Samoan voices praise Mary in Washington’s Basilica


The annual Asian and Pacific Island Catholics Marian Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC took place last month.

About 1,000 people from 20 groups representing different communities within Asia and the Pacific Islands participated in the Mass in honour of Mary.

The various communities marched into the Basilica with a different statue of Mary in her various manifestations as Our Lady of Antipolo, Our Lady of La Vang, Our Lady of Samoa and the golden Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni, as she is known among Catholic communities in India.

Alex Chow, a boy whose family attends Our Lady of China Pastoral Mission in Washington, crowned a statue of Mary.

Then Catholics with roots in India, Samoa, the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea led the congregation in praying the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary in their own languages, joined by the congregation who prayed the Hail Marys in English.

Clara Cole, a  Samoan who works for the Environmental Protection Agency, said their Catholic faith “was instilled in us at a very young age. We carry it with us still, and I pass it down to my daughter. She’s 17.”

Cole said that faith “keeps us going. Without it, we’d have no hope, and without Mother Mary, we wouldn’t have our Savior Jesus.”

Johnny Toma  who works at the Georgetown University Medical Centre, reflecting on the journey he took across the world from American Samoa the United States for college said, “He (Jesus) has always been with me.”

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl praised the Asian and Pacific Island Catholics for representing the richness of their diverse cultures and the harmony of their shared faith in Christ.

Prayers of the faithful were offered in different languages, including Cambodian, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Samoan, Indonesian, Konkani (from India), and English.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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