Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica
Archdiocese of Agaña, 11 am, November 1, 2016
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Yesterday, October 31, at noon time, in Rome it was made public that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, appointed the Most Reverend Michael Jude Byrnes, Coadjutor Archbishop, with Special Faculties, of the Archdiocese of Agaña. Coadjutors have succession rights when bishops resign, retire or are removed. This appointment suggests a more permanent solution. When the ability of a diocesan bishop for some reason is so weakened as not able to conduct his pastoral governance, the Holy Father may appoint a Coadjutor Bishop with special faculties to take over the pastoral governance of the diocese concerned. In our case, Archbishop Apuron was relieved of the pastoral governance on June 6, 2016. Thus, Archbishop Byrnes all the more is asked to take charge immediately. As a matter of fact, in this appointment, the Holy Father has expressly granted His Excellency Monsignor Byrnes all the Faculties, Rights, and Obligations of the Archbishop of Agaña, civilly and ecclesiastically, without any exception.
In other words, as Coadjutor Archbishop, Monsignor Byrnes has the complete right and responsibility over everything concerning the Archdiocese, including its financial administration, the discipline of the clergy, and its pastoral life.
I have spoken by phone with Coadjutor Archbishop Byrnes and on behalf of all the Catholic faithful in Guam, the clergy, religious, and laity, I convey our heartfelt congratulations on his appointment as well as our warmest welcome, assuring that he will certainly be in our prayers.
With this appointment, my mission as Apostolic Administrator, sede plena, has ended. I am going back to Rome. However, for the smooth transition of the pastoral administration, the Holy Father asked of me to stay and to continue the office of Ordinary Administration, to take care of the day-to-day matters of the Archdiocese, until Archbishop Byrnes comes to Guam and to take possession of his office.
Archbishop Byrnes has informed me that he is scheduled to arrive in Guam to take possession of his office towards the end of November without fixing the exact date yet, whereas I let him know that the Archdiocese is going to organize some big celebrations from November 19 to December 8 for the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese. It would be ideal that in one of the days within the said period the people of God of this local Church celebrate together with him in a formal beginning of his service on Guam.
He is aware of the current situation of the local Church and asks me to follow the course of actions already taken up by the Archdiocese, to serve the local Church with devoted brothers and sisters, and specially, those who have recently been appointed in various posts as my collaborators, whether lay, religious, or clergy.
I take the opportunity to express my sincerest heartfelt gratitude to all my dear brothers and sisters for all the support, affection, and fraternal corrections to me. With your help, the hard work to restore unity and peace has already begun. We still have a long journey to walk through. With the arrival of Most Venerable Brother Archbishop Byrnes, we endeavor to close one chapter and to open a new one with renewed vigor of faith, hope, and most of all, love.
Let us move forward. Let us be one in Christ.
God Bless you all.
Archbishop Savio HON Tai-Fai, SDB
Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples