Cardinal Napier: Ad Limina Visit is “when the Local Church can interact with the Universal Church”
By Sheila Pires – The Ad Limina visit is “an occasion for the local church to interact with the universal church,” says the Archbishop Emeritus of Durban Archdiocese.
Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier is in Rome for the June 2023 Ad Limina visit. During the six days visit, the Cardinal together with other Bishops and the secretariat of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) will celebrate masses at the major churches of Rome – St Peter’s Basilica, St Paul Outside the Walls, St John Lateran and St Mary Major.
In the Monday, June 12 video update about the Ad Limina visit, the Archbishop Emeritus of Durban says he is looking forward to the visit as it might be his last. “I’m looking forward to this which is probably my last Limina visit,” says Cardinal Napier.
The 82-year-old Cardinal goes on to say that he is “looking forward to a sense of expectation, but also a sense of gratitude for knowing that the things that we have brought to the Vatican’s attention have been acted upon and therefore we look forward to continuing that good cooperation between the local church and the Universal Church.”
In the video message, the Apostolic Administrator of Eshowe Diocese recalls previous Ad Limina visits from the time of the late Pope John Paul II who is now a Saint. Cardinal Napier describes how the meetings with the three Popes have evolved over the years.
“This is one of my umpteenth ad limina visits and I cannot help but compare them from the very first one with John Paul. The second was when we met with him on a number of occasions where the privilege of celebrating mass with him in his private Chapel, we had a meal with him, then we had each an individual interview with him, and finally, we had the group interview with a whole lot of other people from the Vatican administration with us,” says Cardinal Napier.
Cardinal Napier notes that over the years the “style changed with Pope Benedict” as it was much simpler. “We still have the individual thing, but there weren’t all these other intimate moments,” says Cardinal Napier.
“And then with Pope Francis, understandably, with all the number of bishops increasing by so much, we would have two sessions, separate sessions, two groups of bishops from our Southern African region meeting with the Pope. Very familiar, almost relaxed atmosphere in which we would speak,” he adds.
Among the those attending the Ad Limina visit are the newly ordained South African Bishops. In the June 12 video update, Bishop Thulani Victor Mbuyisa of Kokstad Diocese who celebrated the 1st anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination on Sunday, Jun 11 says he’s “very excited and looking forward” to the Ad Limina visit as he sees it “as a sign of the unity of the church.”
“I see it also is an opportunity for us as bishops from southern Africa to bring the concerns, but also the joys from our own local churches to the Universal Church, but also to learn,” says Bishop Mbuyisa.
On Tuesday, June 13 the SACBC President Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha Diocese celebrated mass at St Peter’s Basilica, followed by meetings held at the Dicastery for evangelisation, a meeting with the Secretary of State and as well as meetings with officials from the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and Caritas Internationalis.
For more on the SACBC Ad Limina visit please visit the SACBC YouTube channel: SACBC Official @sacbcofficial3253