Pope meets with first group of U.S. bishops, coming to Rome November to February

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From November until February, 15 delegations of bishops from the United States will be coming to Rome to meet Pope Francis and members of the Vatican Curia.

These meetings are called “ad limina visits,” and every bishop participates. Americans come nearly every 10 years.

The first group, Region 1, spoke with Pope Francis in private for around two hours.

The Archbishop of Boston, Card. Sean O'Malley led the way. He joked with the pope, breaking the ice at the beginning.

Afterward, bishops from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont also greeted him.

Pope Francis has been following the U.S. bishops closely. He met with a delegation in September 2018, after Pennsylvania's grand jury report was published. The pope then asked all the North American bishops to conduct spiritual exercises together, to discern how to face the crisis within the country.

This is likely to be spoken about even more with Region 3 of the USCCB, who come from Pennsylvania.

Over the next few months, the United States' bishops will be discussing seminary formation, immigration and pastoral care for migrants, and how Catholic bishops can stand up for what the Church believes when many states are currently debating abortion up-until-birth and physician-assisted suicide. 

Catholics make up 21 percent of the population in North America, more than 65 million people. It is the fourth country with the largest number of Catholics in the world. 

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