The Visit of the Archbishop:


An extraordinary event

Fort Kent residents and friends of the University of Maine at Fort Kent may forget the date but the event will live on for many, many years to come.

For who could forget that cold February day when the Pope's personal ambassador to the United States visited the St. John Valley on a two-fold mission to bless a people and to honor a University which had lived and taught those people for 100 years.

The event was the Pontifical Mass of Thanksgiving of which the Archbishop Jean Jadot was the principal celebrant, and Academic Convocation address which the Archbishop delivered in French.

Diocesan officials lauded the event as "extraordinary and a momentous occasion in the life of the Church in Maine."

And it was that and more for a community and its college.

Fewer scenes of as much pomp, dignity and reverence have occurred in the past century in the Valley as the procession of priests, professors, bishops and the Archbishop toward the altar which had been arranged in the UMFK gymnasium - - the only building large enough to hold the faithful which had gathered to witness the event.

Over 1,000 people gathered at the University to participate in the celebration of the Mass of Thanksgiving.

Bishop Edward C. O'Leary and Auxiliary Bishop Emedee Proulx, of the Diocese of Portland, and Bishop Fernand Lacroix of the Diocese of Edmundston, co-celebrated the Mass.

Sitting among the people were state officials which included the Governor James Longley, University of Maine Chancellor Patrick Carfhy, the president of the Maine Senate, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives and other state, local and University officials, too numerous fo mention.

The Archbishop's address called for the very best efforts of mankind to feel the responsibility of the right of education for all the world's people.

It was an extraordinary event. Mrs. Lucille Pelletier of the UMFK staff spent hundreds of hours in planning the occasion with UMFK president Richard Spath.

It was a momentous day- - meaningful for a Valley and its people and for a University and ifs century of life.

Over the next five pages we hope some of the moments may come to life again for you as you look over a few of the hundreds of photographs which now commemorate the event and lock it within local history forever.