Samoa joined the world to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Marist Brothers yesterday.
The occasion kicked off with a thanksgiving mass at the Mulivai Cathedral.
St. Marcellin Champagnat started the Marist Brothers on January 2, 1817, 200 years ago and five months ago.
He founded the religious order of the Marist Brothers in France and died on June 6th 1840, now his feast day.
In Samoa, hundreds of members of the Marist family congregated at Mulivai for the occasion.
The Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and the Masiofo, Her Highness Filifilia Tamasese were among the guests.
In his keynote address titled “St. Marcellin Champagnat – A heart that knew no bounds,” he said the occasion is a day of remembrance.
“We remember with joy and and gratitude the life and vision of St. Marcellin Champagnat, the father and the founder of the Little Brothers of Mary 200 years ago,” His Highness said.
“We remember with love and gratitude the service and commitment of the Marist Brothers to the formation and education of young people in so mamny countries of the world including Samoa.” (Read His Highness Tui Atua’s address in full in the Sunday Samoan)
Before the mass, a skit on the life of Mt. Marcellin was performed.
Brother Humphrey O’Connor spoke on behalf of the Marist Brothers to thank everyone in attendance.
This was followed by the blessing of the anniversary cake.
In a message from the Superior General, Br, Emili Turú, he said the feast of St Marcellin Champagnat shows gratitude to many thousands of lay men and women who are committed to the Marist mission and who desire to present Marian face to the church.
“Their contributions have been extremely important for the development for the Marist charism, especially over the last 60 years or so.”
“Gratitude for so many generations of men and women who have been influenced in a positive way by a Marist education, and who have integrated and promoted its values as they tried to live as good believers and good citizens."
Her Highness, Filifilia Tamasese, Br. Humphrey O’connor and Br. Siaosi Ioane jointly cut the cake.