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Bishop Thomas J. Murphy poses with Pope John Paul II prior to a private meeting to discuss the current status of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT during his ad limina visit in Vatican City.

Inaugural ad limina visit with Pope John Paul II

Bishop Murphy traveled to Vatican City for his first ad limina visit with Pope John Paul II in August of 1983. The term “ad limina” is a Latin phrase meaning “to the threshold.” It refers to the pilgrimage that each bishop is required to make every five years to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul. Bishop Murphy presented a report to the Holy Father on the status of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT.

This centuries-old practice shows the universal authority of the pope as well as the unity of the church. Bishops are responsible to the pope and serve under his direction and leadership as the shepherd of the church. While in Rome, Bishop Murphy celebrated mass at the foot of the tomb of Pope St. Pius X who established the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT in 1904.

Click here to read Bishop Murphy’s August 5, 1984 Montana Catholic Register “Reflections” column – “The Memories Are Still Fresh.”

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