January 1995: What has happened? A few facts…  
On January 13 1995, Pope John Paul II removed Jacques Gaillot from the charge of the diocese of Evreux. He appointed him to Partenia, a diocese that disappeared under the sand of the Sahara desert since the 5th century. Jacques Gaillot took the challenge of this appointment. Partenia became a diocese without borders.  
The press release of Jacques Gaillot ( January 13 1995)
Cardinal Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, summoned me to be in Rome on January 121995 at 9:30 am.
The threats that were hanging over me for a while came into effect. I had met the deadline. I was told that I had been removed from my function as bishop and that the See of Evreux would be declared vacant starting tomorrow from noon onwards.
I was asked to hand in my resignation, which I thought I had good reasons to refuse.
Jacques Gaillot
Farewell homily: Evreux Cathedral, 22nd of January 1995  
I am happy to see in this assembly a so diverse variety of men and women. By your aspects, your so different talented gifts, you enlighten my life.
I thank all the elderly people and the sick that sent me the assurance of their prayers; I thank the children who made a drawing for me.
I thank the priests and the deacons of Evreux who helped me and offered their support.
I thank the bishops for their presence.
I thank those who have often sent me many words of encouragements and even up to the present days. These letters are on my desk like an overflowing stream.
What a gift to me, to be surrounded by all these testimonies arising from the bottom of your heart.
Cathédrale d'Evreux

When I came among you, twelve years ago, the assembly of Christians found enough room in the cathedral Church. Today as I am leaving you, the Cathedral is too small to house all those who have come from far away. A large crowd, made of believers or unbelievers, remain outside.
I thank also all those who do not believe, for having come.
The critical alertness of non-believers is vital: it keeps awake the evangelical consciousness of Christians.

Let us rejoice at the diversity of our assembly. We need each other to live in a creative way.  Here we gather together to open the book of Life.
The Word of God is the light of our life. The Word heals and frees the heart of those who have been hurt. Let us not store hate or violence in ourselves; our heart is not meant to hate.

When earthquakes hit Japan, when people tear each other apart in Chechnya, when young folk are without work and wander with anger at night in the inner cities, this is sufficient for the distress of God. Do not cry; do not wear garments for mourning. This day is a day of feast and joy. The flood of trust and solidarity that has surged among the most diverse people has become a sign of hope. What has happened shows the deep aspirations that are latent in society as well as in the Church: a cry for freedom of speech, for the right to be different, for every one to be respected, for democracy. These are values that many ask for and expect; very often, people in charge act and decide without taking any notice of people. Paul the Apostle invites each one of us to take his share of responsibilities.  
The body of Christ is the people of God, here, in Evreux and everywhere in the world. It is made of all the believers, of all the communities coming from afar to be here and now the people of God gathered for the Eucharist, to give thanks. The body of Christ, the people of God is a whole that must not be broken, neither by people, neither here, nor there. Jesus tells us, "Be one that the world may believe that you have sent me". (John 17 v.21.)  
The body of Christ does not yet fully exist as long as there are walls between people, and furthermore, between Christians, as long as all those "who have been quenched by the One Spirit" will not be truly acknowledged in a brotherly love by their brethren. The body of Christ, the people of God, which you are presently, is a place of compassion and sharing. When someone suffers, all the members share that suffering, if someone is honored, all share his/her joy.
All who are present give the people of God a future. You are the body of Christ. Each one has his/her share in it as members of his body. Each of us, wherever we are, whoever we are, is responsible. And this responsibility of the people of God has a name: mission. The Gospel according to Luke reminds us that this is the mission of Christ himself and it comes from God.
This mission belongs to everybody. No one may monopolize it as if he/she were the owner. Each baptized Christian bears the responsibility of it, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
This mission has not changed since the days of Jesus when he outlined it once for all, quoting the prophecy of Isaiah:  
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me
He sent me to preach the Good News to the poor
He sent me to tell prisoners that they are free
He sent me to tell the blind that they will see light
He sent me to bring freedom to the downtrodden and proclaim the Lord's year of favor.
Today this passage of the Scripture sees its fulfillment, as you sit listening. It is fulfilled when we proclaim it in the present tense and in the plural form. The Lord sends us - you and I - on different paths that are and will be ours. Today the Lord sends us everywhere to meet women and men to proclaim the same good tidings of happiness.  
That I have lived here, with you, in the diocese of Evreux, that I have lived elsewhere under all kind of circumstances and opportunities, clearly shows me that these words of Christ are the only way to the mission. Any Christian, any community, any Church who does not follow first and foremost the paths of people's distress, has no chance of being heard as a carrier of the Good News. That any woman or man, any community, any Church who does not become first and foremost a friend for everybody, will not be able to find the path of their heart, the secret place where the Good News can be welcomed.  
As far as I am concerned, in communion with the Church, I will pursue my way, bringing the Good News to the poor. The Gospel is a message of freedom and love. To proclaim God, today, is to fight for the people's freedom whoever they are. The freedom to become a true human being means also to be able to live in sympathy with others, especially to be the voice of the voiceless. The body of Christ is not achieved; it is being built. Let us give it a future, each one in our own way, with respect for the others, with a liberty of conscience and of speech, with an opening to the world that in its turn looks for paths to its future. Each one of us is a small cell: necessary for its life. When it feels hurt, bashed, excluded, it is the whole body that suffers. Let us accompany it with brotherly love, without fear, on these ways, which are often new, and disturbing for us; but so fascinating and carriers of hope. Mission goes on. It has not yet met its end. Let us give it a future, each one according to his/her call, according to events, each one according to his/her gifts.  
A mission that becomes more and more friendly; a mission more faithfully committed to caring for the one Jesus welcomed as a priority: the smallest one among his own.  
Jesus is the poor, the excluded in whom we find ourselves. Paradoxically, it is in him that the future finds an opening, in whom Hope is rooted. The Church must be the Church of those who are excluded and not a Church that excludes. Christ has known this path in his flesh:
The path of dereliction, of unfair condemnation, of exclusion.
The path of resurrection where the gates of Hope opened wide on the world, for times of joy, of tenderness, of possible peace, for Hope never vanquished.
Cette vague de confiance et de solidarité qui s'est formée aujourd'hui ne doit pas retomber.  
That flood of trust and solidarity that started today must not fall back.
We must not stay with our arms folded.
When people start expressing their thoughts, new ways open.
New initiatives are taken.
When people start expressing their thoughts, there is no more fear, no more dread but new energies are deployed everywhere.