Nfld. & Labrador

Justin Trudeau serenaded with O Canada at Easter mass on Fogo Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to Fogo Island came and went, but not before he made a surprise appearance at Easter Sunday mass.

Prime minister and his family attend Easter service in Joe Batt's Arm

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family attended Easter service on Sunday on Fogo Island. (235FireFly/YouTube)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to Fogo Island came and went, but not before he made a surprise appearance at mass on Easter Sunday.

Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau and the couple's three children were spotted at Gander International Airport Saturday, while en route to Fogo.

Rev. Anthony Aikins said Trudeau and his family popped in to attend service at Mary Queen of the World Church in Joe Batt's Arm on Sunday.

Shortly before the 9 a.m. mass began, Aikins said he was told there was was going to be an unexpected visitor.

"It was a big surprise to me," said Aikins.

I phoned all [the family] I could to tell them that I had the privilege to meet the prime minister.- Rev. Anthony Aikins

"To go to church, to be told by the RCMP that I would get a big guest, the Trudeau family."

It was a surprising moment for the Roman Catholic priest from Ghana, who has only been in Canada for a few months.

"I was very anxious to meet them, so I was at the entrance trying to meet them and to give them a sort of welcome," he said.

"There wasn't any words spoken, just a handshake of welcome."

Casual, down to earth

Aikins said he was impressed with the prime minister's relaxed nature at the service.

"When he came he was so casual, so down to earth and I was surprised," he said.

"That makes him so simple and easy to approach."

After offering up a prayer for the Trudeau family, Aikins said he continued on with his Easter sermon as usual.

But before Trudeau left the church after the service, Aikins said the congregation made sure to give Trudeau one final gesture of thanks.

"As a way of saying thank you, we sang the national anthem."

Aikins said it was a visit to remember, and he's already filling in his family back home in Ghana about the big day.

"I phoned all [the family] I could to tell them that I had the privilege to meet the prime minister of the land," he said.

With files from Todd O'Brien