13 OCTOBER 2006
BISHOPS’ AD LIMINA PILGRIMAGE 2006
The ad limina pilgrimage by Irish Bishops to the Holy See will take place between
the 16th and 30th of October 2006. All Bishops charged with the leadership of a
diocese are required to make an ad limina pilgrimage normally every five years but
due to the ill health of the late Pope John Paul II, the last such visit took place
in 1999. There are 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland and all diocesan bishops
are taking part in this pilgrimage.
The Bishops’ visit is known historically as the “ad limina Apostolorum” visit – or
“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.
The ad limina pilgrimage is designed to celebrate and strengthen the bishops’ communion
with the universal Church and with the successor of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. The visit
involves a series of meetings that combine prayer, pastoral planning and personal
audiences with the Holy Father. On Saturday 28th October the bishops will have an
audience with Pope Benedict XVI .
During the pilgrimage the Bishops will celebrate Mass in the four basilicas of Rome:
St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran’s, St. Mary Major’s and St Paul’s. Details as follows:
Mass at the tomb of St Peter
Monday 16th October at 7.30am:
Principal Celebrant: Dr Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and
Primate of All Ireland.
Mass in the Baptistry of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Thursday 19th October at 6.30pm:
Principal Celebrant: Dr Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly.
Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major
Friday 20th October at 4.00pm:
Principal Celebrant: Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and
Primate of Ireland.
Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls
Monday 23rd October 2006 at 5.00pm:
Principal Celebrant: Dr Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam.
The bishops will also concelebrate Mass at the catacombs of Santa Priscilla, the
Basilica of San Clemente (home to the Irish Dominicans in Rome) on Friday 27th
October and the Bishop of Ossory, Dr Laurence Forristal will be Principal Celebrant.
Please find below the following briefing material:
List of bishops participating in the ad limina visit (by diocese);
List of offices of the Roman Curia i.e. congregations, pontifical councils,
and a brief explanatory note on each; and,
Frequently asked questions in relation to the ad limina pilgrimage.
Ad Limina Pilgrimage 2006
Media Briefing Material
1. List of participating bishops:
Archbishop Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
Bishop Eamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin
Bishop Raymond Field, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin
CASHEL & EMLY:
Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly
Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam
Bishop Thomas Flynn, Bishop of Achonry
ARDAGH AND CLONMACNOISE:
Bishop Colm O’Reilly , Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise
Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher
Bishop John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert
Bishop John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne
CORK AND ROSS:
Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross
Bishop Seamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry
Bishop Francis Lagan, Auxiliary Bishop of Derry
DOWN & CONNOR:
Bishop Patrick Walsh, Bishop of Down and Connor
Bishop Anthony Farquhar, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor
Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor
Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore
Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop of Elphin
Bishop Denis Brennan, Bishop of Ferns
GALWAY, KILMACDUAGH & KILFENORA:
Bishop Martin Drennan, Bishop of Galway
Bishop William Murphy, Bishop of Kerry
KILDARE & LEIGHLIN:
Bishop Jim Moriarty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin
Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala
Bishop William Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe
Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore
Bishop Donal Murray, Bishop of Limerick
Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath
Bishop Laurence Forristal, Bishop of Ossory
Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe
WATERFORD AND LISMORE:
Bishop William Lee, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore
2. List of offices of the Roman Curia i.e. congregations,
pontifical councils, and a brief explanatory note on each:
The Irish Bishops’ 2006 ad limina will involve meetings with the following
offices of the Roman Curia:
Congregation for Catholic Education:
This dicastery has authority in three sectors: over all seminaries (except those
falling within the jurisdiction of the Congregations for the Evangelization of
Peoples and for Oriental Churches) and houses of formation of religious and secular
institutes; over all universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study,
either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and, over all schools
and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.
Congregation for Causes of the Saints:
With the Constitution “Immensa Aeterni Dei” of January 22, 1588, Sixtus V created
the Sacred Congregation of Rites and entrusted to it the task of regulating the
exercise of divine worship and of dealing with the Causes of Saints.
