Cardinal Ouellet: Pope’s Envoy

On 13 April 2012, Sulpician Cardinal Marc OUELLET, PSS, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presided at the opening of a month-long pilgrimage celebration of the Holy Tunic (Seamless Robe) of Jesus, which is kept in the Cathedral of Trier, Germany. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI named Cardinal Ouellet as his personal envoy in early March.

During a recent visit to Rome for meetings with several Congregations of the Holy See, the Sulpician General Council and Provincials spent an evening at the Canadian Pontifical College, which is directed by the Canadian Province. Cardinal Ouellet was present among other dignitaries and recounted his moving experience in Trier. He said that he was very impressed with the relic itself, but even more importantly with the people’s faith. He expressed the hope that the pilgrimage would help promote unity in the Church, the Body of Christ.

Cardinal Ouellet with Sulpician Fathers B. Pitaud, R. D. Witherup, and J.-L. Rouillier in the Garden of the Canadian College

The tunic is reputed to be the garment Jesus wore to the site of his crucifixion, and which was divided up by the soldiers overseeing Jesus’ crucifixion. According to the Gospel of John, rather than tear the garment into pieces, the soldiers threw dice for it (see John 19:23-24). This image inspired the theme for the pilgrimage: Bring Together What has Been Divided.

Cardinal Ouellet and Father Jacques, D’Arcy, Provincial of Canada

The tunic was first exhibited at the Cathedral in Trier in 1512, at the request of the Emperor Maximlian I, and it is publicly displayed only on rare occasions, such as this year’s five hundredth anniversary. The last exhibition of the relic occurred in 1996.

In addition to Cardinal Ouellet’s presence and message at the opening of the pilgrimage, the Holy Father wrote a congratulatory letter to Mgr Stephan ACKERMANN, Bishop of Trier.

Father Ronald D. Witherup, Superior General, Presiding the Mass "ad limina" at the Tomb of Saint Peter, in the Chapel of Saint Clement