Bishop Brian reflects on the Pilgrimage aspect of the Ad Limina
The phrase Ad Limina Apostolorum literally means ‘at the threshold of the apostles’. Although there is a definitive administrative element to the Ad Limina – a prior written report and daily visits now being made to all the Vatican’s dicasteries – the theme of pilgrimage is strongly stressed.
St Peter and St Paul were pillars of the early Church. We celebrate their joint feast on 29th June. Peter was the first Pope and Paul the great missionary. Both preached in Rome and were martyred there. Immediately their graves became places of prayer although Churches were not built over their tombs until Christianity was legalised in the 4th century. As we visit the two basilicas dedicated to St Peter and St Paul we bishops reflect on the lives of these great saints seeking their intercession both in our own ministries, in our dioceses and the entire Church.
On our first day we celebrated Mass at the tomb of St Peter before meeting with Pope Francis, the Successor of St Peter. Yesterday we celebrated Mass in the basilica of St Paul. Rev Ronald was deacon at the Mass while Philip joined us too. Praying at St Paul’s tomb and seeing his chains inspired us to imitate his intimate love of Christ, his courage and missionary fervour.