Ad Limina: From the tomb of St Peter to "the heart of the Church"

Bishops of the SACBC with the Secretary General: Sr Hermenegild Makoro CPS

Before 6.30 in the morning we were together and ready to go to St Peter's. Our "ad limina visit" would start with Mass at 7.15 at the tomb of St Peter, presided by archbishop Stephen Brislin (president of the SACBC). I must say, we were not only punctual but also a bit too early.

Early as it was, there were already people outside queuing. I believe they were there to be among the firsts who would go in for today's Pope Francis' audience. As we moved among the people trying to go to St Peter's, a woman saw that security was getting ready to let us go through and asked me: "wouldn't you borrow me your clothes?". The spirit was really joyful among those who still had to wait a few hours before they would be allowed in.

We too were early. The sacristy was closed and we had to wait for a while.

Two franciscan bishops: bishop-elect Zungu (Port Elizabeth) and archbishop Slattery (Pretoria)
By the end of the homily archbishop Brislin said: "each one of us should ask himself what he expects from these days. In my case I expect three things..."
1. that this be a spiritual time. That though we will be busy in different kinds of meetings, that we find time for prayer, for stillness, as this is about our ministry, about being a bishop;
2. to learn with the meeting with the Holy Father and the different dicasteries and offices. We are a universal church responding to the signs of the times and the needs of the people. We can learn from the different experiences and also contribute something from our own;
3. to take this experience home to the people we serve, to bring newness and refreshment to our dioceses, to give to the people what we experience together"
Back for breakfast. Then some went back quickly to St Peter's for the audience, another group remained at home as they were still tired from the journey from Southern Africa and some others worked on the details of the coming appointments.

We all met again for lunch which was earlier than usual as today is a public holiday in the Vatican (not in Rome) as we celebrate the patron saint of Pope Francis: St George. 


In the afternoon we went to our first meeting: CARITAS
Caritas shares the mission of the Catholic Church to serve the poor and to promote charity and justice throughout the world.
As Pope Benedict told them: "you are the heart of the Church".

We spent together an hour and a half. While Caritas is very much present and active in Swaziland, it is weak in Botswana and unknown in South Africa. It was therefore a good opportunity not only to know more about Caritas but also to reflect together on the way forward for our Conference and dioceses.

From Caritas to: The Work of the Church
«The purpose of The Work of the Church is to live so deeply the mystery of the Church, so as to unravel the richness of this Holy Mother, and, being a living witness, by life and words, to present the Church with all Her beauty in the sight of all men, so that, on looking at Her, they may see the face of God in Her and fill themselves over with the abundance of Her life.» 
The work of the Church is helping us with transport some days of our visit. They were waiting for us at the airport yesterday and they will be taking us to some of the meetings to make sure we arrive together and on time. This evening, they invited us to their place in Rome to share with us about the call and service in the church. We visited their house, listen to a video where Mother Trinidad (their founder) shares about their spirituality and had supper together. 

Click HERE to download
archbishop's Brislin homily
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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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