The Ad Limina Visit
Tomorrow I fly to Rome on the 6.40am flight for my first Ad Limina Visit. Honestly I am filled with some little trepidation, as I’m not sure what to expect, how the days unfold and how the whole process actually works. I’m equally filled with somewhat more excitement as I travel to Rome with the great support and encouragement of the Diocese, since my Ordination here in August 2013. In 2013, I knew very little about Kildare & Leighlin; in 2017, I feel I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the Diocese.
An Ad Limina Visit is essentially a visit from the edges, from the margins to the centre; as the Irish Bishops’ Conference we travel together to Rome to pray at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and to be strengthened in our joyful collaboration with Pope Francis. It is ten years since the last Ad Limina visit by an Irish Bishops Conference. Ten years is a long time. Ten years ago, I was a Parish Priest in Drogheda; the Ad Limina Visit of the Bishops for me then was merely a news item on a bulletin or a few columns in the newspaper.
Obviously now the whole notion of an Ad Limina visit carries much greater significance and importance for me. The Irish Bishops have a shorter journey to make than many other Episcopal Conferences for the Ad LImina visit, but a journey that carries the same concerns and hopes of many of today’s Catholics, no matter where they live. The challenge of falling vocations and an increasing workload on already tired priests; the generosity of so many people at parish level to take on projects around social awareness and justice; the older age profile of religious who continue to contribute to many aspects of church and tapping in to the exuberance and joy of young people as evidenced recently in Krakow. An Ad Limina is about connecting, connecting with my brother Bishops and connecting ultimately with the successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis.
As preparation for the ten day Ad Limina visit I have had to complete a report on the Diocese. I thank the many priests and lay people who have contributed elements of that final report. I pray I will do all of you justice as the visit is about to happen. Compiling that report has given me a great grasp of how the gospel message is so well lived and modelled in the Diocese.
I thank all of you for your prayers and support and ask you to pray for me that our Ad Limina visit will bear great fruit for the renewal of the faith in our Diocese and offer new ways of connecting with one another and ultimately connecting with Christ, as together we plan to host the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018. In the early years of the Ad Limina there was no such thing as Twitter or Facebook, during the visit I will endeavour to keep you posted on how our meetings and engagements are unfolding, feel free if you wish to follow me on @BishopDNulty.
Once again renewed blessings and thanks,
+ Denis Nulty