Gov’t and church leaders deliver Christmas messages to territory
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu P. S Mauga, Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata and Bishop Peter Brown, leader of the Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago — yesterday issued separate Christmas messages to the people of American Samoa, as the territory joins the world in celebrating the Birth of Christ on Sunday, Dec. 25.
“During this sacred season, families and friends gather to celebrate the greatest miracle in human history. More than two thousand years ago, a Savior was born,” the governor said in his annual Christmas message.
“The true spirit of Christmas is giving without expecting anything in return. It is happiness because we see the joy in others. It is forgetting about ourselves and finding time for others,” he pointed out.
“As we continue to adapt to the changes surrounding the global pandemic, may we reflect upon the blessings and opportunities we have received from our Lord, Jesus Christ,” he noted.
Additionally, “We have seen an increase in courage, character, resilience, and resolve in all of you who serve in many ways. Let us strive to become Christ-like in bringing the gift of peace to our homes, schools, communities, and the Territory.”
The governor commended and thanked “our first responders, law enforcement, and healthcare workers for their endless commitment to keeping American Samoa safe.”
In this holiday season, “We remember our Toa o Samoa, our brothers, and sisters, sons and daughters in the Armed forces, and their families. We continue to pray for your safety and we thank you for your service.
“May the spirit of Christmas instill in us the desire to love more, forgive others, make amends, and serve each other,” the governor said.
“Let us continue to reach out and lift the hands of those who are weary, comfort those who are facing personal loss or difficulties, give to those who are in need, and allow others to see the gift of the Savior's love through us,” he said.
In her Christmas message, Uifa’atali wished everyone a “Merry Christmas” and called for “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,” quoting Luke 2:14.
She said that this December has been a busy time in the U.S Congress, with legislative session days right up to the holiday weekend this year.
She explained that Congress has been in long negotiations to complete a major appropriations package for 2023 that funds many federal departments and agencies, including support for the islands and grant programs. And she looks forward to sharing details of the territory’s funding outlook for 2023.
“At Christmas time, our focus is celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the hope, joy and charity surrounding this beautiful season!” she said. “Many of us are blessed to enjoy being with family and friends, but I also know many have loved ones away for their studies, military service or jobs. I will be especially thinking of them and our many military families.”
“To each of our Toa o Samoa, thank you for your service! May God bless American Samoa and the United States, and each Christmas celebration in our churches and families. Soifua ma ia manuia,” she said.
Bishop Brown, in his annual Christmas message, said the “birth of Christ reminds us... of the joy and hope of life. Whatever culture, language or identity, the Christ Child makes us brothers and sisters.”
By giving us his Son, God provides us with courage to reach out to those who are in need and feel compassion for them. May the Child of Bethlehem help us to open our hearts to a true Xmas spirit of peace and loving service,” he said.
“On behalf of the Catholic Community of American Samoa I wish you all a happy and blessed holiday season. Ia manuia le tausaga fou,” Bishop Brown concluded.