“Pray for us”: Catholic Bishops of Southern African Conference ahead of Ad Limina Visit

Members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC). Credit: SACBC

Members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) are seeking spiritual solidarity ahead of their Ad Limina visit, the periodic visit to the Holy See during which Catholic Bishops have an audience with the Holy Father and an opportunity to pray at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul.

In a report shared with ACI Africa Friday, June 9, the President of SACBC says the June 12-17 Ad Limina visit is a symbol of the unity between Catholic Bishops and the Pontiff.

“I invite all those who will be remaining behind to pray for us because this is not just about us, it’s about the church in Southern Africa,” Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of South Africa’s Mthatha Diocese says.

Bishop Sipuka adds that members of SACBC participating in the Ad Limina visit “will be reporting on behalf of every Catholic." 

The quinquennial report that SACBC members are to share with Pope Francis will include social, political, and economic updates and statistics, evangelization challenges, the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, Catholic education, the financial state of the Dioceses, among others, he says.


The President of the Conference that brings together Bishops in Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa says that unlike previous Ad Limina visits where each Bishop had a personal encounter with the Holy Father, the scheduled visit will see SACBC members meet Pope Francis “as a group”.

“We will meet with him as a group of the Bishops of the conference and discuss matters related to the conference as a whole but will also have time to interject particular issues that come from our Dioceses,” he says, explaining that the group meeting has been necessitated by the backlog of Ad Limina visits occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He adds, “It's a pity we are not able to relay all that we would like to relay to the Pope because it is a very tight schedule.”

“We have tried to write comprehensive reports from our dioceses and the conference and will be sharing these with the Pope,” SACBC President who started his Episcopal Ministry in May 2008 says about the June 12-17 Ad Limina visit, which ordinarily take place every five years.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.