By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua
Catholics in American Samoa are mourning the passing of the first Bishop of the Archdiocese of Samoa Pago Pago, John Quinn Weitzel.
Bishop Quinn, aged 94 died on December 30th in Maryknoll New York.
Members of the Archdiocese of Samoa Pago Pago have taken to social media to pay tribute to the late Emeritus Bishop. Sione Kepu of Tafuna says “we mourn with profound grief this great loss and commend his soul to the loving hands of God. Eternal rest unto him O Lord, and let Perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in Peace”.
Ivona Mauga says “even though we are apart, your spirit will live deep within my heart for I am with you always. Grateful and thankful for all the years that I had served my dearest Bishop Quinn. Where love will be eternal and life will last forever, I am with you always and never be forgotten. I know that the holy family of Jesus Mary and Joseph are welcoming you home to paradise, where someday we can all be reunited in everlasting peace and happiness”.
Bishop Quinn's interest in and knowledge of the Samoan Catholic history was well known and his commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of the church was unwavering. Father Pio in Apia told KVZK News that in his retirement, he was a source of great wisdom and pastoral support to his successors in American Samoa.
Bishop Peter Brown posted on Facebook saying, “with sadness I received news just now that our loved Bishop Quinn Weitzel passed away at his residence today at Maryknoll New York. He died peacefully after a short illness. He will have short service in New York then be buried with his mother in Chicago”.
Father Pio says, “we are very saddened to learn about the death of Bishop Quinn and extend our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and members of the Catholic Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ”.
Bishop Weitzel was a Maryknoll Priest for 67 years, a Bishop for 36 years and served as Bishop of Pago Pago for 29 years.