Growth of Mormon Church In Tonga a “Wake Up Call” – Cardinal Mafi


Tonga’s Cardinal Mafi sees the growth of Mormonism in his country as “a wake-up call for all churches and especially for our local Catholic churches.”

According to official Mormon statistics, there are over 64,000 people in Tonga today who are Mormon equivalent to around 60% of the total population of Tonga (approximately 107,000 people). This represents a 20% growth of the Mormon population since 2006.

“Whatever the real story behind the counting process normally used by the Mormon Church, what is perhaps more important here is something for all other churches including the Catholics to learn from.”

He points to the consistency of Mormon outreach, “untiring door-to-door home visitations and their charitable offerings to struggling families and individuals” as an inspiring example for Catholic pastoral work.

“Understandably, there are many of our people who do struggle with financial needs to their families,” he said.

Caritas International and the St Vincent de Paul Society assist the marginalised with necessities and environmental initiatives. The two are often one in Tonga.

“Our local Caritas Tonga in partnership with Caritas International has been initiating and encouraging community projects in villages and parishes that are part of these efforts against climate change,” he said.

“Such initiatives, for example, include planting trees along shorelines as measures of soil protection and windscreen protecting buildings.”

“Long before Caritas was established in Tonga, the St Vincent de Paul Society was already functioning on the parish level in helping out those poorer families and those who were lacking in the basic needs in life, such as shelter, water and food.”

His people love the colourful aspects of culture and tradition in liturgical music, singing and arts.

The future of the Catholic Church in Tonga depends on faith shining through simplicity.

“For me, ours is a journey along the path to growth in finding real joy in ‘being who we are’, and even in the beauty of just being alive.

“In other words, we ‘shine out’ in being ‘simple’.”

Richness in faith, love and joy give beauty to many of the poorer Tongan families.

“These people still show joy in their ordinary way of living even when they still give to others out of their own poverty.

“There is also a ‘glow’ of certain grace in people in homes who on a daily basis take good care of their sick and elderly members,” he said.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , ,