Tongan Catholic diaspora bringing colour and life to the church in Australia

tongan catholic

The Tongan Catholic community in Australia is growing and active, and enriching the local church with its music and traditions.

In an interview with Jordan Grantham in the Parramatta dioceses’ newspaper, Catholic Outlook Fr Alatini Kolofo’ou said more and more people are coming to the Tongan chaplaincy.

Some Tongans are coming back to the faith and some are coming for the first time,” Fr Alatini continued.

Fr Alatini is the main chaplain of the Tongan Catholic community in greater Sydney where he works with Ofa Tupola and Fr Emenisilito Tupou.

He is based at St Joseph’s Parish, Belmore.

Fr Alatini said the population of Tonga and the Tongan diaspora are growing.

“There are more Tongans outside Tonga than inside Tonga.”

He believes the Catholic Tongan community in Australia comprises approximately 5,000 people.

“The Diocese of Parramatta has the largest Tongan community.”

The Mt Druitt community is the largest of the 31 communities in 11 dioceses around Australia.

The Tongan Catholic Community gathers nationally each year and has a number of cultural events with its chaplains.

Tongan Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays, as a way to fulfil the laws of abstinence, and they are especially fond of mullet which is cheaper in Australia than in Tonga.

There is a Tongan community day every three months at Holy Family Parish, Emerton, including a Mass accompanied by Tongan choir, a large Tongan lunch and katoanga’ofa.

The Kanga’ofa is a Tongan dance ritual known where a youths dance while wearing oil and members of the community stick currency notes to the dancer’s oiled body.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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