Vatican City, September 19, 2019: Pope Francis has told a group of Indian bishops that he was aware of the challenges confronting the Church in their country but they should continue their work with courage and enthusiasm.
The Pope on September 17 met with bishops of Karnataka led by Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, who were in Rome for their Ad Limina visit.
Pope Francis listened to the bishops, encouraged them to continue their work with courage and enthusiasm, while asking the bishops to be close to Jesus, to their priests and to their people.
The pontiff also told the prelates that he was aware of the challenges facing the Church in India. He told them not to be discouraged with the challenges but continue their service to people and society with faith in God and patience.
The Pope assured the bishops of his prayers when they told him about a Missionaries of Charity nun and other church people languishing in Indian jails.
The bishops prayed for Karnataka at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul and at the other basilicas in Rome.
A week earlier, another group 38 bishops from India had a 90-minute meeting with the Pope
Some 200 bishops from India, in three separate groups, are conducting their Ad Limina visits between September 13 and October 3.
The visit ad limina (literally, the threshold for) technically means an obligation of members of the hierarchy of visiting, at stated times, the “thresholds of the Apostles,” Saints Peter and Paul. They also present themselves before the Pope to give an account of the state of their dioceses.
The object of the visit is not merely to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles, but to show the proper reverence for the successor of Saint Peter, to acknowledge practically his universal jurisdiction.