Catholic Church in Tonga celebrates 175 years

175th anniversary

The 175th Anniversary of the Catholic Church in Tonga was celebrated with a mass led by Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi at Pangaimotu Island.

At this site a white cross that marks the place where the first mass celebrated in Tonga took place on 2 July 1842.

Pangaimotu is a small island in the Tongatapu group lying near the capital. It is reachable by a 10-minute boat trip from Nukuʻalofa.

The morning mass was attended by more a thousand Catholics from throughout Tongatapu and ‘Eua who travelled to the island by boat.

A spokesperson from the Catholic Church Diocesan Centre, Toutaimana said a plaque was unveiled by Cardinal Mafi to mark the anniversary.

As part of the celebration Cardinal Mafi ordained Lutoviko ‘Olie to the priesthood on 29 June, at Pea.

Pea was the first village to receive the Catholic Faith. Father Joseph Chevron of the Society of Mary came to Tongatapu under instruction from Bishop Pompallier, accompanied by Brother Altaic.

Chevron and Altaic were responding to an invitation sent to them at Lakeba in Fiji, through relatives of the chief of Pea, Moeaki.

Lutoviko began his training for the priesthood at Marist College Suva in 2008. In November last year he graduated from Pacific Regional Seminary with a Bachelor in Theology – Magna Cum Laude – accredited by the Urbanianum University, Rome.

Currently he teaches at Apifou College.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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