Congregation for Bishops:
The Congregation for Bishops is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees
the selection of new bishops pending approval. It also schedules the papal audiences
required quinquennially (i.e every five years) for bishops.
Congregation for the Clergy:
The Congregation for the Clergy examines matters regarding priests and deacons of
the secular clergy, with regard to their persons and pastoral ministry, and with
regard to resources available to them for the exercise of this ministry; and in
all these matters the Congregation offers assistance to the bishops.
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:
This Congregation does whatever pertains to the Apostolic See concerning
the regulation and promotion of the sacred liturgy, primarily of the
sacraments, without prejudice to the competence of the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith.
Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of
This Congregation is responsible for everything which concerns institutes
of consecrated life (orders and religious congregations, both of men and
of women, secular institutes) and societies of apostolic life regarding their
government, discipline, studies, goods, rights, and privileges. It is competent
also for matters regarding the eremetical life, consecrated virgins and their
related associations, and new forms of consecrated life. Its competence extends
to all aspects of consecrated life: Christian life, religious life, clerical
life; the relationship is of a personal character and has no territorial limits;
certain determined questions of their members, however, are remanded to the
competence of other Congregations. This Congregation also can dispense those
who are subject to it from the common law. Further, it is competent for associations
of the faithful erected with the intention of becoming institutes of consecrated
life or societies of apostolic life, and for Third Orders Secular.
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples:
The role of this Congregation is to direct and coordinate throughout the world
the actual work of spreading the Gospel as well as missionary cooperation,
without prejudice to the competence of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
(Pastor Bonus, 85)
Congregation for Oriental Churches:
This dicastery received from the Supreme Pontiff the mandate to be in contact
with the Oriental Catholic Churches for the sake of assisting their development,
protecting their rights and also maintaining whole and entire in the one Catholic
Church, alongside the liturgical, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the
Latin Rite, the heritage of the various Oriental Christian traditions.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
The duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote
and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world:
for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence.
Secretariat of State:
The Secretariat of State is the dicastery of the Roman Curia which works most
closely with the Supreme Pontiff in the exercise of his universal mission.
Pontifical Council for the Family:
This Council is responsible for the promotion of the pastoral ministry and
apostolate to the family, through the application of the teachings and guidelines
of the ecclesiastical Magisterium, to help Christian families fulfill their
educational and apostolic mission.
Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity:
The role of this Council is to engage in ecumenical work through timely initiatives
and activities, labouring to restore unity among Christians.
Pontifical Council for the Laity:
The Pontifical Council for the Laity assists the Pope in all matters concerning
the contribution the lay faithful make to the life and mission of the Church,
whether as individuals or through the various forms of association that have
arisen and constantly arise within the Church.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace:
The role of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is to promote justice
and peace in the world in accordance with the Gospel and the social teaching of
Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples:
This Council has the task of studying and providing pastoral care to “people on
the move” such as: migrants, exiles, refugees, displaced people, fishermen and
seafarers, air travellers, road transport workers, nomads, circus people,
fairground workers, pilgrims and tourists, as well as those categories of people
who, for various reasons, are involved in human mobility, such as students abroad,
and operators and technicians engaged in large projects or scientific research
at the international level who are obliged to move from one country to another.
Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health and Care Workers:
Its tasks are: to stimulate and promote the work of formation, study and action
carried out by the diverse Catholic International Organizations in the health care
field as well as other groups and associations which work in this sector, on
different levels and in different ways.
Pontifical Council for Culture:
The history of the Pontificium Consilium de Cultura, the Pontifical Council for
Culture, dates back to the Second Vatican Council. A whole section of that
Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church – Gaudium et Spes – emphasises
the fundamental importance of culture for the full development of the human
person, the many ways in which salvation and culture are linked, and the mutual
enrichment of the Church and cultures throughout the history of civilisations
(Gaudium et Spes, 53-62).
Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’:
Charity enables us to see in the poor and needy the face of Jesus Christ, who
reminds us, “I was hungry, thirsty, lonely, and you helped me (cf. Mt. 25:36).
