Australian bishops set for ad limina visit to Rome
The bishops are preparing to leave for Rome for their five-yearly ad limina Apostolorum visit, which is designed to "celebrate and strengthen their communion with the universal Church and the Successor of Peter, Pope John Paul II".
All bishops charged with the leadership of a diocese are required to make an ad limina visit every five years. It is an important spiritual pilgrimage and a reminder of a local bishop's wider role, in communion with the bishops of the world.
36 of Australia's 44 bishops will undertake the ad limina visit from 14 to 28 March. The visit involves reporting to the Pope on the pastoral situation in Australia and visit the tombs of Sts Peter and Paul, pastors and pillars of the Roman Church.
Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra-Goulburn said the pilgrimage and the veneration of the tombs express "the unity of the Church founded by the Lord on the Apostles and built upon blessed Peter their head, with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone, together with his Gospel of salvation for all people."
The visit is also seen as an important part of the Holy Father's pastoral ministry, as he receives the bishops with whom he exercises pastoral ministry and listens and talks with them about their mission in their diocese.
Archbishop Carroll said he and his fellow bishops would be seeking the prayers of those in their diocesan community as they undertook the ad limina pilgrimage.
"We wish for all Catholics, through prayer and solidarity, to feel a part of the ad limina visit, which confirms and celebrates that which we profess each week when we express our belief in the 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church'," Archbishop Carroll said.
"Our faith was handed down to us from Jesus by the apostles and as bishops we are charged with the enormous responsibility of continuing that tradition. The ad limina visit is an important physical and spiritual milestone in the carrying out of that ministry."
While in Rome, the bishops will also make a pilgrimage to Assisi, undertake a day of reflection at Castelgandolfo and visit 27 various Vatican organisations.
Bishops embark on ad limina visit to Rome
Bishops embark on ad limina visit to Rome (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 5/3/04)
The very best place to pray (Catholic Voice December 2003)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference | Bishops List
Vatican and Australian Bishops Issue Joint Declaration on Key Faith Issues | Holy Father's Ad Limina Address to Australian Bishops (14/12/98) | Statement of Conclusions for Meeting of Australian Bishops and the Prefects and Secretaries of Six Dicasteries of the Roman Curia
8 Mar 2004