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Home arrow Dictionary arrow Tongan Bishops in Oceania: Historical Events
Tongan Bishops in Oceania: Historical Events PDF Print E-mail
Written by Catholic-hierarchy.org   

 The three Tongan Bishops in the history of Catholic Churches in Oceania are Patelesio Finau, Soane  Foliaki and Soane Mafi. Followings are the main historical events in brief regarding their individual religious life.

 The immortality of their spiritual-ethical contributions to humanity will be with the Churches and us always.

Bishop Patelisio Punou-Ki-Hihifo Finau, S. M. †

Deceased 

 

Date
Age
Event
Title
15 Mar 1934
Born
Ma'ufanga
21 Jul 1959
25.3
Ordained Priest
Priest of Society of Mary
15 Oct 1971
37.6
Appointed
Coadjutor Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)
15 Oct 1971
37.6
Appointed
Titular Bishop of Aurusuliana
13 Feb 1972
37.9
Ordained Bishop
Titular Bishop of Aurusuliana
7 Apr 1972
38.1
Succeeded
Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)
4 Oct 1993
59.6
Died
Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)

 

 * a priest for 34.2 years & a bishop for 21.6 years

Bishop Soane Lilo Foliaki, S. M

 

Date
Age
Event
Title
18 Apr 1933
75.02
Born
Ma'ufanga
21 Jul 1955
22.3
Ordained Priest
Priest of Society of Mary
10 Jun 1994
61.1
Appointed
Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)
23 Jun 1994
61.2
Ordained Bishop
Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)

 

* a priest for 52.77 years & a bishop for 13.84 years

 

 

Coadjutor Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi

Date
Age
Event
Title
19 Dec 1961
46.36
Born
Nuku'alofa
29 Jun 1991
29.5
Ordained Priest
Priest of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)
28 Jun 2007
45.5
Appointed
Coadjutor Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)
4 Oct 2007
45.8
Ordained Bishop
Coadjutor Bishop of Tonga, Pacific (Oceania)

* a priest for 16.83 years & a bishop for 0.56 years

 

 

 

CATHOLOCISM – ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Official Name:

Head Office location:

Current Leader:

Major Contact Details:

Bishop J.P. Pompallier led the seven French Marists, who were the first Catholics to enter Tonga in 1837 when they met King Taufa’ahau but were not given permission to stay in the Kingdom.

It was not until 1842, when they were successful with a permission to remain in Tonga. However, they made very slow progress due to lack of sympathies from the authorities as well as the Wesleyan Missionaries.

“A kind of breakthrough was the conversion of the Tu’I Tonga in 1851, even if this was due to his desire for reinforcing his independent identity when confronted with the drive of George Tupou I to complete hios political domination.” Winds of Change.

1852 – a war broke out as a matter of indigenous politics but with ‘strong religious    overstones’ :  “this eventually saw the Catholics on the losing side”

The Marists extended their activities in the following years but progress was still slow. It was until 1885, when trouble began to stir within the Wesleyan Church.

1892 – after 50 years of mission work, the Catholics established a total fellowship of 2,315.

The established fellowship was just a part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Central Oceania which was set up in 1842.

1935 – Tonga, together with Wallis and Futuna, was detached from the Vicariate Apostolic of Central Oceania.

1966 – Tonga became a single diocese.

“In 1922 the Catholic population in Tonga was about 13.500; organized into 13 parishes and served by 21 priests and 75 sisters.”

There used to be 1 priest in Auckland and one in the USA to serve the Tongan Catholics abroad. The missionary phase ended in 1972 when Fr. Patelesio Finau became the first local Bishop. Bishop Finau was a strong advocate of social justice. This allowed him to significantly broaden the role of a Pacific Church leader.

Beside being a strong and effective spiritual leader “he became the outspoken champion of social and economic reforms and ecumenism in Tonga and the South Pacific Region.” Winds of Change.

In 1991, he was elected as Chairman of the Pacific Conference of Churches during its sixth assembly in Vanuatu. This election underlined his growing role as a key person for ecumenism’s development.

“This was the first time a Catholic had been made head of a regional ecumenical body, anywhere in the world. Bishop Finau’s sudden death in 1993 was widely lamented as a great loss to the Pacific Churches.” Winds of Change.

Catholocism in Tonga presents itself there as a typical “opposition church” with an obvious vision for the future. Even if this impact is not always reflected in an increase of adherents, the movement of pro-democracy is growing, with Catholic priests as leading figures.

Just like the other Pacific Islands, small but growing charismatic group within it, is its biggest challenge. Representing 1% of Catholics, these Charismatic at the moment cooperate beyond their “denominational borders with other evangelical-fundamentalist- Pentecostal-charismatic Christians, but remain within the church structure.” Winds of Change.

However, their differences in theological and political agenda will lead soon or later to a major break. It is because it is diametrically opposed to the mainstream of Catholicism in Tonga.

 

[ref: http://www.tongatapu.net.to]
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