The eagerly anticipated meeting between members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Pope Francis during their Ad Limina visit has been thwarted by unforeseen circumstances.
The meeting scheduled for today, Friday, May 26, 2023, was reportedly canceled due to issues relating to the health of the Pope.
The Vatican spokesperson, Matteo Bruni, did not provide any further details on the health issue but said “Because of a fever, Pope Francis did not receive [anyone] in audiences this morning.”
The Pope’s absence from today’s audiences prompted questions. Catholic Trends, having followed the latest development extensively, can confirm that the the Ghanaian Bishops will not meet the Pope.
The Bishops who had traveled to the Vatican on their mandatory Ad Limina visit, were looking forward to meeting with Pope Francis.
However, it has also been confirmed that the meeting has not been rescheduled, indicating that Ghanaian Prelates will return home at the end of their Ad Limina visit without meeting the Roman Pontiff.
The Bishops, who arrived in Rome on Sunday, May 21, for their Ad Limina visit, have been engaged in various activities throughout the week.
On Monday, they celebrated Mass at the Tomb of John Paul II, paying tribute to the late pontiff’s legacy and seeking his intercession. Additionally, they had a significant meeting at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, where they discussed important issues related to the holistic well-being of humanity.
Tuesday witnessed another fruitful engagement for the Ghanaian bishops as they had a meeting at the dicastery of evangelization. This meeting provided them with an opportunity to delve into matters concerning the spread of the Catholic faith and evangelization efforts in their dioceses. Later in the day, they celebrated Mass at the renowned John Lateran Basilica, one of the four major papal basilicas in Rome, offering prayers for their respective dioceses and the universal Church.
The Bishops continued their series of meetings and, on Wednesday, visited the Dicastery of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, focusing on the Liturgical aspects of the Church. They also had an important session at the Office of the Protection of Minors, underscoring their commitment to safeguarding vulnerable individuals within their dioceses. The day concluded with a solemn Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, symbolizing their unity with the wider Catholic community.
On Thursday, they paid a visit to the Dicastery of Faith and the Dicastery of Laity and Family, engaging in discussions related to matters of doctrine and the role of the laity in the Church. Additionally, they held a meeting with the Secretary of State of Vatican City.
Earlier today, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference celebrated Mass at the tomb of St. Peter, where they offered prayers for the Church and sought spiritual strength.
The highlight of their visit was the highly anticipated Audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, which has been canceled over concerns over the health of the Holy Father.
Before their departure from Rome, the Ghanaian bishops will, on Saturday, celebrate Mass at the St. Mary Major Basilica, concluding their Ad Limina visit on a spiritual note and seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for their dioceses and the faithful back home in Ghana.
The cancellation of the Audience with the Pope means the Ghanaian Prelates will only have the next Ad Limina visit, which is expected in 2028, for a chance to meet with the Pope as a conference. However, individual Bishops can have a private audience with the Pope. By 2028, several members of the current Bishops’ Conference would have retired from active service. It is also unclear whether Pope Francis will remain Pope until 2028 over his advancing age and health concerns.