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New Coadjutor Archbishop – New Chapter


Left: Most Reverend Michael Jude Byrnes, Coadjutor Archbishop, with Special Faculties, of the Archdiocese of Agaña. Right: Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, SDB, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

Congratulatory Message from Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, SDB

At the vigil of All Saints’ Day, the Holy See made public that His Holiness, Pope Francis, appointed the Most Reverend Michael Jude Byrnes, Coadjutor Archbishop, with Special Faculties, of the Archdiocese of Agaña. The Catholic faithful are grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment and also to Archbishop Byrnes for his acceptance.

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.

As instructed, Archbishop Byrnes has all the Faculties, Rights, and Obligations of the Archbishop of Agaña, civilly and ecclesiastically, without any exception.

One is never a bishop on one’s own, but always and only in the College of Bishops. Moreover the latter cannot be enclosed in the time of a single generation. The interweaving of all generations, the living Church of every epoch, is part of collegiality. It is the mission of a bishop to preserve this Catholic communion. In this regard, the Lord made St Peter and his Successors responsible for being the visible foundation and center of this communion.

In other words, the College and all its members should live and serve always with Peter and under Peter “cum Petro et sub Petro” – meaning under the authoritative guidance of the Holy Father. Obviously Pope Francis, Successor of Peter, is the shepherd of the Universal Church. Through the communion with the Holy Father the local Church of Guam is at the same time the universal Church. He now sends Archbishop Byrnes to us. In this sense, the one being sent to us should never be considered an “outsider”. Archbishop Byrnes may not be given, in one instance, “infused” knowledge of every detail of our Island but he is generally informed about the current situation of the local Church and is ready, as expressed humbly by himself, to learn more from the people of God on Guam, whether they be clergy, religious, or lay.

In principle, the real program of governance of every bishop is not to do his own will, not to pursue his own ideas, but to listen, together with the Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history.

With this appointment, my mandate as Apostolic Administrator, sede plena, has ended. I will be 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 takes possession of his office.

I am happy that while we are celebrating from November 19 to December 8 the closing of the Jubilee year of Mercy and the 50th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Byrnes will be among us towards the end of November and will lead us to close one chapter and to open another.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us be thankful for the coming of Archbishop Byrnes. 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
November 3, 2016