10 Sep 2003

Apparition of Mary in Samoa excites local Catholics

4:53 pm on 10 September 2003

Catholics in both Samoas have been excited by fresh claims of visions of Mary.

A special mass was held at a church in American Samoa to welcome a thirteen-year-old Samoan boy who claimed he has seen several apparitions of Mary.

The child was greeted by a large crowd at Pago Pago airport at the weekend and has since converted to Catholicism and been baptised.

The boy alerted the head priest at Mulivai Parish two weeks ago that he received a message to come to American Samoa and encourage local Catholics to pray for world peace and unity.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller, says alleged visions occur frequently but this time they came to someone not yet a confirmed Catholic.

"Mother Mary is not accepted or doesn't have the same importance in other faiths as she does in the Catholic faith and so for a non Catholic to claim that he has seen this apparition, I mean that's something unusual and so that's also another reason for the big draw."

Monica Miller says this unusual aspect has ensured the case has generated a great deal of media attention in both Samoas.