All Bishops in the world (about 5000 in number) are expected to make a pilgrimage to Rome, every five years. This week, Bishop Richard Grecco along with nine fellow bishops from Atlantic Canada, have journeyed to Rome and the Vatican.
“I have had meetings with Saint Pope John Paul II and with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI”, commented Bishop Grecco. “I am looking forward to meeting with Pope Francis in mid-March and sharing this journey with my brother Bishops.”
Called “ad limina” because Bishops arrive from all reaches of the globe, these visits have a threefold purpose. First, the spiritual component draws Bishops to pray and celebrate Mass at the Basilicas of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran.
Second, the highlight of the visit is to meet face-to-face with the “Successor of Peter”, Pope Francis. This proximity of the Bishop of Rome with all Bishops affirms the Apostolic Tradition of the Primacy of Peter among the Bishops; allows some exchange of concerns in the Church and provides an opportunity to celebrate together.
Finally, the Bishops will take the week to meet with the various Pontifical Congregations and Councils, to obtain and exchange information with them.
“The history of such meetings goes back to early Christian times”, stated Bishop Grecco. “We see in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians where he went to Jerusalem for fourteen days to meet with Peter to discuss his evangelization efforts. Similarly, many years later, Paul returned to Rome to consult once again with Peter, the “head of the Church”, as appointed by Christ”.
Prior to the visit, a detailed report (a quinquennial report) is prepared highlighting the organization, activities, achievements, and challenges of each diocese. In October of last year this report, profiling the five year period of 2010-2015 was completed and forwarded to Rome. In this way the discussions with the Pope and the various Congregations and Councils are informed and constructive.
“Ultimately these visits foster ecclesial communion. By the various meetings throughout the visit, unity and solidarity in the faith and in the mission of the Church are promoted. I hope that our ad limina visits will serve as a reminder of the universal face of the Church,” stated Bishop Grecco.
For an overview of some of the activities and responsibilities of the Roman Congregations and Councils that the Atlantic Bishops will be visiting check out this Wikipedia article:
For further information about Bishop’s Grecco visit to Rome and the Vatican please contact the Diocese of Charlottetown at 1-902-368-8005 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org