THE BISHOPS AND archbishops of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei made their "ad limina" visit to the Holy See Jun 1-8. The term refers to the obligatory visits by the bishops of dioceses to the Holy See.

The ad limina visit takes its name from the ancient practice of pilgrimages "ad limina apostolorum" – to the thresholds (or tombs) of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome.

The bishop of a diocese is required to make this visit every five years, as a sign of his communion with the Holy See and in order to report on the condition of his diocese.

The bishop is expected to provide an in-depth report on his diocese.

If some grave reason prevents him from making the ad limina visit, the bishop may send a coadjutor or another official delegate.

During the ad limina visit, the bishop is required to do the following:

1. Visit the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul. This visit is recorded in writing.

2. Visit with the pope. This visit includes three elements:

– The bishop makes a renewal of his pledge of dedication to the Holy See.

– The bishop delivers a written report on the state of his diocese, which is presented to the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for Bishops.

– The pope addresses the bishop, offering his perspective on the challenges facing the church in that diocese.

Ordinarily, bishops make their ad limina visits in groups, with the bishops of a country or ecclesiastical province travelling to Rome and meeting with the pope together.

For smaller countries, the entire bishops’ conference might make the ad limina visit as a group, with auxiliary bishops accompanying their bishops.

When there are many bishops in a country, they usually travel to Rome in smaller groups so that the entire episcopate from a given country might visit Rome over a period of several weeks or even months.

The members of the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei are Archbishop Murphy Pakiam (Kuala Lumpur), Archbishop John Ha (Kuching), Archbishop Nicholas Chia (Singapore), Bishop Paul Tan (Melaka-Johor), Bishop Antony Selvanayagam (Penang), Bishop John Lee (Kota Kinabalu), Bishop Cornelius Piong (Keningau), Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom (Sandakan), Bishop Dominic Su (Sibu), Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Hii (Sibu), Bishop Anthony Lee (Miri) and Bishop Cornelius Sim (Brunei Vicariate). - CS

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