John Paul II: Wearing Chasuble
Blessed John Paul II: The Chasuble Worn by the Pope For the Closing Mass of World Youth Day, Denver, 1993
Popes/Saints/Individuals: Blessed John Paul II
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.