17 January 2017
The Ad Limina Visit of the Irish Bishops to the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life
On Monday, 16 January, the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life received the first Ad Limina Visit since its creation. All the Irish Bishops came to the office at San Calisto, to speak about the life of their Churches, ask questions and issues with the Dicastery that deals with the biggest portion of the People of God: the laity and the families.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Congregation, receiving the Bishops from his country of origin with joy, explained that an Ad Limina Visit is an event to live in faith, in a spirit of communion; it is an act of collegiality, marked first of all by listening. Only from such listening can thoughts and projects emerge that promote, in collaboration with the local Churches, the laity in the Church as well as family pastoral care and guidance.
Many of the twenty-nine bishops present took the floor: Msgr. Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin—the city that will host the next World Meeting of Families, in 2018—; the President of the Irish Bishops' Conference and Archbishop of Armagh, Msgr. Eamon Martin, and several others.
Concern for the transmission of the faith, for which the family is the most privileged place; the preparation of young couples for Christian marriage; the organization of study seminars on the diocesan level to raise awareness and deepen Pope Francis' Exhortation Amoris Laetitia; the faith of young people and the testimony of the laity in public life ... were the main topics discussed during the meeting that lasted over an hour and revealed that a large portion of the laity is well organized in the various church services, but their voices must be allowed to resound more clearly in the social and public spheres.
The Irish Church "has always been very clerical," said Msgr. Eamon Martin on the sidelines of the visit, in the video published by us. And what should we do if not "reaffirm the importance of the lay vocation, founded on baptism"? This is an encouragement addressed to the laypeople, calling them do their part in building up the Church.
At the end of the Ad Limina Visit, all the bishops had the opportunity to attend the screening of a promotional video of the 2018 World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin. This video will be available on line. On the occasion of this meeting, Msgr. Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare-Leighlin—speaking also in a short video—urged the laity and especially families to participate.