“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

On Ad Limina Apostolorum Visit

Bishop Crispin Varquez

In this edition of the Estenews, I would like to share with you my very memorable experience with Pope Francis during our Ad Limina visit.

We, the Bishops from the Visayas and Bicol regions, were the second group of Philippine bishops who made the traditional Ad Limina visit to Rome on May 27 – June 2, 2019. We met the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on June 27, 2019 from 10 am to 12:30 noon. I was seated not too far from the Pope. I really felt and sensed his aura of being a very holy man, a man of God. He provided a very relaxed atmosphere during our meeting. He told us, “It is seldom that you have the chance to talk to the pope, this is your time to ask questions and bring your concerns to me, speak from the heart.”

Pope Francis is really a servant of the servants (Servus Servorum). He personifies Jesus Christ who said, “I come not to be served but to serve.” Pope Francis’ power resides on the service he renders to others and not on the position and authority he has been given. His life is really an imitation of that of Jesus. He inspires me to continue my ministry keeping the principle he lives by as a Pope, as a servant of all.

Among other things, the Pope emphasized that we must be serious in the formation of our seminarians so that they will become good and holy priests. Seminarians must be close to God, to the bishop and to the people.

Another thing he pointed out is the effective transmission of Faith. Faith is handed on to the next generation through the family, first of all. Catechism starts at home. The parents are the first catechists to their children.

Finally, the Pope encouraged us to face all the challenges as we continue in our work of evangelization. He recognizes and understands the difficulties in different situations but these must not discourage us from continuing the work of our predecessors, the holy Apostles, to whom Jesus Christ entrusted the spread of God’s Kingdom on earth.

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