Updated: Oct 31, 2016
By Sabrina Salas Matanane
The Vatican has announced the Pope has appointed an Archbishop Coadjutor with special faculties of Agana. The Holy Father has appointed SE Mons. Jude Michael Byrnes. Prior to his appointment he was serving as the titular Bishop of Eguga and auxiliary of Detroit. According to Catholic-Heirachy.org “this is a special type of Auxiliary Bishop. They have more authority than a regular Auxiliary, but not as much as the bishop. Usually they have a “right to succession” which means that when the current bishop leaves office (by Death, Resignation, etc.) the Coadjutor automatically becomes the new bishop. It is sometimes used to help ease the transition from one bishop to the next as it allows them to work together before the new bishop takes over all responsibility. Before 1978, Coadjutor bishops were normally assigned a titular see, but that is no longer the case.” The local Catholic Church has been embroiled in controversy after several men came forward alleging that Archbishop Anthony Apuron molested them when they were altar boys decades ago when Apruon was a priest at Mt. Carmel Church in Agat. Following the allegations, the Pope sent Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai to Guam to take over while an investigation was conducted. Additionally, Apuron’s actions involving the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona have also come under scrutiny.
The attorney representing the men who have accused Archbishop Anthon Apuron of sexual molestation is holding a press conference Tuesday morning. According to a media release from attorney David Lujan’s office, the press conference will provide “a significant update regarding our interaction with the Archdiocese and its leadership.” According to Catholic-Heirachy.org, SE Mons. Byrnes was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit 20 years ago. He was born in 1958. Monsignor Byrnes attended the University of Michigan and Sacred Heart Seminary. He later attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned a Ph.D. in biblical studies.
Bishop Michael Byrnes says he humbled by the Pope’s appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of Agana. “The great spiritual writer, Blessed Columba Marmion, wrote, ‘The task of the priest is to give Jesus to the world.’ That is what I have endeavored to do as an auxiliary bishop here in Detroit, and I look forward to giving Jesus to the thousands of people who live in the island of Guam. I have learned that the Catholic faith has long been embraced on the island, and the faith of the people is rooted in a rich history of devotion to Jesus and to His Blessed Mother. At the same time, there are always challenges to face. With my brother priests and deacons, with the catechists and other pastoral workers, and above all with the spiritual gifts of the People of God, I trust we will persevere in faith, hope and love, and will exercise the ‘wisdom from above’ (James 3:17) to meet these challenges,” stated Bishop Byrnes in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Detroit.
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