Archbishop to join pope, others in Rome for pallium

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By Tony C. Diaz
Umatuna Si Yu’os

Archbishop Michael Byrnes will join newly installed archbishops from across the world in Rome to concelebrate a Mass with Pope Francis on June 29 at St. Peter’s Basilica, celebrating the conferral of the pallium upon them.

Archbishop Byrnes’ leadership as Metropolitan Archbishop of Agaña was fully affirmed Apr. 4 when the Vatican issued an announcement upholding a guilty verdict against now-Bishop Anthony Sablan Apuron related to sexual abuse of youths in past years.

In addition to concelebrating the pallium Mass with the pope and other archbishops, Archbishop Byrnes will be presented the pallium by the Nuncio of the Pacific Islands here on Guam at a later date. The date will be announced when established.

The pallium is a symbol of the bishops’ unity with the pope and of the universality of the church.

The conferral of palliums has been part of the tradition of the papacy for many years. Making pilgrimages to Rome typically with members of their flock, archbishops named in the past knelt before Pope Francis – or his predecessors – and received woolen bands symbolizing both their unity with him and their charge as shepherds of a local church.

The pope bestows the pallium, a woolen band worn around the shoulders, on the archbishops. The palliums are about three inches wide and have a 14-inch strip hanging down the front and the back. The strips are finished with black silk, almost like the hooves of a sheep the archbishop is symbolically carrying over his shoulders.

No longer the Coadjutor Archbishop of Agaña, Archbishop Byrnes had asked for prayers from the faithful during a news conference Apr. 5 regarding the verdict from Rome.

“I ask for your continued support and I sincerely appreciate your prayers,” he said. “Please continue building the bridges that will move us forward in our journey to make amends and create a better archdiocese.”

The decision by the Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith automatically made Archbishop Byrnes the full, undisputed shepherd of the Catholic flock on Guam.

Father Ron Richards, chancellor of our archdiocese is coordinating a pilgrimage to Rome from June 24 to July 1 to join Archbishop Byrnes in this historic occasion.

More information will be posted on the Umatuna website, next week’s regular edition, KOLG 90.9 FM and via other announcements very soon.