Ambassador Gingrich’s Remarks at a Reception in Honor of Region XIV U.S. Bishops (FL, GA, NC, SC) during their Ad Limina Pilgrimage
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, and friends – welcome to Villa Richardson!
Tonight, we’re gathered to honor our U.S. Bishops from Region 14 during their ad limina visit to the threshold of Peter and Paul.
As many of you know, Region 14 includes the great states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
The tradition of bishops meeting with the Pope traces back to St. Paul ‘s visit to Jerusalem for consultations with St. Peter.
In 743, Pope Zachary was credited with making this tradition a common practice. And in 1585, Pope Sixtus V formally established what we know today as “ad limina apostolorum.”
For centuries these pilgrimages have served a two-fold purpose for Catholic bishops: to venerate the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; and to meet with the Holy Father.
On a practical level, bishops meet with Pope Francis and other Vatican officials to share the opportunities and challenges they face in their dioceses. And while these consultations are often pastoral in nature, a variety of topics may be discussed — all relevant to strengthening the mission of the Catholic Church.
Over the last few months, topics have included poverty, immigration, and the environment, just to name a few.
I’m pleased that your visit today with Pope Francis was productive and inspirational. And, on a personal level, I hope you will all return to your dioceses renewed by this pilgrimage.
On behalf of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, I thank you for being with us this evening and ask that you join me in a toast — to a successful ad limina visit.
Thank you and God bless.