Wherein Fr. Z becomes a fan of the Samoan Rugby Team

I was sent this video today, though it is from last year.  This is from the Church of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, where the great PP is my friend Fr. Ray Blake.

Looks like an ad orientem altar, doesn’t it.

I think I shall now root for the Samoan Rugby Team.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MmeScherzo says:

    My, but they sound like the manliest Welshmen!

  2. Former Altar Boy says:

    A good example that it is manly for men to sing in church. Disappointed with the applause in church, though.

  3. stuart reiss says:


    The Samoan rugby team war dance vs the All blacks war dance.

  4. Christ_opher says:

    Wow! It’s amazing.

    Former Altar Boy, couldn’t agree with you more.

  5. Mariana2 says:

    stuart reiss,

    That was nice! Usually opponents of the All Blacks just look bemused or dismissive, but the Samoans looked properly riles at the challenge.

  6. Mariana2 says:


  7. Peter in Canberra says:

    There is a saying that ‘Rugby is the game they play in Heaven’.

    The various Pacific Island countries have great traditions of Christianity and singing – singing in harmony seems to come effortlessly and naturally to them.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    I actually like to watch rugby better than American football. God bless this team and Fr. Blake.

  9. APX says:

    Admittedly, I never gave much thought to Rugby until we were sent a priest who used to play on and coach the National Croatian Rugby team back in the 90’s. I used to just think it as the Canadian Football equivalent for women with aggression issues, but from what I’ve seen of it, I actually don’t mind watching it.

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh that was wonderful! What that must have sounded to the people in the pews! God bless the men of the Samoan Rugby Team.
    I dislike applause in a church as well, very much. It is such a strong secular impulse though.
    Only a reminder from the pastor beforehand would curb it.

  11. Art says:

    stuart reiss,

    I’m usually against liturgical dancing, but for something like that, I might make an exception! Something fitting for the Lord of Hosts! But seriously, it is cool to see indigenous Polynesian culture embraced like this.

  12. SaintJude6 says:

    Goosebumps. I only wish the video had ended before the applause. That is just wrong.

    [Really? I’m no fan of applause in church, but … sheesh.]

  13. Mariana2 says:

    The applause. It was after Mass had ended.

  14. stuart reiss says:

    Mariana2 and Art

    Yes the Haka is quite a frightening thing specially when you are lined up in the field to receive it. I played school rugby and we had a touring kiwi team once do it to us. We played so badly in the first half.
    But the Samoans and also the Figians have their own.
    Perhaps the liturgical version of it could be ad orientem.

  15. kiwiinamerica says:

    Lots of Samoans in New Zealand where I grew up. Most of the guys on this rugby team actually live in New Zealand. If you’ve never heard a full Samoan choir, you’ve missed out on something really special. No organ, no piano…all they need is the leader to hit the intro note and they’re away.

    The choir in this video is all guys. It gets even better when there are equal numbers of women in the choir. The harmonies are out of this world. Singing comes as naturally to Samoans as breathing.

    One thing every Catholic should do before they die, is to hear a full Samoan choir sing “O Holy Night” (“Le Po Paia” in Samoan) at Midnight Mass. It will bring you to tears.

  16. Michael_Thoma says:

    Applause is a very social custom. Don’t necessarily import local customary etiquette into another culture. This is not to say applause is to be expected in Samoan culture – I don’t know, and frankly, it’s irrelevant. Just saying that mainland US customs may not export to Samoan culture, south China or wherever.

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