This week I am in Rome, with about twenty of my fellow Region I Bishops, for our ad limina visit with Pope Francis. As faithful people, we are called to trust in God’s timing, even when it appears inopportune. This mandatory meeting with the Pope and other Vatican officials is formally called ad limina apostolorum, which means “to the thresholds of the apostles.” This is a pilgrimage all Bishops are required to do typically every five years, however, due to the change of Pope in 2013, this is the first one for our region and for the US since 2011.


During the Bishops’ time in Rome, we will visit the Tomb of the Apostles so as to be reminded of whose work we continue and to remind us of our Apostolic succession. We will also celebrate Mass in the four major Basilicas of Rome – St. Peter’s Basilica,  the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica of  Saint Mary Major, and Archbasilica of St. John In The Lateran.

The Bishops will also attend several meetings of various councils and congregations in the Vatican Roman Curia; four of the meetings are mandatory for all the Bishops to attend and we decide into smaller groups so that all the Dicasteries are visited by some of the bishops. I am visiting the following Dicasteries and Congregations: Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life; Secretariat for Communications; Congregation for Bishops; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Congregation for Clergy; Congregation for Divine Worship; Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and the Secretary of State.

Bishop da Cunha kneels at the Tomb of St. Paul

In next week’s blog, I will provide more details on my ad limina visit.  You can read more about the Roman Curia and all the Dicasteries, Congregations, Councils, and Commissions that make up the Administration of the Holy See by clicking here.
The main purpose, and highlight really, of our ad limina visit, is the meeting with Pope Francis to present our report on the state of our dioceses. Ahead of our visits, our diocese submitted a quinquennial report which covered twenty different areas of work in the diocese that we report on such as finances, vocations, ministries and apostolates, essentially, the report covers every aspect of diocesan affairs over the last eight years.
This will be a week filled with many opportunities to share the relentless hard, and remarkable, work of the Fall River Diocese, especially with Pope Francis. Our meeting with the Holy Father will take place on Thursday, November 7th; all the Region I Bishops meet with the Pope as a group. I have already seen Pope Francis a couple of times in the dining room and in the chapel but Thursday is when we will meet and speak with him personally.
Again, I very much look forward to sharing the details of my ad limina visit, along with other details of this important week in Rome, in next week’s blog. Until then, please know I am remembering each of you in my prayers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha
O Reverendíssimo Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
O Reverendíssimo Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River