Archbishop Byrnes’ Pastoral Letter on care for our sick and poor


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we take time to praise God during this month of Thanksgiving for the numerous graces he has given to us, there are numerous ways we can express our gratitude. Here are two ways:

First, we should extend the same kindness to others, especially those who are in need of extra help. In celebrating perhaps our good health, well-being and blessings with family and friends, let’s also take time to extend prayers and actual acts of assistance to our brothers and sisters suffering among us.

The love that Christ gives us through his life, death, and resurrection is something we are called to impart to one another, without question, without qualification, “without distinction of persons,” as St. John Paul said. The love of Christ is not passive. It is an active love, given freely to people whom we know and love, and to strangers as well.

The path to human solidarity is the path of service; and true service means selfless love, open to the needs of all, without distinction of persons, with the explicit purpose of reinforcing each person’s sense of God given dignity.”

– St. John Paul the Great, 1987

The second way we can thank God for the blessings he’s given to us, is to recognize the good that others are doing in our community, and to support their work.

For example, I thank our Lord for the numerous caregivers, healers, doctors, nurses and others in the medical field who extend love and kindness to others by the very nature of their service or profession. We find beautiful examples of that every day and for many decades for instance, in the legacy of our community medical center, the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH).

The men and women of GMH have faithfully carried out their mission to bring healing and care to the sick, the elderly, frail and dying of our community for 53 years, despite severe challenges, including an aging facility. Its community of healers embrace and even emphasize that their mission to provide medical care to people who walk through their doors is carried out without bias or distinction. That means, the least of our brothers and sisters, the poorest of the poor, will not be turned away at GMH.

I support the mission of Guam Memorial Hospital, especially as it pertains to serving all people, including the indigent population.

As I become acquainted with the individuals, families and groups of our Catholic Church on Guam, and the community in general, I’ve been struck by the extensive level of poverty and suffering that exists in our island.

Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” (Jeremiah 33:6)

I implore our government leaders to do all they can to provide more resources, funding and support to help our impoverished brothers and sisters.

I call on all faithful to also pray for the successful endeavors of GMH and all our medical centers, including the individual clinics, doctors, nurses and professionals, as they carry out their most noble service of providing care and healing to all people.

God is the greatest healer of all. He brings true peace and joy to all people.

A blessed Thanksgiving to all!
+Michael Byrnes
Coadjutor Archbishop of Agaña

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