A SUMMARY OF ‘AD LIMINA APOSTOLORUM’ IN THREE WORDS
FR. PAWEŁ RYTEL-ANDRIANIK
After talks with bishops and looking closely at their visit in Rome, the visit ‘Ad limina’ can be summarized up in three words: Faith – Papa/Papa – Issues.
In the basilicas of St. Peter and Paul, Polish bishops confessed Catholic faith together at the tombs of the Apostles. It was a beautiful sign of faith unity of the Apostles’ successors with those who were the first to proclaim it. And as John Paul II wrote: ‘Faith gets stronger when it is passed to others’ – therefore, bishops were saying that they would share their experiences of Rome with others after their return to Poland.
After the meeting with the Holy Father, bishops always emphasized paternal and cordial welcome by pope Francis. The Pope was not hurrying, but was listening attentively, was talking and joking. Whereas, after the meeting he escorted bishops to the door, like a host of home. Such an attitude is expressed well by a pun in Italian language. One word has two meanings, depending on where its accent is. The name ‘Papa’ means ‘pope’, but when the accent is at the end, on the letter ‘a’, ‘Papa’ means literally ‘dad/daddy’ (like ‘Abba’ from the times of Jesus). Similarly, pope Francis welcomed Polish bishops like ‘dad’ welcomes members of his closest family.
The issues of the meeting with the Holy Father and in the Roman Curia were very rich. There were, among the others, discussions about the sacrament of confession, family problems, bioethical issues, priests and nuns vocations, mass media (including, among the others, Television Trwam, Radio Maria and ‘Niedziela’). There were also discussions about catechization, school groups Caritas and the gender ideology which was a new issue during this visit ‘Ad limina’. Moreover, the invitation of pope Francis to Poland for the World Youth Days in 2016 was renewed.
‘Ad limina’ of Polish bishops was summarized by pope Francis in the spontaneous words: ‘These were beautiful days for me!’.