The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge and Archbishops and Bishops from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida began their ad limina visit to the Holy See Monday, May 7, 2012. The heads of dioceses are required to make the visits periodically to celebrate Mass at the tombs of the apostles martyred in Rome, meet with Pope Benedict XVI to report on the status of their dioceses, and hold discussions with Vatican officials on issues of common concern.
The Church leaders, who comprise Region XIV of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, began their day with the celebration of Mass at the Altar at the Tomb in the crypt of St. Peter Basilica at the Vatican. They prayed for the courage and love they would need to bring others to faith. Bishop Burbidge also prayed for the intentions of the Diocese.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta was the main celebrant and homilist. "As we go about our ministries as bishops,” he said, “we have to remember that what we do is to glorify the Lord in our service of the people that we are privileged to care for, the people who come to us looking for guidance and direction and hope."
While Christian charity demands efforts to meet the material and physical needs of the poor and suffering, Christians must offer more in response to requests for help,” Archbishop Gregory said. Christians, especially bishops, are called to "provide faith and hope and encouragement, joy and possibility," he said.
Following Mass, the Bishops met with Pope Benedict XVI, who provided them with a Cross. Later in the day, they attended a reception hosted by Dr. Miquel H. Diaz, the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, who pledged to support their effort in working for justice for all people.
On Tuesday, May 8, Bishop Burbidge and Bishops of Region XIV will begin the day with the celebration of Mass at the Altar of Blessed John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica. They will then have meetings with several Vatican congregations.
On Sunday, May 6, Bishop Burbidge concelebrated Mass at the North American College in Rome, the seminary of U.S. seminarians. Currently 250 men from 100 Dioceses are in formation at the College. Next year, the Diocese will have two seminarians enrolled at the North American College. (Seminarian formation is made available through funding by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.)
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Above: Pope Benedict XVI greeting Bishop Michael F. Burbidge during ad limina visit of Bishops from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Holy Father meeting with Bishops of Region XIV. Seated at right are: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston, SC; retired Bishop David B. Thompson of Charleston, SC; Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, NC; and retired Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, GA. CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Bishops from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina concelebrate Mass at the Altar of the Tomb in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 7. From left are: Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama of Atlanta; Bishop John G. Noonan of Orlando, Fla.; Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte, NC; and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, NC. CNS photo/Paul Haring (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Cross given to Bishop Burbidge by Pope Benedict XVI during ad limina visit. Photo courtesy SueAnn Howell, Catholic News & Herald (Click photo to view larger.)