(CCCB) Beginning March 13 and ending May 12, Canada's Catholic Bishops will travel to Rome for their Ad Limina visits to the Holy See. Although traditionally scheduled every five years, the last visit was in 2006.
The Bishops will attend in four different groups, based on their participation in the Regional Episcopal Assemblies of the country.
Pope Francis will receive the Bishops of each region, and an overview of the life of the Church in the region will be given. In addition to their audience with the Holy Father, the Bishops will also meet with officials of the various dicasteries of the Roman Curia which assist the Holy Father in governing the Universal Church. The Ad Limina visits will also include Eucharistic celebrations in Saint Peter's Basilica at Saint Peter's tomb as well as in the Major Basilicas of Saint John Lateran, Saint Paul Outside the Walls and Saint Mary Major.
The Latin words ad limina apostolorum mean "to the threshold of (the basilicas) of the Apostles". The Ad Limina visits derive from the ancient tradition of each Bishop in the world regularly visiting the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul to seek the guidance of these two "pillars" on which the Church of Christ is built. The highlights of the Ad Limina visits, as indicated in the Directory for the Ad Limina Visits, are the pilgrimage to the tombs of the two Apostles, the meeting with the Holy Father, and the discussions with the personnel of the dicasteries.
The 2017 Ad Limina visits by the Bishops of Canada are arranged according to the following schedule:
- March 13-18, Bishops from the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly;
- March 27 to April 2, Bishops from the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops;
- April 24-29, Bishops from the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario;
- May 2-12, Bishops from the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops.