English and Welsh bishops begin Ad Limina visit to Pope

 The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales today set off for Rome on a 10-day Ad Limina visit to Pope John Paul II and the Vatican. Around 35 bishops are taking part, and are to have personal audiences with the Pope and meet with him as a group. Meetings have been also arranged throughout the 10 days with the various Congregations and Pontifical Councils of the Vatican. And the Bishops will take part in the Masses and celebrations to mark the Pope's Silver Jubilee and the Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and Archbishop of Westminster, said: "I am delighted that the English and Welsh Bishops are making their regular five yearly visit to Rome at such an important time for the Catholic Church. "There is a real sense of joy and anticipation as we look forward to the Holy Father's Jubilee celebrations and the beatification of Mother Teresa - and a real sense of honour that all our Bishops are to be present in Rome for these historic events. "We will see the Church come together, from every corner of the world and in all its diversity, to praise God and thank Him for the faithful service of John Paul our Pope and Mother Teresa. It will be a remarkable and wonderful occasion." Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor added: "There is of course a lot of work to be done and the Ad Limina presents an important opportunity for the Holy Father to engage with the church here in England and Wales. "Pope John Paul II will meet with all the Bishops and provide guidance and encouragement for us all. We look forward to some important discussions on how we can continue to spread the Good News of Christ's Gospel and how we can reach out in new and more effective ways." Mgr Andrew Summersgill, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: "The Ad Limina has three parts to it. "The first is the personal meeting between the Bishops and the Pope. It is particularly pleasing to do this in the context of the Pope's Silver Jubilee. The second part is for the Bishops to pray together particularly at the tombs of St Peter and St Paul. They will be doing this during the first week of the visit. "The third part is an opportunity to meet with members of the Roman Curia to discuss matters of mutual interests concerning the Church in England and Wales. In the middle of the visit, the Bishops will be able to share in celebrations for World Mission Day, which is the day the Pope will beatify mother Teresa of Calcutta who several of the bishops have met personally." The Bishops will be meeting with the Congregations for Bishops, Catholic Education in Seminaries and Institutes of Study, the Doctrine of the Faith, Clergy, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Causes of Saints, Eastern Churches, Evangelisation of the Peoples, and for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. They are also to meet with the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Culture, Inter-Religious Dialogue, Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerants, Pastoral Care of Health Workers, Social Communications, Family, Laity, and for the Promotion of Christian Unity. All the serving Bishops of England and Wales are to take part in the Ad Limina visit including Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Archbishop of Westminster), Archbishop Patrick Kelly (Archbishop of Liverpool), Archbishop Michael Bowen (Archbishop of Southwark), Archbishop Peter Smith (Archbishop of Cardiff) and Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Birmingham). The Latin name "ad limina" is short for "ad limina Apostolorum" which means "to the threshold of the Apostles", used for centuries to describe the visit by a bishop to Rome to the shrines of St Peter and St Paul, when he makes a report about his diocese to the Holy See. Source: Catholic Communications Service

Share this story