Archbishop Alapati goes to Washington

Archbishop Alapati Lui Mata’eliga of the Archdiocese of Samoa – Apia has become the first Samoan priest to celebrate Mass at the largest Catholic Church in the United States.

Last Sunday he was the celebrant and homilist of the 10:30 a.m. English Mass which is one of the National Shrine’s six Sunday services.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is situated on the campus of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

The Mass was well attended by hundreds of regular worshippers, pilgrims, and tourists from all over the world including about 50 Samoans.

It was a special treat for Washington’s small Samoan Catholic community to witness a Samoan bishop lead a service at the main Catholic Church in the nation’s capital.

Johnny Toma, a leader of the Samoan Catholic community in Washington, said that they were concerned that the Archbishop could have trouble ascending the steps of the high altar especially the pulpit which is perched several feet above the altar but everything went smoothly.

The Archbishop took his time.

On the previous evening representatives from the Samoan community of Washington hosted a potluck dinner and reception in honour of the Archbishop.

The potluck was held at Malolo Bed and Breakfast, a local establishment in Washington co-owned by Samoan businessman, David Alaga.

The Archbishop spoke about his admiration of the faith of the people in America.

There are six Samoan Catholic families who meet together in Washington.

Even though they attend Mass at different parishes, they’ve expressed an interest in establishing their own chaplaincy within the Archdiocese of Washington.

That would  give them the opportunity to celebrate their own Mass in the Samoan language by a Samoan priest.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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