Today Archbishop George travels to the Eternal City (Rome) with the Bishops’ of England and Wales for the ‘Ad Limina Apostolorum’; literally “To the threshold of the Apostles”. Every five years or so, the bishops of a particular country are required to visit Rome, to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, to meet with the Pope, the successor of the Apostle Peter, and share with him information about the Church in their own country and in each diocese.
The visit is a spiritual journey as well as an administrative exercise. The meeting with the Pope is an exercise of the apostolic ministry.
“Never the eleven without Peter. Never Peter without the eleven”.
This encounter serves to consolidate the unity which exists between the bishop of Rome and, in our own case, the bishop of Cardiff. We are members of the universal communion which is the Catholic Church.
The communication which takes place is a twofold movement. On the one hand there is convergence to the centre and visible foundation of our unity which, in the commitment and personal responsibility of each bishop and with the spirit of collegiality is expressed in the Bishops’ Conference of a particular country. In addition, the gift of authority and service given to the Pope expressed unity of faith and missionary outreach to the whole Church.
As well as the spiritual aspect of this pilgrimage, the very practical expression of the Ad Limina visit is to meet with the various departments of the Church and report on the areas of responsibility which they hold on behalf of the Holy Father. Hence, visits to the various Congregations (department) of the Vatican are also built into the program. Congregations for Divine Worship, the laity, Christian Unity, the Clergy, Education are just some of the Congregations where these meetings are held.
Whilst in Rome, the Archbishop will take the opportunity to pray for the clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Cardiff during Mass at the tomb of the Apostle Peter and again at the tomb of the Apostle Paul in the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls. He will commend us to the prayers of Pope Francis during the two hour audience the bishops will have with the Holy Father on Thursday 27th September.
Please keep Archbishop George and all the Bishops of England & Wales in your prayers at this time. The Ad Lima visit concludes on Sunday 30th September.