BISHOPS OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND SOLOMON ISLANDS CONCLUDE “AD LIMINA VISIT”
VATICAN CITY: The “Ad Limina” visit by Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands bishops to the Vatican drew to a close over the weekend of the second week of May.
Picture: Pope Francis holds a carving from the Trobriand Islands presented to him by the Bishops of PNGSI
On Friday May 12, Pope Francis met with the bishops in the Papal Palace. The pontiff greeted the bishops individually and received gifts from them. The Holy Father in turn gave them gifts and a book titled ‘Do not be afraid’ which he wrote during the pandemic.
For an hour and thirty minutes, the Holy Father listened to the bishops of both countries. He expressed his closeness to the people as he dialogued with them about issues and concerns for the Church in both countries.
The visit has also a personal meaning because “each individual bishop meets the successor of Peter and talks to him face to face.”
“It is a moment I was looking forward to” expressed Bishop Siby Peedikayil of the Diocese of Aitape who had this Ad Limina Visit as his first.
For a week, from May 8 to May 13, the bishops were in Rome for the obligatory visit to the pope and gave him a report on the status of their dioceses covered by a five-year period.
In the “Pastor Bonus,” the 1988 Apostolic Constitution promulgated by St. John Paul II, it was explained that “Ad Limina” visits have a sacred meaning as expressed in the bishops’ “visit to the tombs of Peter and Paul.”
In addition, The bishops celebrated masses in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the pope’s church, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome where the Bishop of Rome presides
and Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore) the largest of the 26 churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The “Ad Limina” has a curial significance which is a “hallmark of the community, because the bishops enter into conversation with the moderators of the dicasteries, councils, and offices of the Roman Curia”.
The organizer of the Ad Limina Visit and the General Secretary of the Bishops Conference of PNG & SI Fr. Giorgio Licini, remarked of the visit, “Once every five years, bishops must make a pilgrimage to the tomb of their predecessors, the apostles, in Rome, and report to the Holy Father and meet with the Roman dicasteries.”
Picture: Pope Francis meets with the Bishops of CBC PNGSI including CBC PNGSI General Secretary Fr. Giorgio Licini PIME and CBC PNGSI Social Communications Secretary Sr. Daisy Anne Lisania Augustine MSC.