From this Sunday 15 January, for ten days, members of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference will undertake their Ad Limina Apostolorum visit to Rome  – or “to the threshold of the Apostles” – a reference to the pilgrimage to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul that all bishops are required to make.  The Ad Limina normally occurs every five years and its purpose is to strengthen the bishops’ communion with the universal Church and with the successor of Saint Peter, Pope Francis. 


Please see below:

  • Six ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ concerning the Ad Limina visit of the Irish bishops
  • List of Irish bishops and diocesan administrators participating in the 2017 Ad Limina visit
  • Explanation of the role of the Holy See dicasteries to be visited by Irish bishops


Frequently Asked Questions

What will the bishops’ 2017 Ad Limina visit to Rome involve?

The bishops’ visit which combines prayer including at the tombs of the apostles, a series of meetings that with the staff of the various diacasteries (departments) of the Roman Curia in the Holy See to share their pastoral experience, and a meeting with the Holy Father. 


Which Irish bishops are attending the Ad Limina pilgrimage?
There are 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland and all serving bishops – or a diocesan administrator if the diocese is currently not being led by a bishop – will be taking part in this pilgrimage.  Please see below the list of bishops and diocesan administrators attending the 2017 Ad Limina visit.  


With whom will Irish bishops be meeting?    
During the visit the bishops will meet with the relevant staff of the various dicasteries of the Curia.  The dicasteries have special significance and importance because of the close connection that exists between them and the Pope in his mission of leadership in the universal Church.  Bishops will discuss the situation of the Church in Ireland at this time, make known pastoral initiatives, to discuss specific issues of concern, ask questions, seek information, and furnish clarifications.  A list of the dicastaries which the bishops intend to visit is available below.


What might be contained in a diocesan report prepared for the Ad Limina visit?      
Prior to the Ad Limina visit, each diocesan bishop submits a report on his diocese to the Holy See.  The report from each diocese describes the actual situation of the Church in that diocese (overview of the present situation, facts and figures) for which the diocesan bishop is responsible, its challenges, its relations with non-Catholic and non-Christian religious communities, with civil society and with the public authorities.  It is forwarded to the Holy See in advance in order that it can be studied, synthesised and a summary presented to the Pope.  This allows the Holy Father to acquaint himself with the situation of each diocese prior to meeting with the bishops.


When will the bishops meet with Pope Francis? 
On Friday 20 January the bishops will collectively have an audience with Pope Francis.  The President of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin, will make a reply on behalf of the bishops.


Where will the bishops celebrate Mass during their Ad Limina visit?
As part of their Ad Limina visit bishops will concelebrate Mass in the Pontifical Irish College as well as at the four main papal basilicas in Rome, as detailed below:

  • Mass at the tomb of Saint Peter will be celebrated on Monday 16 January at 7.30am.  Principal Celebrant, Archbishop Eamon Martin.
  • Mass in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran will be celebrated on Wednesday 18 January at 4.00pm.  Principal Celebrant, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
  • Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls will be celebrated on Friday 20 January at 4.30pm.  Principal Celebrant, Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA.
  • Mass in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major will be celebrated on Saturday 21 January at 4.30pm.  Principal Celebrant, Archbishop Michael Neary.


List of Irish bishops and diocesan administrators

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Vice President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly

Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam

Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath

Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross

Bishop John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert

Bishop Éamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin

Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore

Bishop Philip Boyce OCD, Bishop of Raphoe

Bishop Raymond Field, Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin

Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore

Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry

Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala

Bishop Denis Brennan, Bishop of Ferns

Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry

Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor

Bishop Liam S. MacDaid, Bishop Emeritus of Clogher

Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne

Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick

Bishop Raymond Browne, Bishop of Kerry

Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin

Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois

Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore

Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe

Monsignor Michael Ryan, Diocesan Administrator of Ossory

Canon Michael McLaughlin, Diocesan Administrator of Galway

Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, Diocesan Administrator of Clogher