Guam faithful striving for restoration, unity, and healing
By Umatuna Si Yu’os Staff
The Archdiocese of Agaña was scheduled to commence a Year of Reparation with Mass last Thursday, July 6, 2017 at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagatña.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes was to celebrate the Mass with numerous priests of the archdiocese. The Year of Reparation began during the feast of St. Maria Goretti and will close on Pentecost in 2018.
Archbishop Byrnes first announced a Year of Reparation for our Church on Guam last month.
Drawing from the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and reflecting on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, the archbishop explained that the Year of Reparation is meant to be a period of constant prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as we strive to unite against the “social, moral, and spiritual ills” that have been present in our Church and in our island community.
Archbishop Byrnes discussed the Year of Reparation with reporters during this month’s “Updating the Faithful” which was held Wednesday, July 5. He was joined by two members of the newly-reconvened Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission (ALC), Father Paul Gofigan and Father Michael Crisostomo.
The archbishop explained that the Year of Reparation was a way of letting the victims of abuse and those who are suffering know that “they are worth our attention, our sacrifices, and our prayers.”
“Reparation […] is a way of restoring the balance of justice when people have been harmed,” he said. The archbishop mentioned all the issues happening within our Church, not only of the sexual abuse cases, but also the prevalence of domestic violence on Guam as well as the island having one of the highest divorce rates in the world.
Reflecting on the theme of the Year of Reparation, Archbishop Byrnes reiterated why it is necessary that the Church engage in persistent prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. He said that through these actions, it demonstrates “to our brothers and sisters that they are highly honored and that the shame, the guilt, the despair, the betrayal of trust” can be healed by God.
Father Paul, the current chairperson of the Liturgical Commission, recognized the Archbishop as the president and presider of the commission and explained the group’s purpose. The commission with its 12 members consisting of priests, deacons, religious, and the laity functions as a consultative group for the archbishop regarding the liturgical life of the archdiocese, most particularly, the Mass, as well as other practices and devotions.
Pålé Mike provided an overview of activities planned for the Year of Reparation. Banners announcing the Year of Reparation will be posted at parishes and schools throughout the island.
Some of the activities include “focusing and emphasizing” the First Friday and First Saturday Devotions during which we celebrate the Feast of the Two Hearts: the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
What the faithful can also expect during the Year of Reparation is the emphasis on Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Pålé Mike explained that there is a need to help those who are poor and those who are hungry. These plans include working together with not just Catholic organizations, but with community organizations which exist to also help those in need.
Throughout the year, parishes will be encouraged to hold penance services in which priests and laity can celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Another expected affair is the traveling of the Holy Eucharist in a monstrance, blessed by the Archbishop, to different parishes throughout the year. “The Church has acknowledged that we have done wrong and we’re trying to make amends… and hopefully spiritual justice will be served through these acts of mercy,” Pålé Mike said.