Irish bishops have been invited to undertake an Ad Limina visit to meet with Pope Francis in January 2017. All bishops charged with the leadership of a diocese are required to make their ‘Ad Limina’ visit to Rome, and this normally takes place every five years.
An Ad Limina pilgrimage is designed to celebrate and strengthen communion between bishops and their dioceses, with the Holy See and with the current successor of Peter, Pope Francis.
The January 2017 Ad Limina visit will combine prayer and pastoral planning with representatives of offices of the Roman Curia. The visit is known historically as the ‘Ad Limina Apostolorum’ meaning ‘to the threshold of the Apostles’ – a reference to the pilgrimage to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul that the bishops are required to make.
During their pilgrimage, bishops will celebrate Mass in the four basilicas of Rome: Saint Peter’s, Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran.
The last Ad Limina visit for Irish bishops took place in 2006 with Pope Benedict.