The rare chance to meet and be embraced by the Pope came to reality for three Boholano and Bohol-based bishops during their “Ad Limina” visit to the Vatican last Tuesday.
Bishop Alberto Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Bishop Crispin Varquez of the Diocese of Borongan and Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon of the Diocese of Talibon were among the Church leaders who personally met and conversed with the Pontiff to highlight their Ad Limina visit in Rome.
Varquez, a Boholano assigned in Borongan, Samar said that he immediately felt the Pope’s holiness upon meeting him.
“Feel kaayo nako ang pagkabalaan sa Santo Papa,” said Varquez of the Pope who leads the more than 1.3 billion Catholic population around the world.
According to Varquez, the Pope emphasized on the importance of closeness among the bishops, priests and their flock in the growth of the Catholic Church.
As the Pope told the bishops that they could go to him and speak to him freely, bishops should similarly have an open communication line with priests.
“Ang Santo Papa miingon nga ang obispo kinahanglan suod ug duol sa mga pari aron ang mga pari dili maglisud pagduol sa obispo sa panahon nga duna silay problema ug mga concerns. Unya miingon siya nga ang pari ug obispo kinanahanglan suod ug duol sa Ginoo ingon man duol sa mga tawo aron mopadayon paglambo ug pagtubo ang Simbahan,” said Varquez.
It was the second time for Varquez to be part of the Ad Limina visit since he was ordained bishop 12 years ago.
Uy who had his first Ad Limina visit told the Chronicle in a text message that the Pope’s message to them was “very personal and intimate.” The Pope assured the bishops that he is one with them in their successes, failures and trials.
Other matters discussed by the Pope and the bishops however were confidential.
“I could not tell you details because we were told to respect confidentiality,” said Uy.
Meanwhile, the Pope also imparted to the bishops the importance of spreading the Catholic faith to the youth particularly through families.
“Iya usab gihatagan ug importance ang transmission of our catholuc faith to the young people nga magsugod diha sa tagsatagsa ka familya,” said Varquez.
Aside from meeting with the Pope, the bishops also reportedly visited the tombs of the apostles and the major basilicas.