Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath celebrated the 33rd anniversary of his episcopal ordination on Sunday 29 January.
Bishop Smith was
appointed Bishop of Meath by Pope Saint John Paul II and ordained bishop
in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar on 29 January 1984.
As he celebrated the anniversary of his episcopal ordination, Bishop
Smith reflected on the conclusion of the recent ‘ad limina’ visit to
Rome which included a meeting with Pope Francis.
Pope Francis met Ireland’s Catholic bishops on Friday 20 January.
Bishop Smith described the meeting, which lasted for over two hours, as
“open and engaging”.
He said, “It was a unique experience for us. All the bishops met
Pope Francis together and it was very relaxed and open. The Holy Father
was informal and positive during the discussions. He listened to our
views and shared his own insights on a whole range of questions,
including the challenges and opportunities facing the Church in Ireland
While less than half of the bishops meeting with Pope Francis had
attended a similar gathering before, this was Bishop Smith’s fifth ‘ad
During the course of 10 days, the bishops had discussions with all
the major departments of the Roman Curia, including the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith and the offices dealing with Catholic
education, clergy, liturgy and missions.
The topics considered at these
meetings included the role of women in the Church, the right to life,
vocations and immigration.
“This was the most engaging series of meetings I have attended at the
Vatican” Bishop Smith added. “There was a sense of people listening to
each other and real dialogue. I think the openness of Pope Francis is
having an impact in Rome.”
The bishops stayed at the Pontifical Irish College during their time
They celebrated Mass at each of the major basilicas, praying
for the needs of the Church.
They also had opportunities to meet Irish
religious and missionaries in the city and were received at receptions
in the Irish Embassies to the Holy See and to the Republic of Italy.
As he marked the conclusion of his fifth ‘ad lumina’ visit in Rome,
Bishop Smith also celebrated the 33rd anniversary of his episcopal
ordination on Sunday 29 January.