S+L logo

S+L in Rome: Ad limina up close

February 28, 2009
 Nigerian bishops pray at tomb of St. Paul
Those who follow Pope Benedict XVI's daily meetings are well familiar with the ad limina visits. Indeed, regular readers of the Vatican Information Service know that, quite often, the Holy Father is meeting bishops on their quinquennial summons to Rome. (Lately, the pontiff's schedule has forced some episcopal conferences to wait seven years.)
As my arrival in Rome coincided with that of the Nigerian bishops for their ad limina, I've now learned more about these meetings than I ever could through the VIS.
Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-WallsThis past Sunday, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama invited me to film as he and his fellow bishops celebrated Mass at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls. As we were tightly packed in the small San Benedetto chapel of the basilica—not around one of the larger altars, as I had anticipated—one could sense the fraternity between the bishops, which no doubt had increased over the course of the month.
Immediately following the mass, the bishops knelt at the tomb believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul. As Archbishop Richard Burke of Benin had preached in his homily, praying at the respective tombs of Saints Peter and Paul is a requirement of the ad limina.
San Benedetto chapelWith great enthusiasm, Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha told me afterward that the bishops would be “going back home reborn in the Spirit.” It was notable how excitedly the bishops described this ad limina, even if they had made this trip numerous times before.
This was the visit, though, for Bishop Michael Odogwu Elue of the Issele-Uku diocese. The 52 year-old prelate described his stay as “an experience that stays with one indelibly and almost forever.”
For bishops who face challenging circumstances in their dioceses, the ad limina is an opportunity to regroup and receive the Pope's fatherly encouragement. Archbishop Kaigama related to me his discouragement upon witnessing Christian-Muslim riots in his Archdiocese of Jos this past November. Clearly frustrated, he explained how these hundreds of deaths occurred when, just weeks earlier, he had succeeded in assembling Christian and Muslim leaders for dialogue in the central mosque of Jos. In this report I filed for S+L partner H2Onews, you can hear the Archbishop share the consoling response of the Holy Father during their private meeting on February 16th.
Nigerian bishops celebrating Holy Mass

Related posts

Pope Francis and U2 frontman Bono sign an agreement between their two charities aimed to help educate children in need - and other stories. ...read more
"What I’m Reading" Wednesday: My Peace I Give You
FacebookTwitter
Read Allyson Kenny's review of Dawn Eden's book on using the example of the saints to find healing, not just for sexual abuse, but for all wounds. ...read more
55 people are still missing in the collapsed mine in the Philippines as a result of super-typhoon Mangkhut - and other stories. ...read more
Padre Pio's relics make a stop in Toronto - and other stories. ...read more
The Meaning of Christian Wisdom
FacebookTwitter
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – September 23rd, 2018 The picture of the righteous one in today’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom is based on the fourth Servant Song [ ...read more