Bishops' Visits to Holy See Resume

Sri Lankan Delegation Meets Benedict XVI

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2005 ( The bishops of Sri Lanka were the first to have a personal meeting with Benedict XVI, on the occasion of their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.

Among the seven bishops the Pope received in private and separate audiences today was Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Peiris.

The other bishops received subsequently were Norbert Andradi, of Anuradhapura; Julian Fernando, of Badulla; Frank Fernando of Chilaw and his coadjutor Warnakulasurya Mendis; and Harold Perera of Galle.

About 7% of Sri Lanka’s 20 million inhabitants are Catholic.

The last bishops to make a visit «ad limina apostolorum» (to the thresholds of the apostles) to Pope John Paul II, were from Tanzania. They visited the Pope on March 11 in the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome. John Paul II died April 2.

The «ad limina» visit of a group of Spanish bishops was interrupted by John Paul II’s hospitalization.

The historical origins of the «ad limina» visit date back to the fourth century, although it was Pope Sixtus V who institutionalized it in 1585.

According to the Church’s legislation, about every five years diocesan bishops must visit the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome, meet with Peter’s Successor and present a report on their respective diocese.

The bishops also visit the dicasteries and organizations of the Roman Curia.

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