Pope Benedict XVI coat of arms

To Our Venerable Brother
Marcel André J. GERVAIS
Archbishop of Ottawa

Since you will soon be celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of your episcopal ordination, we gladly send you this Letter, venerable Brother, so that we may be able to express our sincere appreciation and fraternal joy, congratulating you, not only for this event which honours you, but also for the pastoral ministry which you have exercised with zeal and efficacy throughout these twenty-five years.

After having completed your ecclesiastical studies, you were ordained to the priesthood in 1958. Immediately afterwards you went first to Rome for further studies, where you received a licentiate in Theology, from there you went to Jerusalem where you were awarded a licentiate in Sacred Scripture. Returning to Canada, you have taught these disciplines for many years to students preparing for sacred orders.

In 1980, our predecessor John Paul II, of happy memory, recognising your human qualities and Christian virtues, considered you worthy to be numbered among the Successors of the Apostles as Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese of London. Almost five years later, you were transferred to the diocesan See of Sault Ste-Marie; and then afterwards, in 1989, you were appointed Coadjutor of this same See of Ottawa, of which in the same year you became Metropolitan Archbishop. You have also been, from 1991 to 1993, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It is evident to us that, already admitted to the fullness of the priesthood, you have skilfully and diligently exercised your pastoral charge, and confronting numerous difficulties you have eagerly applied yourself for the spiritual welfare of souls.

It is therefore right and just that you give thanks to the Lord for the spiritual benefits which you have dispensed. We gladly associate ourselves with you in this act of thanksgiving. Finally, we ask the Lord to reward you abundantly for your merits.

May Christ, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, guard you through his grace throughout all your days and enrich you with his heavenly gifts. By this Letter, which expresses our affection to you, we willingly desire to extend to you, Venerable Brother, to the clergy, to the faithful of Ottawa, and to all who participate in the solemn celebrations in your honour, the Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, the nineteenth day of May in the year 2005, the first of our pontificate.