Tongans united by elevation of Cardinal Mafi

The elevation of Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi today in the Basilica of St Peters in Rome has united Catholic and Protestant families in pride at a Tongan achievement.

Cardinal Mafi is the first Tongan cardinal and was elevated at a consistory yesterday (February 14) by Pope Francis.

A dozen travelers from the Folaha Development Society (FDS) in Auckland flew to Rome to welcome Cardinal Mafi in his new religious role.

The travellers were led by Former Free Wesleyan Church President Dr. ʻAlifeleti Mone and Dr ʻOpeti Taliai.

Her Majesty Queen Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho attended the ceremony.

Hundreds of people flew from Tonga to Rome to join the first Tongan cardinal in the Vatican.

The Secretary for the FDS, Soana Muimuiheata said 10 representatives were sent from the FDS because although Cardinal Mafi grew up in the capital Nukuʻalofa he is a Folahan through his father.

Muimuiheata said although she was a Methodist she was really “proud” when she heard that the bishop from Tonga was to be elevated to the cardinalate.

“I was happy and proud that he is Tongan,” Muimuiheata said.

She said she was a relative of Cardinal Mafi and she admired the fact that Tonga,  a small island in the Pacific with only about 100,000 population was chosen by the Pope.

Cardinal Mafi reportedly said he had received information from his contacts that some foreigners who knew about his elevation asked on social media about where Tonga was .

The main points

  • The elevation of Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi in the Basilica of St Peters in Rome has united Catholic and Protestant families in pride at a Tongan achievement.
  • Cardinal Mafi is the first Tongan cardinal and was elevated at a consistory yesterday (European time) by Pope Francis.
  • Her Majesty Queen Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho attended the ceremony.
  • A dozen members of the Folaha Development Society (FDS) in Auckland, led by Former Free Wesleyan Church President Dr. ʻAlifeleti Mone and Dr ʻOpeti Taliai, also flew to Rome to welcome Cardinal Mafi in his new religious role.

For more information

Pope Francis elevates 20 new cardinals (The Wall Street Journal)

List of new cardinals inducted by Pope Francis on Saturday (Reuters) 

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