Archbishop installs 66 lectors during ad limina visit to Rome
VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI received in audience nine prelates from the United States and the Virgin Islands on Monday during their “ad limina” visit to Rome. Among those received by the pope were the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop of the Military Services, and three of his auxiliaries: Bishops Richard Brendan Higgins, Episcopal Vicar for Veterans Affairs; F. Richard Spencer, Episcopal Vicar for Europe and Asia; Neal J. Buckon, Episcopal Vicar for the West Coast.
Catholic bishops make ad limina visits to the Eternal City every few years following a Church tradition dating back at least 12 centuries. The Latin term “ad limina apostolorum” means “to the threshold of the apostles.” During their ad limina visits, the bishops traditionally pray at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and meet with the pope to discuss the state of the Church in their dioceses and countries.
The pontiff held two separate audiences for bishops on Monday—one for the delegation from the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), the other for Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Martin David Holley and Barry C. Knestout, and by Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Archbishop emeritus, and Bishop Herbert A. Bevard of Saint Thomas.
On Sunday, Archbishop Broglio celebrated Mass and installed 66 seminarians of the Pontifical North American College to the Ministry of Lector. The new lectors include Ryan Boyle and Alec Scott, both of whom plan to become Catholic military chaplains under the co-sponsored seminarian program administered between their home dioceses and the AMS. Co-sponsorship means that the bishop of the young man’s home diocese agrees to accept him as a seminarian, and that the seminarian will participate in the Chaplain Candidacy Program of one of the branches of the U.S. armed forces. The bishop agrees to release him for service as a military chaplain after three years of pastoral experience as a priest in his diocese. When the priest leaves military service, he returns to the diocese. The cost of the seminarian’s five-year, $25,000 per year education is split evenly between his home diocese and the AMS.
Handing the book of Sacred Scriptures to each seminarian, Archbishop Broglio said, “Take this book of holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the Word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of His People.” During his homily, following a reading of the Gospel of John recounting how John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, Archbishop Broglio observed, “The Christian vocation is always one of pointing to the Word of God and guiding others to follow Him… It is an invitation to intimacy with the Lord.”