The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls on Friday 20 January as part of the Ad Limina visit- the first such visit to take place in ten years.
Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly has traveled to Rome for a ten day pilgrimage where members of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference will undertake their Ad Limina Apostolorum visit or “to the threshold of the Apostles” – a reference to the pilgrimage to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul that all bishops are required to make.
The Ad Limina Apostolorum, which will be Archbishop Kierans first, normally occurs every five years and its purpose is to strengthen the bishops’ communion with the universal Church and with the successor of Saint Peter, Pope Francis. However, there was no Ad Limina visit five years ago, so this is the first such pilgrimage in ten years. Also attending will be recently ordained Bishop of Killaloe, Bishop Fintan Monahan, and Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, both of whom administer parishes in The Premier County.
Prior to the Ad Limina visit the three Tipperary diocesan bishop submitted a report on their diocese to the Holy See. The report from each diocese described the actual situation of the Church in that diocese (overview of the present situation, facts and figures) for which the diocesan bishop is responsible, its challenges, its relations with non-Catholic and non-Christian religious communities, with civil society and with the public authorities. These reports have been forwarded to the Holy See in advance in order that it can be studied, synthesised and a summary presented to the Pope. This allows the Holy Father to acquaint himself with the situation of each diocese prior to meeting with the bishops.
Archbishop Kieran will have the privilege of Celebrating Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls on Friday next 20 January at 4.30pm. On the same day the bishops will collectively have an audience with Pope Francis. The President of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin, will make a reply on behalf of the bishops.
The bishops’ visit which combines prayer including at the tombs of the apostles, a series of meetings that with the staff of the various diacasteries (departments) of the Roman Curia in the Holy See to share their pastoral experience, and a meeting with the Holy Father.
There are 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland and all serving bishops – or a diocesan administrator if the diocese is currently not being led by a bishop - will be taking part in this pilgrimage. During the visit the bishops will meet with the relevant staff of the various dicasteries of the Curia. The dicasteries have special significance and importance because of the close connection that exists between them and the Pope in his mission of leadership in the universal Church. Bishops will discuss the situation of the Church in Ireland at this time, make known pastoral initiatives, to discuss specific issues of concern, ask questions, seek information, and furnish clarifications.
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