Tetuanui Marama Tarati, a prominent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was honored by the government of French Polynesia during the celebration of Autonomy Day on 29 June.

During the celebration, President Edouard Fritch honored eight individuals among which were six from different religious denominations, for their remarkable commitment to the service of their peers and the community in general.

The Council of the Order of Tahiti Nui awarded their highest governmental distinction to Tetuanui Marama Tarati from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for his professional career and religious commitment. He has now entered the exclusive circle of the Chevaliers of the Order of Tahiti Nui.

From his impressive track record as a special education teacher and school principal, plus his church assignments as bishop, stake president, mission president, temple president, and Area Seventy, Tetuanui Marama Tarati has consistently advocated his commitment to secular and religious education and the building of an eternal family centered on Christ, for a better, more united, generous and loving society.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the French Polynesian government decided to innovate and celebrate Autonomy Day differently than in the past. “I want to thank again the French state, the mayors, and the religious authorities for the union they have shown to protect us,” said President Fritch.

Instead of the traditional 15,000 participant parade and fireworks display, an interfaith concert was organized in the Paofai Gardens, including choirs from the six largest religious denominations in French Polynesia: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete, the Protestant Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Pentecostal Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Community of Christ.

French Polynesia chose to celebrate the 35th anniversary with a time of prayer and praise to the Lord for having been spared any deaths in the country and to offer the population a unique moment of spiritual communion.

In a written message, Mr. Tarati thanked President Fritch for having given the opportunity to all religious denominations of the Fenua (country) to participate actively in the commemoration of Autonomy Day through songs and hymns of praise.

“This is one of the positive outcomes of COVID-19 lockdown: to faithfully turn to God, the Eternal Father, to express the gratitude of his children from our Fenua for having protected us from this pandemic that bore such dramatic consequences in the great nations of the world.”

“On a personal level, I feel privileged to receive such a distinction and I dedicate it to all the members of the Church who work daily, just like me, to advance the cause of God in the service of our fellow men. May the lessons learned from this pandemic motivate us to resolutely open the doors of our homes to God and to renew our devotion to the Lord.”

Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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