American Samoa’s Paul Collins has surprise meeting with the Pope


From among the 300 young Catholics attending the pre-synod meeting in Rome, Paul Collins from American Samoa was one of those chosen to greet Pope Francis.

Collins had been one of the last of the delegates to arrive at the Vatican.

He was not the original delegate chosen to represent Oceania.

But a last-minute withdrawal of a youth delegate from the Cook Islands gave him the opportunity to attend the meeting.

He left for Rome on 16 March.

Collins said he couldn’t believe it when he was selected to welcome the Holy Father when he came to the meeting.

“I was just speechless when the security escorted me outside where the Pope arrived,” he said.

Dressed in a red and white elei shirt and cream ie faitaga Collins stood close to the Pope Francis while cameras were clicking.

Pope Francis greeted the hundreds of young people gathered and asked them “to speak bravely” and inject a dose of creativity to a Church “in need of young prophets.”

Collins is in Rome for two weeks and has been posting photos and clips on his Facebook page for his family and friends at home.

He is from the Holy Family Parish at Tafuna.

The son of Nixon and Iulia Collins of Iliili, Paul has been an altar boy, choir conductor, and youth leader in his parish.

The Faasao Marist graduate is also an American Samoa national soccer player.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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