Archbishop Byrnes visits the Academy

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AOLG Stu-Co Officers present Archbishop Byrnes with gifts from the entire student body after his visit to the campus on Sept. 15, 2017. (Photo courtesy of AOLG)

For the Umatuna Si Yu’os

Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) students and staff welcomed Archbishop Michael Byrnes at the archbishop’s annual School Liturgy Celebration held at Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica on Sept. 15, 2017.

At the Mass celebration, Archbishop Byrnes’ homily centered on the message of not losing sight of God’s love despite the widespread, inexplicable suffering we may experience and see around us. He also tied his message in to the feast day of the Our Lady of Sorrows that was also commemorated that day.

‘A perfect fit!’ Archbishop Byrnes received an AOLG Cougar jacket presented by Sister Angela Perez at the assembly held at the AOLG Ysrael Auditorium of Fine Arts. (Photo courtesy of AOLG)

After the liturgy, the school held a general assembly for faculty, staff, and students at the AOLG Ysrael Auditorium of Fine Arts. Students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to ask the archbishop questions.

Archbishop Byrnes responded to a gamut of questions presented regarding the nature of his faith, beliefs, personal life experiences, and stance on the local archdiocese. Notable discussion at the assembly included his plans on unifying the Catholic community of Guam in spite of recent controversies, the meaning of his coat of arms, and his viewpoints on gender equality, priesthood, and marriage.

On a lighter note, Archbishop Byrnes also entertained questions such as “What is your favorite Chamorro food?” and “What is your favorite part of Guam?” which he addressed by saying, “red rice” and “Guam’s good weather,” respectively. Faculty member Dr. Judy Guthertz summarized the “Q&A” portion of the assembly by indicating that his Academy family views him as the “glue” to unify and heal the archdiocese.

Archbishop Byrnes poses with several AOLG students for a photograph after the assembly. (Photo courtesy of AOLG)

After the assembly, AOLG Student Council (Stu-Co) presented gifts to Archbishop Byrnes on behalf of the entire student body. Added to the bag of various gifts was a personalized and “one-of-a-kind” prayer book containing prayers created especially for him by the AOLG students.

AOLG President Sister Mary Angela Perez, RSM, also presented the archbishop with a gift from his Academy family, a customized AOLG jacket. At the time of the presentation, Sister Mary Angela wrapped up the assembly by informing Archbishop Byrnes that the Academy is in full support of the many wonderful changes he offers the people of Guam and his mission to unify our archdiocese.