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Bishop Emeritus Loverde makes ad limina visit

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Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde is accompanying Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on the ad limina visit this week to Rome. For Bishop Loverde, this will be his sixth ad limina and first as a retired bishop.

At age 79 and with two knee replacements, he thanks God he feels well enough to attend and knows the trip will bring back memories of his time in Rome studying at the Pontifical North American College.

“I look forward to this as a wonderful trip of remembrance of the past but of strengthening for the future,” he said.

Bishop Loverde recalled being the last bishop to leave lunch with Pope John Paul II during the 1998 ad limina. After he took the pope’s hand and kissed his ring, he watched the Holy Father turn and walk down the corridor to another meeting. “He was by himself. Here is this wonderful man who has full responsibility for the entire church, and I see him walking down the corridor, he goes, in a sense humanly speaking, alone to carry out his duties. But he is not alone because the Lord is with him. It was an interesting insight, the Holy Father with so many burdens, walking confidently down, knowing he is not alone, in terms of the support of the holy ones and all of his brother bishops. It was a moving moment.”

Bishop Loverde said he looks forward to praying at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul and the other major basilicas. “Those occasions when the bishops of the region go together to offer the holy Mass are so inspiring and encouraging and strengthening,” he said.

He is impressed by the camaraderie and friendship of the bishops gathered together, and going to the various dicasteries. “All of those meetings are all a bit different in the scope of each visit. You learn much, you hear from the other bishops and also you hear much from the members of each of the staffs and their prefect or president. It is very wonderful.”

He said he is looking forward to being with Pope Francis, whom he met once in February 2016. “I’m told he spends some time with all the bishops together, kind of a fraternal conversation,” he said. “I look forward to hearing what he says and interacting with all the bishops.

 “To sit with my brother bishops, and hear from our chief shepherd, and receive his encouragement and also hear of his hopes for the future of the church. But also he’ll be listening to us as we bring him the opportunities to hear from the diocese … wonderful things that have happened through God’s grace and the challenges we are facing. And to strengthen our unity with him. We are his brothers in the episcopate and we are really bound with him in a great link of fraternity, loyalty and affection. It’ll be wonderful.”

As part of the ad limina schedule, Bishop Loverde will introduce the bishops of Region 4 as a group at the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization the afternoon of Dec. 6. He will thank the council president, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, and his staff for their service to the universal church. “We want to further and deepen our efforts at the New Evangelization and hear from him any new insights and encouragement to continue our work,” he said.

Referring to a recent address by Archbishop Fisichella about the pope’s new proclamation of the Sunday of the Word of God on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time (January), Bishop Loverde said, “that could be a new moment of evangelization, in the sense of deepening people’s understanding of God’s word. But not only that Sunday, but giving insights and hope to our people that the Word of God will be part of their lives all year long. He might tell us more about that.”

Bishop Loverde said he brings the intentions of all the people in the diocese over to prayer in the holy places in Rome. “All of our brothers and sisters in the diocese will be lifted up in prayer, so there will be a bond between the people here and all of us there.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019