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Samoans hand faith on to next generation

Cultural Mass: Fr Eparti Tamarti with many of the children and organisers at the Samoan Mass at St Brigid’s Church, Nerang.

Cultural Mass: Fr Eparti Tamarti with many of the children and organisers at the Samoan Mass at St Brigid’s Church, Nerang.

THE first of five Samoan Masses to be held this year at St Brigid’s Church, Nerang, attracted worshipers from Gold Coast and Brisbane communities.

Samoan chaplain Fr Eparti Tamati, from Birkdale parish, celebrated the Samoan Mass on March 2 with local children taking part in the liturgy.

The planned 2014 Masses are a move by a group of Nerang Samoan Catholics to provide their children with a taste of the traditional Samoan faith, language and culture.

St Brigid’s parishioner Maina Schuster said many of the families’ children living in Australia had no tangible connection to their culture and language.

All smiles: Rubena Mika from Hillcrest, Samoan Mass pianist Sa Faamau, from Mudgeeraba and Falaula Taumaoe from Heritage Park.

All smiles: Rubena Mika from Hillcrest, Samoan Mass pianist Sa Faamau, from Mudgeeraba and Falaula Taumaoe from Heritage Park.

“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,” she said.

“This included altar serving, Bible reading, singing in the choir, offertory servers, and traditional ula lei giving.”

Ms Schuster’s 12-year-old son Boston was an altar server and reader at the March 2 Mass and was enjoying the opportunity to learn more about his heritage.

“It’s a good way to experience the culture here because you don’t really have many Samoan Masses in Australia,” he said.

Fellow altar server and reader 15-year-old John Pennings agreed.

“It’s a good experience of the language and culture and better for us because the language here is lost,” he said.

It is also a chance for the local Samoan parishioners to share their culture with the wider community, with fellow St Brigid’s parishioners joining the celebration.

The 2014 program is a follow-on from an inaugural Samoan Mass last October, and Nerang parish priest Fr Rafal Rucinski has given his consent and encouragement to the Masses.

The next St Brigid’s Parish Samoan Mass will be held on May 25, with Masses also on August 17, October 12 and December 14.

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