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Tonga’s First Cardinal Installed in St Peter’s, Rome

Soani CardinalSoane Patita Paini Mafi became Tonga’s first Cardinal at a ceremony that took place at 11pm on Saturday 14th February New Zealand time.

Vatican Insider described the scene after the ceremony:

“Tonga’s first Cardinal was surrounded by the faithful and relatives who formed a chorus and were singing a traditional song at the top of their voices.”

“There is about 30 of them and they were wearing a traditional oversized white shirt with necklaces made of red stones.”

“They stood out because hanging from their necks was a photo taken about 20 years or so ago of the new cardinal surrounded, in shirtsleeves, by a large number of brothers and sisters.”

Just before the solemn celebration in St Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Mafi sat down with Philippa Hitchen to talk about the strong Christian faith in his country and about why the King and Queen of Tonga were also present to celebrate with him at Saturday’s Consistory.

Asked what the Church in Tonga can offer to the universal Church, the Cardinal talked about the simplicity of lifestyle and the sense of God in peoples’ lives.

Also he said family ties are still strong and there is a respect for the elders in society.

Cardinal Mafi said he met the King and Queen of Tonga for a regular New Year greeting on January 1st and learnt that they were planning a trip to Rome in February.

When he heard the news that he had been appointed a member of the College of  Cardinals, he realised that the consistory would take place during the same time as their visit, thus they were able to share in the joy and celebration for all the people of the Kingdom of Tonga.   

Source Cath News  www.cathnews.co.nz

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