Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson leads a prayer service in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran Nov. 26.
Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson leads a prayer service in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran Nov. 26.

The day began with 7:30 am Mass at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome and the “cathedra” or seat of the Roman Pontiff.  Paterson Bishop Serratelli was the celebrant of the Mass.  Following Mass, the bishops gathered to pray at the ancient papal throne.  Bishop Serratelli and I returned to Domus Sanctae Marthae (DSM) afterward for a quick breakfast.

Photo Gallery: Bishop O'Connell's 2019 Ad Limina visit to Rome

Our first meeting was held at the Congregation for Bishops with Prefect Cardinal Marc Oulette, PSS (Sulpician) presiding.  Cardinal Oulette is from Canada and spoke perfect English.  He acknowledged the ongoing scandals confronting the US Church, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in particular, and encouraged the bishops to continue to work with victims to facilitate healing.  The discussion proceeded for well over and hour, with individual bishops making interventions or asking questions.  Cardinal Oulette then spoke of the importance of not losing hope before concluding the session.

The next stop on the schedule was a meeting with officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with Prefect Cardinal Luis Francis Ladaria, SJ presiding. After welcoming the bishops, the Cardinal asked his staff to make some initial comments and respond to questions.  The main focus was the crisis in Church today. The gathering concluded after an hour with the Cardinal leading the bishops in praying the Angelus.

Conversations at these meetings are expected to be confidential in nature and, so, I cannot provide a great deal of detail.

The bishops took a lunch break at their residences. And two more non-mandatory sessions were scheduled for the afternoon followed by dinner.

Pope Francis returned home to DSM from Japan during the afternoon hours.  We are all looking forward to meeting with him on Thanksgiving Day.