For the second time, the Bishops of Chile on their ad Limina Visit met with Pope Francis and his collaborators of the Roman Curia on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 23, 2017 for a unique three-hour meeting, indicates the Website of the Chilean Episcopal Conference, after their first audience last Monday, February 20. The week was also marked by the anniversary of the Peace Agreements between Chile and Argentina, the Pope’s homeland, with a Mass on the occasion.
Thursday’s meeting took place “in an atmosphere of communion, of fraternity and of synodality. Ever close, Pope Francis shared coffee with the pastors, and spoke briefly with each bishop,” stressed the Conference of Bishops.
The site also underscored the innovative character of this form of meeting: “a unique meeting where they sought to speak of the reality of the pilgrimaging Church in Chile with a wider look.”
The Chilean Bishops took part in this meeting around the Pope with Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State; Marc Ouellet (Bishops and Commission for Latin America; Gerhard Ludwig Muller (Doctrine of the Faith); Kevin Farrell (Laity); Giuseppe Versaldi (Catholic Education); Beniamino Stella (Clergy); Joao Braz (Consecrated Life) and with Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher (Relations with States) and Monsignor Ilson de Jesus Montanari (Secretary of the Episcopal Conference).
In the framework of this ad Limina Visit, on February 20 a Mass marked the 30th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s mediation, which avoided a bloody conflict between the two nations, and the 34th anniversary of the death of Italian Cardinal Antonio Samore (1905-1983). In 1978 Cardinal Samore was sent as a special representative of the Pope to seek a peaceful settlement to the border conflict “of the Beagle.”
Monsignor Gallagher presided over the Mass, which was concelebrated by 15 Chilean Bishops and 15 Argentine priests, in the presence of the two Ambassadors to the Holy See: Mariano Fernandez of Chile and Rogelio Pfirter of Argentina.
Monsignor Gallagher hailed the present “fraternal relations” between Chile and Argentina, and the “political will” of the two countries to maintain this “cordiality.”
The Bishops of Chile prepared for their ad Limina Visit (February 20-28) with a retreat at Assisi. They arrived at Rome last Sunday, February 19.
They then began their Roman pilgrimage with a Mass on Monday at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, presided over by Monsignor Santiago Silva, Military Bishop of Chile and President of the Episcopal Conference.
Together, they met with Pope Francis at 10 o’clock on that same February 20, in the Library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
Monsignor Cristian Contreras V., Bishop of Melipilla and Vice-President of the Chilean Episcopal Conference greeted the Pope on behalf of all, saying notably: “We are here to express to you our sentiment of closeness and affection in the faith, so that you will confirm us and we in turn will confirm our faithful in our dioceses.”