Bishop Michael J. Byrnes, who has been serving as a regional bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit since his ordination as a bishop in May 2011, today was named by Pope Francis to be the Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana.
Bishop Byrnes will lead the diocese in the absence of Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron., who in June was relieved by the Vatican of his pastoral and administrative authority. The archdiocese had been led in the interim by apostolic administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai.
Bishop Byrnes will be given the full pastoral responsibility and administrative authority in the archdiocese. Guam is an island of 210 square miles situated north of Australia, south of Japan and east of the Philippines. Approximately 80 percent of the territory’s 165,000 inhabitants are Catholic.
"I am humbled by the Holy Father’s decision to entrust the Archdiocese of Agana to my pastoral care," said Bishop Byrnes. "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."
Bishop Byrnes has assisted Archbishop Vigneron in pastoral oversight in the northeast region of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which includes parts of Macomb, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. He also has been the director of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s evangelization initiative, which this year was branded Unleash the Gospel and which entails the Archdiocesan Synod which will take place Nov. 18-20 in downtown Detroit. Prior to being a bishop, Bishop Byrnes served as vice rector at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish in Detroit. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1996. His full biography is available here on the Archdiocese of Detroit website.
"Archbishop Byrnes has given exemplary pastoral service in the Archdiocese of Detroit, most recently in leading us to prepare for Synod 16 as part of our efforts to Unleash the Gospel," said Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron. "Now God has chosen him for a challenging mission almost a half-a-world away. Pope Francis, in sending Archbishop Byrnes to Guam, has recognized that he possesses not only the talents, but above all the deep faith in Jesus Christ that make him suitable for this apostolic work. He goes with our love and our prayers."
Bishop Byrnes will remain in Detroit until late November to help lead the Archdiocese of Detroit's first Synod since 1969 before transitioning to his new role in the Archdiocese of Agana