‘AD LIMINA’ IN THREE WORDS
FR. PAWEŁ RYTEL-ANDRIANIK, ROME
Pope Francis often describes various events in three words. The visit of Polish bishops in Rome can be described also in the three words: PRAYER – CLOSENESS - EXCHANGE.
The visit ‘Ad limina apostolorum’ (To apostolic thresholds) has a character of a pilgrimage. Therefore, the central point of every day was the Holy Mass in the basilicas of: Our Lady, St. John at Lateran, St. Paul behind the Walls and St. Peter in Vatican, where at the grave of John Paul II Cardinal Sranisław Dziwisz was presiding over the Eucharist and preached a Homily. Moreover, every participant of ‘Ad limina’ had time for a personal prayer in the places sanctified with the presence of the Apostles and many saints. Rome itself is, after all, a city where there are most chapels and churches in the world.
On the day of the election John Paul II said that he arrived from ‘a far-away country, but how close one, through the communion in the Christian faith’. Similarly Polish bishops arrived from a far-away country in order to be close to the successor of St. Peter. Each of them had an occasion to talk with pope Francis. From Saturday, 1 February, there had been private meetings in groups which finished with a meeting of all bishops with the Holy Father on Friday 7 February. Each such a meeting was a sign of the closeness of bishops with the pope and the pope with bishops, who, had surely been thinking for a long time what they wanted to tell pope Francis and what to ask him about.
The visit ‘Ad limina’ was also an exchange of experiences. Therefore bishops visited various Vatican congregations and papal councils, in order to share their experiences and get enriched with the experience of the universal Church. Bishops met with the representatives of various offices in small groups, which favoures a dialogue and a better getting to know one another.
The Polish visit ‘Ad limina’ had a particular significance for pope Francis because it was a meeting with bishops arriving from the Homeland of John Paul II. The visit also gave Polish bishops an occasion to get to know pope Francis better.