An enduring friendship exists between the former Bishop of Duluth, Minnesota, and the Curator of Papal Artifacts, Father Richard Kunst. In January of 2001 Schnurr was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, which is Father Kunst’s diocese. Serving as the Vocation Director for Duluth is the basis for the great story included with this information.
Archbishop Schnurr is a benefactor to the Papal Artifacts’ Collection, and, as such, is greatly appreciated.
In 2008, Bishop Schnurr was called to the archdiocese of Cincinnati as their Coadjutor. On December 21, 2009, he became their archbishop. It is that anniversary we celebrate today.
One of the best stories on Papal Artifacts involves the procurement of Pope John Paul II’s chasuble from the closing Mass on August 15 of World Youth Day–an event then Monsignor Dennis Schnurr chaired. The following information is that story.
But it is just one of the ways Archbishop Schurr’s generosity to this Collection has been evident, and we thank him for his support and friendship to our Curator. May your assignment in Cincinnati continue to be blessed.
And may your friendship with our Curator continue to be a blessing to both of you.
Happy Anniversary to Our Former Bishop on his installation in 2009 as Archbishop of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dennis Schnurr was born in Sheldon, Iowa to Edward and Eleanor (née Jungers) Schnurr. One of six children, he has two brothers and three sisters. He attended Spalding Catholic High School in Granville before entering Loras College in Dubuque, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He later earned a Master’s degree in theology in 1974 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Schnurr was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frank Greteman on July 20, 1974 for the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa. He was an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Epiphany and at Blessed Sacrament Church until 1977, whence he began his graduate studies at the Catholic University of America, receiving a doctorate in canon law in 1980. He then served as Vice-Chancellor (1980–1981) and Chancellor (1981–1985) of the Diocese of Sioux City, as well as the diocesan finance officer (1980–1985), a judge on the diocesan tribunal (1980–1985), and secretary of the presbyteral council (1981–1985).
In 1985, Schnurr was assigned to the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.. He served as Associate General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference from 1989 to 1995; during his tenure, he supervised those departments dealing with education, domestic and international social policy, and communications. Schnurr organized the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, which was the only time the United States has hosted the event. He was raised to the rank of Prelate of Honor of His Holiness in 1993 as well, and elected general secretary of the NCCB/USCC in 1994.
A product of the NAC and Gregorian named to the Minnesota diocese in 2001, the Iowa-born archbishop first came to wide notice in two national-level assignments during his priesthood: first, his role as executive director for 1993’s World Youth Day in Denver, a year after which he was elevated to general secretary of the US bishops’ conference, where he served until the Duluth appointment. Prior to that, Schnurr — who had been chancellor of his home-diocese of Sioux City by his early 30s — was a local aide on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. He is also, for the second time, treasurer of the USCCB, a term that will end in 2019.
Archbishop Schnurr reported that the number of seminarians studying for Cincinnati is 54 and will likely exceed 60 next year, which is a cause for great joy, both for Cincinnati and for him.
The Diocese of Duluth extends its gratitude for the gift of his life to our local Church and wishes him all the best in the years to come in his present assignment.
Note: The music included here is also Archbishop Schnurr’s motto on his coat of arms: Seek the Face of the Lord. It is one of three songs commissioned for his Mass of Consecration as Bishop of Duluth, Minnesota, in April of 2001. John Vanella was the composer.
While it is not from his installation in Cincinnati, it remains dear to the people of Duluth in its beauty and memory.
The Chasuble Worn by Pope John Paul II at the Closing Mass of World Youth Day Denver
This is one of my favorite items, of course, the chasuble that John Paul II wore for World Youth Day Denver. The chasuble came as a gift from our former bishop, Dennis Schnurr, who is now the Archbishop of Cincinnati. He was the head of World Youth Day Denver 1993. Over 500,000 people attended this gathering. And at the end of a very well run program, Pope John Paul gave the chasuble to him as a gift. And when Archbishop Schnurr became the bishop of Duluth, MN, of course, being the big collector that I am, I got very envious, and I probably had to go to confession at that point!
But then he appointed me the Vocation Director, and he said, “Father Kunst, if you get 25 seminarians at one time in the diocese of Duluth, I’ll give it to you.”
