Ad limina: Our last day (or nearly)

Mass at St Paul's Outside the Walls
Photo: Claire Mathieson (The Southern Cross)
Today we had our final two meetings. The first one was at the "Pontifical council for social communication".  Half of our group attended the meeting. We had allocated nearly one hour and ... it became too short. We were immediately invited to share on the situation of the media in our countries and how much we, as bishops, are involved in any time of media. 

Archbishop Celli then shared with us on how they can support us in the process of learning and becoming more involved in this area as, he said, "we have to meet people where they are present". He presented a very interesting graphic showing what type of media people use according to their ages. 

While Pope Francis has about 13 million followers on Twitter, the retweeting reaches at least 60 million people!

It was very good to see that while he was talking and giving us practical examples, some of the bishops looked for that in their smartphones!

We were quickly back at our place to leave again with the rest of the group for the "Congregation for the evangelisation of peoples". This was one of the most important meetings of the visit as we work with this congregation all the time. In fact we had allocated at least two hours. 

Yesterday evening we met to prepare the points we wanted to share and today we had enough time to talk about all of them: our service of evangelisation in Southern Africa, the appointment of new bishops, the care of priests, the financial reports... are just some of them. It was a very good sharing.

Early in the afternoon we left for the basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls for the celebration of the Mass. As part of the ad limina visit we planned to celebrate the Mass in the four basilicas: St Peter's, St Paul's, Santa Maria Maggiore and St John Lateran. It was not possible to do it in this last one but we were able to book for the other three. 

Mass was presided by Cardinal Napier and we were joined by a group of South African pilgrims that came to Rome for the canonisation. At the beginning of the homily Cardinal Napier underlined the presence of God's Providence that brought us together to Rome in this particular moment. In fact our "ad limina visit" had been postponed a few times and when the date was given, it was immediately followed by the announcement of the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. 

The tomb of St Paul. At top a chain like the one used to chain him during his imprisonment
We spend some time in personal prayer in front of the tomb of St Paul and visiting the basilica. We then left for the Beda College across the road that had invited us to join them for supper. 

Tomorrow is practically our last day and we will be closing the "ad limina visit" with the celebration of the Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore. We have invited the friends of our Conference living in Rome to join us. 

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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