Cultural heritage: Young children after the Mass in Samoan on October 6 at St Brigid’s Church, Nerang.
THE Gold Coast got a small taste of Samoan language and culture this month with a Mass at Nerang.
Almost 100 people from various Gold Coast and Brisbane parishes attended the Mass on October 6.
Maina Schuster, a St Brigid’s parishioner, along with several other Nerang-based Samoan families organised the Mass celebrated by Fr Epati Tamati.
Ms Schuster said the small St Brigid’s Samoan community had organised the Mass for their children.
“Families involved included Lagi and Anae Anae, Ake and Adam Pennings, Helen and Sa Faamausili, Paula and John Talaapitaga, Frances and Lolagi Losia, Ane and Lalo Anae, and Johnson Collins, music conductor from Brisbane,” she said.
Ms Schuster said parish priest Fr Rafal Rucinski gave his consent and encouragement and then supported the community throughout the planning.
“We initially consulted to organise a Mass based on the fact that many of our children living in Australia had no tangible connection to their culture and language,” she said.
“One of our community Akenese Pennings has had extensive teaching experience in Samoa and advised and guided our members to involve the children more in the Mass, as a means of this tangible connection.
“This included altar serving, Bible reading, singing in the choir, offertory servers, and traditional ula lei giving.”
Ms Schuster said the children met for weekly practice each Friday night for three months to prepare.
“Mass was in the Samoan language and traditions were adhered to in terms of our culture and Catholic traditions,” she said.
Ms Schuster said Fr Rucinski and members of the wider St Brigid’s community also attended the Mass.
Plans were under way for more Masses in Samoan.