In early February Archbishop William Goh will be in Rome together with his Brother Bishops from Malaysia and Brunei to present themselves to Pope Francis.
‘Ad Limina’ or ‘Ad Limina Apostolorum’ as it is known in full, is the obligatory visit of Bishops and certain prelates to the thresholds of the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles and then make reports to the Holy Father on the state of their dioceses.
In his letter to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Archbishop Joseph Marino the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia; described this ad limina visit as ‘a living and dynamic experience of the unity of our faith and of the intimate communion that exists between the Bishop of Rome and all bishops of the world.’
The Nuncio said, ‘…more than looking at this visit as an obligation, it should be seen with this spiritual and ecclesial dimension, namely, “to see Peter”, and in this case to be with Pope Francis.’
In short these five yearly visits show the reverence for the Successor of St Peter.
For Archbishop Goh this is his first ad limina since he took office in May 2013. He shared the significance of this trip to Rome, ‘This ad limina comes just before the fifth anniversary of my Episcopate. For me it’s a milestone worth marking because it has also been five years since I proposed the pastoral plan for the Archdiocese to make us a vibrant, missionary and evangelising Church. Like all plans we have made adjustments along the way through consultation but the thrusts remain the same – to rekindle our faith, renew our people, revitalise our outreach and refresh our structures. During this visit, we will report on the state of our archdiocese to the Holy Father. Please pray that with the Lord’s wisdom and grace I may always be a Shepherd fired with love and zeal for God’s Church and His people.’
To forge a greater sense of collegiality, there are scheduled meetings for Bishops with the heads of Vatican Dicasteries to discuss matters specific to their region. In their own itinerary, Archbishop Goh and the Bishops of Malaysia and Brunei will visit the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
A meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State to the Holy See who visited Singapore in 2015 is on the schedule before the Bishops meet with the Holy Father Pope Francis.
After completing business at the Vatican, Archbishop Goh will also take time off to visit some of our priests. Fathers Jovita Ho, Samuel Lim, Joseph Zhang Liyong and Derrick Yap are studying in various universities in Rome. It will be a Chinese New Year re-union for these priests away from home with their Shepherd.
Top image: Archbishop William Goh and Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2014