Through faith in Jesus Christ, who “gave his life for us” (1 Jn 3:16), the history
of the Church gives evidence of the springing forth of countless initiatives of
Charity. To this very day, Christians around the world care for the poor and the
needy in ways ranging from the simple witness of the many faithful to the activity
of large Catholic organizations. This splendid diversity of initiatives and actions
of Christian charity is to “bear the mark of a commitment of the whole Church and
full faithfulness to the whole evangelical Message” (Paul VI, 1972).
Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church:
The Pontifical Commission for Cultural Heritage of the Church has the role of
presiding over the guardianship of the historical and artistic patrimony of the
entire Church (works of art, historical documents, books and everything kept in
museums, libraries and archives); collaborating in the conservation of this
patrimony with the individual Churches and their respective episcopal organizations;
and promoting an ever greater awareness in the Church about these riches, in
accordance with the Congregations for Catholic Education and for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue:
The role of this Council is to promote mutual understanding, respect and collaboration
between Catholics and the followers of others religious traditions; to encourage
the study of religions; to promote the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue.
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts:
The purpose of the Instruction is to offer the ministers of justice who work in
ecclesiastical tribunals a practical Document, a sort of vademecum that will
serve as an easy guide to enable them to handle their work better in canonical
processes of matrimonial nullity. Thus, it was desired to repeat the positive
experience that the similar Instruction, Provida Mater, met with in 1936.
Pontifical Council for Social Communications:
This Council is involved in questions regarding the means of social communication,
so that, also by these means, human progress and the message of salvation may
benefit secular culture and mores.
3. Frequently Asked Questions:
Which bishops are going on the ad limina pilgrimage?
All of the bishops are going except Bishop Fiachra O’ Ceallaigh, Auxiliary
Bishop of Dublin, who is recovering from surgery.
Who else will go to Rome with the bishops?
– Fr Aidan O’Boyle, Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference;
– Fr Tim Bartlett, Secretary to the Northern Bishops; and,
– Mr Martin Long, Director of the Catholic Communications Office.
Have reports been sent to the Vatican already by individual dioceses?
Does each report present an underlying theme?
The report from each diocese describes the actual situation of the Church
in that diocese (overview of the present situation, facts and figures) for
which the diocesan bishop is responsible, its problems, its relations with
non-Catholic and non-Christian religious communities, with civil society and
with the public authorities.
It is forwarded to the Holy See some months in advance so that it can be
studied and synthesized and a summary presented to the Holy Father. This
allows the Holy Father to acquaint himself with the situation of each diocese
prior to meeting with the bishop.
What are the main topics to be covered by the bishops? Will these vary from
diocese to diocese?
During the visit the bishops will meet with the various offices of the Roman
Curia. The offices have special significance and importance because of the
close connection that exists between these offices and the Pope in helping him
to carry out his mission of leadership in the Church.
The bishops will visit these offices to discuss the situation of the Church in
Ireland at this time, to make known pastoral initiatives, to discuss specific
issues of concern, ask questions, seek information, furnish any clarifications,
respond to possible requests.
Individual bishops may wish to discuss particular matters with a specific office.
Will each diocesan bishop have a private meeting with the Pope?
Will the group of bishops concelebrate Mass with the Pope in his private
No, as part of this ad limina visit, the bishops will concelebrate Mass at the
four main basilicas in Rome beginning with Mass at the tomb of St. Peter
(Principal Celebrant: Archbishop Seán Brady, Monday 16th October at 7.30am),
St. John Lateran’s (Principal Celebrant: Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Thursday
19th October at 6.30pm), St. Mary Major’s (Principal Celebrant: Archbishop
Diarmuid Martin, Friday 20th October at 4.00pm) and St Paul’s (Principal
Celebrant: Archbishop Michael Neary, Monday 23rd October at 5.00pm).
The bishops will also concelebrate Mass in the Pontifical Irish College in Rome,
and at the catacombs of Santa Priscilla, the basilica of San Clemente (home to
the Irish Dominicans in Rome) on Friday 27th October at which the Principal
Celebrant with be Bishop Laurence Forristal.
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)