Reverend elder Oka Fauolo remembers fondly a conversation with the late Father Pio Taofinu‘u, the first Sāmoan bishop for the Roman Catholic Church.
If our culture is evil and sinful, why don’t we stop it right now? If it is good, why don’t we bring it into the church?
Father Pio Taofinu‘u wished to integrate Fa‘asāmoa into the Church. Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Apia, where the late bishop is laid to rest, we see Christian beliefs reconciled on distinctly Sāmoan terms.
The cupola features a mural where a taupou (maiden) presides over the ava ceremony. Matai (chiefs) are seated at the base of the poles that support the roof of the fale (house or building), while the twelve disciples stand behind them. A group of Sāmoan angels surrounds Mary, Jesus and Joseph.