Wednesday, 07 January 2015

A Cardinal from Tonga

Soane Patita Paini MafiThe Uniting Church in Australia welcomes the Vatican's appointment of the first Cardinal from the Kingdom of Tonga.

Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi, 53, was one of 20 appointments announced by Pope Francis on 4 January, with many of the new Cardinals coming from developing countries. Bishop Mafi became the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tonga and Niue in January 2014 and will take up his new role on 14 February.

Rev. Jason Kioa, Chairperson of the Uniting Church in Australia's Tongan National Conference, commended the appointment.

"It is with great joy that we welcome the appointment of Bishop Mafi to this leadership role in his Church," said Rev. Kioa.

"We congratulate our Tongan brother in Christ on this significant achievement."

Rev. Seforosa Carroll, UnitingWorld's Manager of Church Partnerships in the Pacific says the appointment is an important recognition of Tonga's contribution to the global Christian community.

"This is a timely acknowledgement of the energy and spirit of Christianity in the Pacific," said Rev. Carroll.

"Tongans are rightly renowned for their devotion to their Christian faith and worship. This is an appointment that all Pacific Christians can celebrate together."

The UCA's National Director of Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry Rev. Dr Tony Floyd has also warmly welcomed the appointment.

"Our Tongan community in Australia is a vibrant part of the Uniting Church and the wider Christian community," said Rev. Dr Floyd.

"We treasure and give thanks for the talents and gifts they exercise in sharing Christ's message across our Church and beyond."

"I hope Bishop Mafi's appointment will encourage members of our multicultural Church to share their gifts of ministry and leadership as well."