And so I worked really hard to accomplish this, obviously for better reasons than the chasuble. But eventually we got 23–close, but not the 25. And then he gave it to me as a gift. And so it’s an incredibly wonderful item (and a wonderful story included below this commentary).
We can see on the front of the chasuble we have the letters of the Virgin Mary–A V., and on the back there is an actual image of his coat of arms. This was used on the feast of the Assumption, August 15, at the closing Mass at World Youth Day.
Pope John Paul II inspired so many in my generation to the priesthood, through his life as a priest and as our Holy Father. The item is unique both for me and for my co-host, Father Ryan Moravitz, because we both have such personal stories connected to it.
Father Moravitz helped to get a zucchetto of Pope Benedict XVI when he was studying at the North American College in Rome. The agreement that the two of us made was that if Father Moravitz could get a zucchetto of Benedict XVI for the Collection,
he could wear the chasuble of Pope John Paul II for his first Mass. And sure enough, Father Moravitz did get the zucchetto. So only Bishop Schnurr, the Holy Father and the two of us have worn the chasuble.
It is humbling to have worn this chasuble. Father Moravitz remembers Father Kunst putting the chasuble on him in the sacristy prior to his first Mass of Thanksgiving. “Just being able to celebrate Eucharist in that chasuble that our Holy Father used in the United States at such an historic event in our nation, with World Youth Day in Denver–it is just an awesome thing.”
The Catholic Digest right after the Pope died listed the top 10 events of the pontificate of John Paul II. And they listed World Youth Day in the top 10. So that’s pretty significant. And then for us to have this most important item associated with that event and with this great Pope, and to have been able to wear it, is such a wonderful thing.
Both of these priests were present at the beatification. Father Kunst said he always had it in his mind that the last time he would wear the chasuble would be in the event of John Paul’s beatification.
And it was!
The chasuble (the outermost garment worn by the priest during the Mass) has a Marian theme to it since it was worn on the feast of the Assumption of Mary, August 15. It is blue and gold and the Pope’s coat of arms adorns the back of the chasuble.
In Father Kunst’s estimation Pope John Paul II is the greatest pope in history. He wore this garment during what many say was one of the top ten most influential events of his pontificate. It is a second class relic worn by a man who will surely be canonized a saint.
The chasuble was a gift from Pope John Paul to (then) Msgr. Dennis Schnurr, the coordinator of World Youth Day, Denver. It is significant this is the only time the United States has ever hosted this event and it is a credit to Msgr. Schnurr that it was considered to be such a momentous event in his papacy.
The story of receiving Pope John Paul’s chasuble is probably the most poignant one of the entire collection. It was a gift to Father Kunst from Bishop Dennis Schnurr in October of 2004 on the occasion of the exhibit, The Vatican Comes to Duluth. This exhibit highlighted Father Kunst’s entire collection. He would agree that this chasuble is one of his favorite items. Receiving this as a gift on the occasion of the exhibit is a moment Father Kunst will never forget.
Msr. Dennis Schnurr became the bishop of Duluth, Minnesota in April of 2001. Father Kunst told him about his Vatican collection and although it was smaller at that time the bishop was very impressed with it. He showed Father the chasuble and, of course, Father wanted it.
Bishop Schnurr appointed Father Kunst the Vocation Director of the diocese. He wanted someone who exuded happiness about his vocation and found that in Father Kunst. Subsequently a running banter ensued between the two of them regarding the chasuble. The Bishop told Father Kunst that if he could get twenty-five seminarians at any one time he could have the chasuble for his collection.
This razzing between the two of them continued for years. Then came The Vatican Comes to Duluth, 2004. It was a fundraiser to support the education of seminarians from the Diocese of Duluth and it raised a significant amount of money over a period of just three days.
On October 29, 2004, the day the exhibit opened Bishop Schnurr treated the executive committee of the exhibit and Father Kunst to lunch at a beautiful location in Duluth, Minnesota, the Gitchee Gammi Club. While at lunch, unbeknownst to Father Kunst, but known to the committee, Bishop Schnurr handed Father an envelope with a letter stating that he was giving him Pope John Paul II’s chasuble.
It was a very moving experience for both bishop and priest.
Papal Artifacts gratefully acknowledges the donations of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinatti, Ohio, and formerly bishop of Duluth, Minnesota.
Papal Artifacts gratefully acknowledges the archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, for the use of their photo of Pope John Paul II and to the photographer, James Baca.