Michigan bishops with Holy Father in Rome, Feb. 3, 2012
It is heartwarming both to see that Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit, along with his four active auxiliary bishops, have now begun blogging as a means of staying in touch with their flocks back home during their ad limina visits to Rome, and to see so many familiar faces in the photos posted on their blog.
The collective blog, hosted at aodonline.wordpress.com, carries the banner: "Archdiocese of Detroit presents this Spiritual Bouquet to honor Pope Benedict XVI."
The blog itself is well-worth reading for its many diverse entries by the team of episcopal bloggers. Some of the entries are quite touching, and there are a multitude of wonderful photos.
Other entries allow the reader to listen in, as it were, to some of what transpired during the audience of the Michigan bishops with the Holy Father, like the Archbishop's post, "A Light-filled Meeting with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI" (February 3, 2012), in which we read:
"We've just come back from the audience with the Holy Father, all of us bishops from Michigan. It was a wonderful experience. We talked about really all the themes that are important in the pastoral life of the Catholic Church in our diocese. The Holy Father was very sympathetic when we told him about the economic troubles of our region. He assured us of his prayers.One event during the ad limina vists I learned about from another source. One of my best former students at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Zachary Mabee, who had gone on for further studies at the Catholic University of America and is now studying in Rome at the Pontifical North American College, had the privilege of accompanying Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes and the other bishops of Michigan to meet the Holy Father (see below).
"We spent a good bit of time talking about the liturgy. The Holy Father encouraged all of us to do whatever we can to be sure that your experience of the liturgy is an experience of the Church as she exists in every age."
Left to right: Aux. Bishop Byrnes, Pope Benedict XVI, and Zachary Mabee (not on stilts!)
As Mr. Mabee writes, "Bishop Byrnes told the Holy Father that I'm a good basketball player and student - both of which the Pope seemed to find pleasing :-)" You think?! Our seminary basketball coach, Fr. Mike McDermott, has never been quite right since losing Zach!