What Responsibilities Does Guam's Archbishop Coadjutor Have?

By Sabrina Salas Matanane
November 1, 2016

[with video]

While many of you were sleeping last night, the Vatican made it official announcing the appointment of an archbishop coadjutor for the Archdiocese of Agana. Many of you may ask: what does that mean? During a press conference at the Cathedral De Basilica this morning, it was made clear that this coadjutor general is taking over as the head of the local Catholic Church.

Tuesday may have been Archbishop Anthony Apuron's birthday, but it's Detroit bishop Michael Byrnes who was celebrating. The Pope appointed him as the successor to lead the Agana archdiocese. "It's all happened very quickly," His Excellency told KUAM News over FaceTime. Bishop Byrnes says he found out about the appointment two weeks ago, met with the Holy Father last Friday and the announcement was officially made Monday night.

In a press conference held by the local archdiocese on Tuesday, Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai says this appears to be a permanent solution amid the controversy involving Archbishop Apuron, who as of June was removed of pastoral governance over the local church. "In this appointment the Holy Father has expressly granted his Excellency, Monsignor Byrne, all the faculties, rights and obligations of Archbishop of Agana," Hon announced.

Archbishop Hon confirmed the process to find a new archbishop started last year shortly after his visit to Guam. Bishop Byrnes says he will permanently move to Guam in January but will pay a visit to the island in late-November. He adds he is aware of the issues confronting the local church such as the allegations of sexual molestation, the question of ownership of the Redemportis Mater Seminary and divisions in the church involving the Neocathechumenal Way.

"I don't want to come with any preconceived notions on how will I handle this, until I see the situation for myself and that's the only way for me to get a grasp of it," he explained. "I know there's a division and faction and my heart is sad for that, but I know there's some way. I mean, if we believe if Jesus I the Lord then he is the Lord of all us, and so we'll sort this out as Christians."

Archbishop Hon is expected to stay in Guam to help with the transition of leadership.








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