Cardinal Wuerl and bishops gather in Rome for ad limina visit

Cardinal Wuerl celebrates Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter

January 16, 2012

“Today, our celebration is a visible sign of the communion of faith spread throughout the whole world and how it is anchored here in Rome, where Peter lives now, bearing the name Benedict XVI.”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with the bishops from the metropolitan provinces of Baltimore, Washington and the Archdiocese for the Military Services who were gathered in Rome for their ad limina visit.

Ad limina apostolorum translates to “threshold of the apostles,” and occurs every five years. It is a time for the bishops to report on the status of their dioceses to the Holy Father and also to pray at the tombs of St. Peter (St. Peter’s Basilica) and St. Paul (Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls).

“All of us have a special bond to Rome because Peter continues to live and exercise his ministry here,” said Cardinal Wuerl in his homily at the tomb of St. Peter. “…The ultimate bond of our communion and source of our unity is the Eucharist which we have come here to the tomb of Peter to celebrate.”

“In our celebration today, we recognize and we proclaim that because we are members of the Church in communion with Peter and his successors, we not only hear the Good News that Christ is risen, but we actually recognize him in the breaking of the bread and share in the mystery of his death and Resurrection – in the Eucharist.”

“Today, let us rejoice and thank God for so many blessings: this holy church of Rome, foundation of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church; its former shepherd, who for nearly 27 years guided this Church, John Paul II, recently proclaimed Blessed, and the present successor to Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, who continues to shepherd this church and the Church Universal with great wisdom and loving care.”

The ad limina visit includes a week of meetings the bishops have with the various offices that function on behalf of the Holy See. In preparation for the visit, Cardinal Wuerl submitted an extensive Quinquennial Report focusing not only on the pastoral and ecclesial life of the local Church in Washington, but also on how the Archdiocese of Washington is engaging in the call to the New Evangelization. (The text of the executive summary may be found in the Catholic Standard.)

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, 140 parishes and 98 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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Chieko Noguchi
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