Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg Media

Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada Make Ad limina Visit to Rome 
WINNIPEG - October 9, 2006 

By Bishop David Motiuk


In keeping with venerable tradition and the prescriptions of law, the bishops throughout the world visit the tombs of the Apostles in Rome every five years and on that occasion present to the Holy Father a report on the state of their eparchy or diocese.

The Ukrainian Catholic bishops in Canada made their ad limina visit from September 27 to October 1, 2006, then accompanied the Roman Catholic bishops of western Canada on their visit from October 2-14. This year, all bishops in Canada will have made their ad limina visit to Rome.


Ad limina Visits

Ad limina visits have a special importance in the life of the Church as stated by the late Pope John Paul II: “[They] make as they do the summit of the relationship of the pastors of each particular Church with the Roman Pontiff, for he meets his brother bishops, and discusses with them matters concerning the good of the Churches and the bishops’ role as shepherds, and he confirms and supports them in faith and charity.

"This strengthens the bonds of hierarchical communion and openly manifests the catholicity of the Church and the unity of the episcopal college” (Apostolic Constitution, Pastor bonus, 1988.

The ad limina visit consists of three principal stages: the pilgrimage to the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles and their veneration, the meeting with the Holy Father, and the meetings with the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.


Pilgrimage to the Tombs of the Princes of the Apostles

An essential aspect of the ad limina visit was realized through a pilgrimage the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles, at which time the bishops and accompanying faithful celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Basilicas of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The bishops also prayed at the other Roman Major Basilicas of Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran.

The Ukrainian Catholic bishops also celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the tomb of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, martyr for Church unity, whose relics are enshrined at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

The bishops also celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian at Vatican Radio, the broadcasting station of the Holy See since 1931. Today, seventy-five years later, Vatican Radio broadcasts in five continents with programmes in 40 different languages, including Ukrainian, and oftentimes was the only voice of the Gospel in the communist Soviet Union.

Thus through liturgical celebration the bishops and faithful were united on their ad limina visit in prayer and ecclesial communion.


Meeting with the Holy Father

The Ukrainian Catholic bishops in Canada attended the Papal General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square, on Wednesday, September 27, during which they met with Pope Benedict XVI and personally thanked him for the great gift of the establishment fifty years ago of the Metropolia of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, the first of its kind outside of Ukraine. On November 3, 1956, the Ukrainian Catholic Church was raised to the dignity of a Metropolitan Province, centred in Winnipeg, with suffragan eparchies in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Toronto, and later New Westminster in 1974.

The Holy Father later received in audience the Ukrainian and Roman Catholic bishops from Western Canada on Monday, October 8.

Every eparchial and diocesan bishop also met with Pope Benedict XVI for a personal conversation. This private audience was an opportunity to speak firsthand with the Holy Father as to the various issues concerning the life of the local Church.


Meetings with the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia

The ad limina visit provided an opportunity for a helpful dialogue between the bishops and the Apostolic See where information was shared, and advice and timely suggestions were brought forth for the good of the Church.

Among the Dicasteries or Departments of the Roman Curia visited by the bishops included the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, and Pontifical Council for the Laity.


Other Meetings in Rome

On the occasion of the ad limina visit and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolia in Canada, the Ukrainian Catholic bishops also visited Archbishop Nicola Eterovich, General Secretary of the Papal Synod of Bishops and former Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, and various Ukrainian communities in Rome, including the Fathers of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, Sisters of Servants of Mary Immaculate, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, the Sisters of Saint Anne, and the Pontifical College of Saint Josaphat.


 The ad limina visit is surely not some kind of administrative procedure. Rather, above all for me, it is “communion” in practice, where the unity of the Holy Trinity was made manifest during the ad limina visit through the celebration of the Divine Eucharist and the meeting of the Church universal and the Church local.

And, if truth must be told, the ad limina visit also provided a wonderful opportunity to indulge in pasta, gelato and cappuccino in the company of good friends!




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