man in white, light blue and gold priest vestments.
Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Seattle
The Rev. Frank Schuster

The Rev. Frank Schuster, who has been a priest in the Archdiocese of Seattle since 1999, has been named an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese by Pope Francis.

Schuster, 50, currently serves as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Federal Way.

“I am very grateful to the Holy Father for trusting me in this way,” Schuster said. “I’m also especially grateful to Archbishop Etienne for his support of me. I am enthusiastic to do what he needs me to do as his auxiliary.”

Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne had requested from the Vatican an auxiliary bishop after auxiliary Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg was appointed to lead the Archbishop of Reno. The Seattle archdiocese spans all of western Washington, from the Canadian border to the border with Oregon, and serves 600,000 Catholics.

“It is truly a blessing to have Father Frank Schuster appointed to this auxiliary role,” Etienne said in a statement. “His love for Jesus and joy for the priesthood is expressed through his love of service and enthusiasm for the Gospel. As an auxiliary bishop, he will join Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, and together, as shepherds, they will extend the ministry of our Lord Jesus accompanying people in their faith life. He will join in this season’s confirmations, attend deanery events, celebrate with the faithful, and be a partner for the Gospel out in the field. As such, I intend to keep him with his parish community so that he may continue to be one with the people.”

Schuster is a Washington native. He was born in Mount Vernon to John and Virginia Schuster. His family moved to Maple Valley when he was 6, and he graduated from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien. His father served as that school’s principal for more than 20 years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington. Schuster says he spent much of his time at the university’s Catholic Newman Center as a peer minister.

Schuster then attended Mundelein Seminary in Illinois, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology and a Master of Divinity.

He was ordained a priest in Seattle on June 12, 1999.

“I love being a priest. I’m just happy to be of service,” Schuster said. “It’s about going to the hospital when someone calls you. It’s about being there for people when they’re down. Having time to be able to sit down with someone who’s homeless. … Our lives should always point to Jesus.”

Schuster will continue as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul parish.

“I thank God for having been assigned to such an amazing parish,” he said in a statement on the church’s website. “I ask that you please pray for me as I make this transition in my life from priest to bishop.”

Schuster also shared a statement in video format expressing his thoughts and feelings about his new role.

Schuster’s previous pastoral assignments in the Archdiocese of Seattle:

  • 1999–2000: Parochial vicar, Church of the Assumption and Sacred Heart Church, Bellingham
  • 2000–2003: Chaplain, Catholic Campus Ministry, Western Washington University, Bellingham
  • 2001–2003: Pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Bellingham
  • 2003–2007: Pastor, Church of the Assumption, Bellingham
  • 2004–2007: Dean, Presbyteral Council member
  • 2006–2007: Pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Bellingham
  • 2006–2007: Chaplain, Catholic Campus Ministry, Western Washington University, Bellingham
  • 2007–2021: Pastor, St. Teresa of Calcutta Church, Woodinville
  • 2016–present: Director, Permanent Deacon Formation
  • 2021–present: Pastor, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Federal Way