In August I replaced the headliner on my 97 GLX aswell.
Now I wasn't exactly sure what you were refering to, but
if I'm correct, its the plastic pull handle that looks like a long, thin vent and is used to slide the sunroof cover open & closed? I actually didn't replace the material on the sunroof cover, just the rest of the ceiling so I didn't even have to take that pull handle off. But judging by the way the rest of the headliner came out, theres got to be some trick to it without breaking anything.
Its a tedius job to get the headliner panel out without damaging anything and then to put it back in the same. The headliner panel that the material glues to is very thin and could easily be broken, so you gotta be careful. With all that said, it is very possible to do this job yourself, you just have to have patience and look for all the hidden screws and stuff that hold everything in place.
Sorry, your question is on the one thing I didn't do, but if you have any questions on anything else with the headliner.. I'll do my best to help!
By the way, just out of curiosity, are you just glueing new material on the old panel or are you pulling out a good headliner from a different car and doing it that way?
Try the fabric stores, JoAnn, Haancock, ect, I got the grey headliner material for $10/yard, it was just a little off the color from the sunroof, but looked good when finished and the price was right. Mine color is grey. Some trim shops will charge will charge $400 - $600 to do this.
to remove the sunroof sun visor (I think its called) you need to remove the sunroof glass (which is actually simple to do) then, you can remove the sliding cover. As it turns out my 95 passat is in serious need of a new headliner also. Check your Bentley book for the procedure for the sunroof removal and just be methodical. If the rubber gasket is leaking some then this is a perfect time to replace it. An expensive little booger though-dealer only here. Let us know how you do and good luck. Russell