(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 09.22.2023).- In mid-September 2023, the Pope received a group of bishops from Cameroon in an audience during their traditional ad limina apostolorum visit (a visit that all bishops worldwide make to the Pope approximately every 5 years).
On September 15th, the Cameroonian bishops were accompanied by priests from the same country, some of whom were their secretaries, support staff, or Cameroonian clergy studying in Rome. After concelebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, they accompanied their bishops to the audience with the Pope. During this encounter, the Pope had a special gesture for them: He greeted them, and then, as narrated by one of the present priests, something remarkable happened. He said, “Gather around, very close to me.” Then, knowing that the bishops couldn’t hear him, he whispered the first joke: “You all, go down now and have a beer while I’m with your bishops for 2 hours.”
The priest who shared this experience added, “Our laughter woke up the entire episcopal conference, although they never quite appreciated what we did. While some of us shook his hand and kissed his ring, he delivered joke number two: ‘Don’t eat your hands!’ And just before we left to enjoy our ‘beer,’ he reminded us of his customary request: ‘Please, don’t forget to pray for me!'”