Every five years (or so) a bishop travels to Rome to be renewed in the ministry that he shares as a successor to the apostles. The Latin phrase for this visit is ad limina apostolorum – meaning, a visit to the threshold (of the tombs) of the Apostles, Peter and Paul.
The highlight of the trip is a visit with the Holy Father (successor to Peter) to report on the state of the church in the local arch/diocese. There are also visits to the many other congregations (offices) that relate to the various aspects of the life of the church.
My first and only other ad limina visit was in 2012, at which time Benedict XVI was Pope. I am very excited for our Region XII bishops to visit with Pope Francis tomorrow (Monday) morning!
As I pray this afternoon here in Rome, I am very mindful of the nature of this trip, which is meant to be very much that of a pilgrimage. The other reality that is very much on my heart is that I do not make this visit on my own, or necessarily for my own good, but rather, the people of the entire Archdiocese of Seattle are with me, in heart and in prayer.
I was very humbled before leaving to receive a letter from a older woman, who was quite insistent that the bishops of our region bring to our visit with Pope Francis the things that were on her mind, as well as the minds of so many of the people of God who are the church. Point well taken! The rest of today will be spent prayerfully meditating on my first eight months in Seattle, seeking the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to lead all of us in our conversation with Pope Francis and the many others we will visit with this week.
Four days this week, the Region XII bishops (Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) will celebrate Mass at one of the four major basilicas. We begin in the morning at the tomb of St. Peter, and end on Friday afternoon at the tomb of St. Paul.
Please join me in prayer, and in spirit, as we make our way through this ad limina visit this week!