Papeete (Agenzia Fides) – On June 27 and 28, Saint Paul's Parish in Mahina (Tahiti) celebrated the feast of their Patron, their 160th anniversary and the conclusion of the Year of St. Paul. For the occasion, the children of the catechesis program in east Tahiti celebrated a day of festivities on June 27. One of the main games organized helped them to discover the story and teachings of the Apostle to the Gentiles and later, after a snack that they had made themselves and various other games, the festival concluded with a celebration led by the catechists in which the children presented projects that they had been working on the whole year.
The following day, June 28, the youth and adults had their turn. Over 1,500 people gathered to celebrate the feast of Saint Paul and the 160th anniversary of the parish in Haapape-Mahina. The celebration began with a special procession that involved the participation of the 5 islands of the country, just as Saint Paul visited even the most far-off Christian communities. The Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving was concelebrated by three priests, assisted by 9 deacons, and the Church was magnificently adorned and the images and statues of Saint Paul were adorned with flowers. The Mass was transmitted by Radio Maria No Te Hau. Representatives from various religious congregations, along with a delegation of Protestants and civil authorities, were all present. At the end, there was a guided tour for all to learn of the parish's history since its foundation in 1849 by the Sacred Heart Fathers, thanks to panels and photographs from the time period.
A series of stands were set up for selling food and souvenirs. There were also games and competitions. A journalist from the Le Semeur Tahitien reporting on the event says: “Seeing their radiant faces, one was sure that the closing of the Year of St. Paul had been a success...Thanks to Saint Paul, our protector, who has guided us with his letters over the course of the year, read one by one, since June 29, 2008.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 16/7/2009)