Several archbishops, bishops on Guam for Byrnes' first public events

By Haidee V Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
November 29, 2016

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, speaks with Pacific Daily News reporter Haidee Eugenio, after his arrival at the A. B. Won Pat International Airport during the early morning hours of Monday, Nov. 28, 2016.

At least five other archbishops and bishops will join Catholics on Guam for newly-appointed Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes’ first islandwide Mass Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m.

For 30 years, the island’s Catholic Church was led by Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, until the Vatican placed him on leave on June 6. He now is going through a canonical trial in Rome over multiple allegations of sexual abuse of altar boys in the 1970s.

Byrnes was appointed as Apuron's successor, should Apuron resign, retire or be removed as archbishop.

“The first public Mass by a new archbishop is historic for Guam and the region,” said St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church parishioner and Sinajana Mayor Robert Hofmann, who personally welcomed most of the archbishops and bishops at the airport early Monday and Tuesday. “And to have archbishops and bishops from the region to join Guam for that is a very nice way to welcome Archbishop Byrnes.”

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, was appointed to temporarily administer the church on Guam, starting on June 6, when Apuron was placed on leave. Hon will return to the Vatican on Dec. 1, now that Byrnes is on island.

Archbishop Martin Krebs, the Vatican’s delegate in the Pacific islands, arrived Tuesday morning for Byrnes’ first public events, Hofmann said.

Also on Guam for Wednesday’s archdiocesan events are: Bishop Arturo Cepeda Escobedo, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit in Michigan; Bishop Andrew Harmon Cozzens, auxiliary bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and Byrnes' friend; and Bishop Ryan Jimenez, from the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa on Saipan, CNMI, according to Hofmann and the Rev. Jeff San Nicolas, delegate general for Byrnes.

A “Prayer for the Beginning of the Episcopal Ministry of Coadjutor Archbishop Byrnes” will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña, the archdiocese said.

At 6 p.m. on the same day, the archdiocese starts the Novena of Masses, honoring Santa Marian Kamalen, also at the cathedral-basilica.

Byrnes, 58, also will be joining thousands in the culmination of celebrations with the islandwide commemoration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8. That includes the celebration of Santa Marian Kamalen and the close of the Golden Jubilee of the Archdiocese.

Byrnes, who previously served as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said serving as a unifying bridge within the Catholic Church on Guam is what he believes Pope Francis and Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, intend him to do, among other things. Byrnes said he also seeks to restore Guam as the jewel of faith in the Pacific.



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