Posted on 19 January 2017
The term Ad Limina Apostolorum means “to the threshold of the Apostles” and refers to the pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul which the bishops make as part of their visit to Rome.
The Ad Limina 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.
Prior to their visit to Rome each Diocese prepares an extensive report on the state of their Diocese. This report contains an overview of the Diocesan situation as well as statistics in relation to things like Parishes, Churches and schools and so on. It also looks at questions such as how the Church in a particular area relates to the world and times in which it finds itself. It identifies strengths and challenges and how the lived faith responds to the world around it. This report is studied, analysed and a summary presented to the Pope. This allows the Pope to acquaint himself with the situation of each diocese prior to meeting with the bishops.
The Bishops have many meetings with those who work in the various departments in the Holy See. At these meetings the Bishops have the opportunity to discuss areas of mutual concern as well as exploring pastoral initiatives and the ways in which the Holy See can assist the Church at local level.
During the Ad Limina visit the Bishops celebrate Mass in the four Patriarchal Basilicas, namely: St. Peters, St. John Lateran, St. Paul outside the walls and St. Mary Major.
As part of their ten-day Ad Limina visit Irish bishops will be meeting the Holy Father Pope Francis in the Vatican tomorrow morning Friday, 20 January.