3 Dec 2007

Public prayer in Samoa expected to attract big turnout

7:05 pm on 3 December 2007

A strong turnout is expected later this week when Samoa's head of state asks publicly for divine forgiveness of his country's sins.

The traditional Samoan apology, or ifoga, has been organised by the Catholic Church and is thought to be the first of its kind on such a grand scale.

It will take place in front of the parliament building at Mulinuu on Friday.

A Church spokesman says His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi and his wife Masiofo Filifilia have agreed to be covered with a fine mat and to ask God to forgive the country's wrongs.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says the event could be compared to a mass confession.

And he says it's one the Catholic church expects to appeal to Samoans of all denominations.

"Samoa is, under its constitution, Samoa was founded on God. So I think they adopted that to link to this ceremony this week. And you know, everyone is a sinner."

The ceremony will begin with a procession from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Mulivai.