Keynote address by Acting Prime Minister during the Fifth Apostolic Congress on Mercy

Father Pio Galumalemana, Diocesan Administrator and the Archdiocese of Samoa – Apia, master of ceremony, Father Pesamino Victor.
Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, Divine Mercy Chapters, from Samoa and abroad – visitors, friends and families, ladies and gentlemen. With utmost respect, “I hereby greet you all and welcome you to our humble Island nation of Samoa”.
Father Foudaire and Father Violette were the pioneers of Catholicism in Samoa, when they arrived and established the Catholic Church at Lealatele – Malaeola and Gafoaga, Savai’i in 1845. The archdiocese of Samoa – Apia was founded in 1850 and the Catholic Church continues as one of the three mainline churches in Samoa, accounting for over 20 percent of the population today.
The late Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga was ordained as head of the Archdiocese of Samoa – Apia in 2003 until his passing a few weeks ago. He however is fondly remembered today and sorely missed, as he was leading the coordination of the fifth W.A.C.O.M. in Samoa.
While we are deeply saddened by his passing, we are rejoicing also in knowing that his dream for this Congress to be held in Samoa is being fulfilled in this ocean of love – encompassing us
all, in God’s divine mercy.
We therefore thank Pope Benedict XIV (14) for his vision and endurance in launching the first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (W.A.C.O.M.) in Rome in 2008.
We noticed that the last three hosts of W.A.C.O.M. were countries with larger economies and resources, as with Poland in 2011, Colombia in 2014 and the Philippines in 2017.
We therefore applaud with sincerity, gratefulness and respect, the persistence, commitment and hard work of the late Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga, which has led to our small Island nation, being chosen as the first in Oceania to host W.A.C.O.M.
To this end, I extend on behalf of the Honourable Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, and Cabinet the warmest of Oceanic and Pacifica alofa’aga – ocean of love, enveloping not only the delegates but the whole world.
We are grateful and humble to host your Eminence and Excellencies and all our visitors, friends and families from around the globe.
As we count down to the conclusion of our yearlong celebration of 60 years of Independence, we are blessed to be surrounded and encompassed by oceans near and far – of love and divine mercy.
I therefore wish all the delegates and the Congress the very best and fruitful dialogue and discussions. May His guiding arms lead, protect and steer our ships/canoes, as we sail through this week and our respective journey back, as apostles of mercy, proclaiming and striving for perfection and His righteousness – leading the mission and movement of the Divine Mercy.
This time next week, Saturday 27th May, at the village of Lealatele on the Island of Savaii, the village which accepted the Catholic Church into Samoa 178 years ago is commemorating the arrival of the Catholic Faith in Samoa as part of Samoa’s 60th Anniversary Celebration that has been taking place throughout Samoa during the last 12 months.
I invite you all to join us in giving thanks and praise to God on this day for the gift of faith and the Catholic Church to Samoa.
I once again congratulate the leaders and coordinators, for bringing this dream of W.A.C.O.M. to reality and I wish you all, blessings, love and prayers.
Soifua ma ia Manuia.