When in Rome: Bishop Brian prepares for Ad Limina visit
June 6, 2019
Bishop Brian Mascord
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ
This year will mark the first time that I have experienced an Ad Limina visit to Rome with my fellow Australian bishops. The last Ad Limina took place in 2011 and usually happens every five years. So, this visit is very overdue.
In the lead-up to each each Ad Limina, every bishop must prepare and submit an extensive report for the Congregation of Bishops. Over the years, I have participated in the preparation of this report when I was vicar general of my previous diocese, but this will be the first time I have had to give an account of what is happening in the Diocese of Wollongong. This has its own complications as I am still “very green” in the diocese and so much of what has to be reported took place prior to my arrival in the diocese.
Most of the active bishops of Australia will be participating in the visit which takes place from 17–29 June 2019. We will begin with a five-day retreat outside of Rome. On 24 June, the Ad Limina will formally commence with an audience with Pope Francis (I have met the Holy Father once before when I attended the new bishops course last year.)
We will then visit the pontifical commissions, congregations and dicasteries that oversee the life of the Church. At the end of the week, Archbishop Peter Comensoli will receive, from the Holy Father, the Pallium which recognises him as the archbishop of Melbourne and metropolitan of Victoria.
Pleased be assured of my prayers for the diocese as I travel around the different churches in Rome, and I ask that you also pray for all the Australian bishops as we embark on this important journey.
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.