.- Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of San Jose, Calif. said that St. Peter’s example of following Jesus even to death should inspire present day bishops to do the same.
“The question we need to ask, it seems to me, is this – Domini quo Vadis? Lord, where do you go? And Jesus answers, and he always does, that even in spite of ourselves we need to follow where he is leading,” said Bishop McGrath at morning Mass at St. Peter’s tomb in Rome.
He was joined by his fellow bishops from California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah who are in Rome this week, April 16 – 21, for their “ad limina” pilgrimage to the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul.
He recalled the traditional story of St. Peter fleeing the persecution of the early Church in Rome only to meet a vision of Christ travelling in the opposite direction.
“He asked Jesus, ‘Domini, quo Vadis?’ or ‘Lord, where do you go?’ Jesus answered 'I go to be crucified again,'” explained Bishop McGrath. “After the vision Peter understood the message and he stayed here in this city and continued Christ’s ministry.”
Bishop McGrath said that St. Peter found his courage to follow Christ because he was “truly overcome by the joy of the resurrection.” This was the “the joy that fueled him on his journey to follow Christ” and “it must also fuel you and I today,” he told the bishops.
This is why St. Peter who was “a simple fisherman” was empowered to live “a life of faith and, yes, doubt” and “in the end followed Christ’s call even to his death.”
This week’s “ad limina” visit also gives bishops an opportunity to discuss the health of their diocese with various Vatican departments.
Following Mass this morning the episcopal delegation held a series of meetings the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. This evening they will attend a reception at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.