Pope appoints new Archbishop of Suva, Fiji

Pope Benedict has appointed Peter Loy Chong as the new Archbishop of Suva, Fiji, (population 1,297,683, Catholics 101,050, priests 81, religious 162).

Fr Chong was born on January 30, 1961, at Korovou, Tailevu. He comes from a family of seven, three boys and four girls.

He undertook his priestly formation at Pacific Regional Seminary.  Ordained in 1992  he was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Suva. He completed his studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University with a Doctorate in Theology.

As well as working in parishes Chong lectured at the Pacific Regional Seminary.

He is currently in the School of Theology at Santa Clara University, and is expected to return to Fiji this week.

He will be ordained archbishop early in 2013.

Chong will replace the present long serving Archbishop of Suva, 79 year old Archbishop Petero Mataca.

Mataca has expressed his gratitude to all the people of Fiji, Rotuma, Rabi & Kioa for their prayers & support during his time of leadership.

In 2009 Mataca tended his resignation on reaching the age on 75, as is required by Canon Law. However, according to custom, he could not leave his post until his successor has been identified and appointed.

Mataca was ordained to the priesthood in 1959 and was ordained bishop in 1974 and appointed archbishop two years later.

More recently, in 2008 and 2009, he assumed a more political role in Oceania, similar to that played by Desmond Tutu in South Africa.

He co-chaired, (along with Frank Bainimarama, head of a government from its coup of December 5, 2006), a “Council for Building a Better Fiji”.

The council was made up of forty volunteers and had the task of to drawing up “People’s Charter,” a roadmap outlining the medium-term future for Fiji.

This roadmap set itself ambitious goals, suggesting far-reaching reforms. It addressed funding problems, corruption, and also ethnic divisions between the indigenous Fijians and people from India who have been living in Fiji for over five generations, where they mostly originally worked in the area of sugar cane.

The Council fell into disuse after the abrogation of the Constitution in April 2009.


News category: Asia Pacific, Top Story.

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