The Vatican today named the Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, an auxiliary bishop in the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese, as seventh bishop of the Diocese of Yakima.

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The Vatican today named the Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, an auxiliary bishop in the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese, as seventh bishop of the Diocese of Yakima.

As such, Tyson will lead the Central Washington diocese that serves some 80,000 Catholics in seven counties.

Tyson succeeds the retiring Yakima Bishop Carlos Sevilla, who turned 75 last August, and as required by the Vatican upon reaching that age, submitted a resignation letter.

Tyson is expected to be formally introduced at a press conference at Holy Family Parish in Yakima later this morning. He will be installed as bishop on May 31, according to a news release issued by the Yakima Diocese.

Tyson’s appointment completes a complete turnover in leadership at the very top of the Catholic Church hierarchy in Washington state.

Last June, the Vatican appointed the Most Rev. Blase Cupich, former bishop of Rapid City, S.D., as bishop of the Spokane Diocese, which covers Eastern Washington.

In September, the Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, former bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., was appointed Seattle Archbishop, which covers Western Washington.

Sartain said in a statement issued this morning that “Bishop Tyson’s appointment is a mixed blessing because he will be missed. …I have enjoyed working with him and have grown to appreciate his intelligence and skill, the qualities that will enable him to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of the Yakima Diocese.”

Tyson is one of Seattle’s two auxiliary bishops, appointed by the Vatican in 2005 to assist the Seattle Archbishop in his duties.

Tyson speaks Spanish – having learned it in seminary – and has started a Spanish Mass at every parish where he has served. That language skill is expected to be very valuable in a diocese with a majority of Hispanic Catholics.

He also speaks Spanish, German, Serbo-Croatian and some Vietnamese.

He was born in Moses Lake and grew up in Seattle, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Washington. He received his masters in divinity at the Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Tyson was ordained as priest in the Seattle Archdiocese in 1989, and as auxiliary bishop in June 2005.

He has served as parochial vicar at St. Louise Parish in Bellevue and St. James Cathedral in Seattle; and as pastor at St. Mary of the Valley Parish in Monroe, and at St. Edward, St. George and St. Paul parishes in South Seattle. He also served as vicar general and as interim superintendent of Catholic schools in the Seattle Archdiocese.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com.