And so ends my first ad limina apostolorum. Much to my surprise and delight, these many meetings were not so much another experience of administration, but they truly focused on the pastoral dimension of our Apostolic Ministry as Bishops.

Almost every one of the Dicastery meetings gave us a reflection and challenge on how our ministry is to be a proclamation of Jesus Christ to those we serve and all we encounter.  We have been inspired and strengthened to help our people and our culture encounter Christ and assimilate the faith into every aspect of human life.  There is much now for me to take to prayer as I continue to preach the Gospel which Christ, through His Church has entrusted to me.

Procession; Mass at tomb of Blessed John Paul II, St. Peter's Basilica. (My, those bishops move fast!)

 The greatest means by which Christ incorporates us into His own risen, new, and eternal life, is through the Sacraments of the Church.  What a grace we have to be able to celebrate the Eucharist every day, every week.  Our Catholic, Christian life is a participation in the Paschal Mystery, the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord.  The Eucharist is a participation in the presence of the Risen Lord in our midst, and a great strength for us to live always in intimate communion with Christ.

 After Mass at St. Peter’s we had an informative meeting with Cardinal Koch at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Cardinal Koch greeting Archbishop Sheehan and other region bishops.

 Once this, and our final Dicastery meeting was complete, we returned to the College for one more wardrobe change to prepare for a second audience with the Holy Father.  The 4th Discourse to the American Bishops delivered this morning was on the topic of Catholic Education.

Bishops in the Consistory Hall in anticipation of audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

 Last, but not least, a crowd pleas-er.  As you know, the Swiss Guard, the oldest, continuously existing ‘military’ are omnipresent throughout the Vatican.  Their Michael Angelo uniform is very distinctive, as is their service to the Holy Father.

Swiss Guard in the Apostolic Palace.

 As I now prepare to enjoy my final hours in Rome, please know of my gratitude for all of your prayers.  These have been grace-filled days, and I’m sure that the Holy Spirit will continue to inflame the faith of our local Church in the State of Wyoming, as well as the Universal Church.

If you have enjoyed these past few blog entries, you may wish to follow the mother of all episcopal blogs in the days ahead.  My friend, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida landed a few hours ago and will be making his ad limina with Region XIV.  His reflections will no doubt be informative and entertaining. 

Once I have received the official photos of the audiences with the Holy Father, I will post them.  Sunday, I will be ‘off the air’ as I will be ‘in the air’ most of the day.  Peace and blessings to all of you!


Our Lady of Humility, Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us!