Sulpician Connections

On Tuesday March 20, 2012 Pope Benedict XVI named archbishops for two dioceses where the Sulpicians have strong historical roots, Baltimore and Montreal.

Most Rev. William LORI, Bishop of Bridgeport, will become the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore, the Premier See in the United States, on May 16, 2012. Originally a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, Bishop Lori served as auxiliary bishop in Washington before being named Bishop of Bridgeport. He also serves as Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and is the head of the new ad hoc Bishops Committee on Religious Liberty.

Archbishop-elect Lori and Fr. Witherup, at right

Archbishop-elect Lori will succeed His Eminence Cardinal Edwin F. O’BRIEN, who recently became Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

By happenstance, the Superior General of the Sulpicians, Ronald D. WITHERUP, p.s.s., was in Baltimore for canonical visitations when Archbishop-elect Lori’s appointment was announced. He thus joined the entire seminary community of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, led by the Rector, Father Thomas HURST, S.S., for a celebratory Mass at the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in downtown Baltimore, where Archbishop-elect Lori was introduced. St. Mary’s is the oldest Catholic seminary in the U.S., founded by the Sulpicians in 1791.

In Montreal, the Holy Father has named Christian LEPINE as the new Archbishop, succeeding His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Claude TURCOTTE, who has been archbishop there for twenty-two years. Archbishop-elect LEPINE is a Montreal native and has been an auxiliary bishop there since September, 2011. Ordained a priest in 1983, he has held numerous pastoral positions in the Archdiocese of Montreal and has served on the faculty of Le Grand Séminaire, the Sulpician seminary where he received his priestly formation.

Archbishop-elect Lépine and Cardinal Turcotte
The Society of Saint Sulpice has important historical connections in these two Archdioceses, having arrived in Montreal in 1657 and in Baltimore in 1791. The Sulpicians have always worked closely with bishops in the special ministry of priestly formation, and the Constitutions specify that the local diocesan bishop is the “first superior of the house” (Art. 142), following the custom established by Sulpician founder, Jean-Jacques OLIER.

The Society of Saint Sulpice sincerely thanks Cardinals Turcotte and O’Brien for their support and cooperation over the years of their episcopal ministries in their respective archdioceses. The Society equally expresses a sincere welcome to Archbishops-elect Lori and Lépine and pledges our support prayers as they prepare for their new duties. Ad multos annos!