Archbishop Robert J. Carlson is in Rome this week for his second “ad limina” visit as archbishop of St. Louis.
The archbishop will be meeting at the Vatican along with bishops from Region IX — Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska — as part of their required every fifth-year visit with the Holy Father to present what is essentially a state of the archdiocese report.
Traveling with the archbishop on the Jan. 13-17 visit are Bishop Mark S. Rivituso and Father Zachary Povis.
The ad limina is formally known as the “quinquennial visit ad limina apostolorum” and refers to the obligation of diocesan bishops to visit every five years with the pope to report on the state of their dioceses. During the visit, each bishop also venerates the thresholds of the tombs of the apostles Sts. Peter and Paul.
As outlined in nos. 399-400 of Canon Law, the Quinquennial Report serves as a means of promoting the relationship of communion between particular Churches and the Roman Pontiff. The preparation of the report is considered a time for reflection on the current state of the diocese and pastoral planning for the future.
The report is sent to the Holy Father months in advance of the visit to prepare for his personal and pastoral meeting with each bishop. A copy of the report also is dissected and sent to the various dicasteries, or departments, of the Roman Curia.
One of the first documented “ad limina” visits goes back to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1:18): “Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas (Peter), and stayed with him 15 days.”
The dioceses included in Region IX are Dubuque, Davenport, Des Moines, Dodge City and Sioux City, Iowa; Kansas City, Salina and Wichita, Kan.; Omaha, Grand Island and Lincoln, Neb.; and St. Louis, Jefferson City, Kansas City-St. Joseph and Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo.
The archdiocesan ad limina report was compiled by members of the curia staff and reviews aspects of the life of the archdiocese including education, the laity, clergy, vocations, communications, health care, evangelization, social justice, catechesis.
Bishops say ‘ad limina’ strengthens bond with pope
VATICAN CITY — Inspiring “missionary disciples” rather than
Church-maintenance workers and building up the unity of the Church in a
polarized world were some of the topics on the table when 26 U.S.
bishops met Pope Francis Dec. 12.
The bishops of Illinois, Indiana
and Wisconsin spent “two hours and 18 minutes” conversing with him,
said Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee.
“Here’s one of
the most important figures in the world and he gives us two hours and 18
minutes,” the archbishop said. “That says a lot about his pastor’s
heart, about his generosity, about the fact that he likes being with
bishops and talking about the things that matter to the Church.”
bishop was free to ask questions or talk about his diocese, said Bishop
Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana. The pope “would
respond with his observations or his counsel, his experiences — that was
very neat because he would share his experiences as bishop or other
experiences back home in Argentina.”
“I feel a strengthened bond
with the Holy Father,” Bishop Rhoades said, especially after “feeling
that care that he has for us. It’s genuine. There was a real sense of
solidarity or communion.”
Archbishop Listecki said the “ad limina”
visit gives bishops an opportunity to dialogue with the pope,
“understand and affirm him in so many things he has done” and to ask for
clarification of things that may be unclear.
The pope’s teaching
during the meeting, he said, “was peppered with his personal experience”
as a priest and bishop, so the bishops heard not only what the pope
thinks but “what is driving his understanding” of various situations.
Francis repeatedly told the bishops, “primo” or first, is prayer,
Archbishop Listecki said. On their “ad limina” visits to Rome, the
bishops celebrated Mass at the Basilicas of St. Peter, St. Paul Outside
the Walls, St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran.
Like any Catholic
who makes a pilgrimage to the four basilicas, the bishops can receive a
plenary indulgence if they recite the Creed, pray for the intentions of
the pope, go to confession and receive the Eucharist. “I’m counting on
that — wiping away those sins,” Archbishop Listecki said.
— Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service