St. Michael’s Welcomes Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga
Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga, Kingdom of Tonga, was born on 19 December 1961 in Nuku’alofa on the Island of Tongatapu, Tonga.
He earned a degree in divinity at the Pacific Regional Seminary in Fiji. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1991 and began serving in parish ministry. In 1998 he studied in the United States at Ignatius Loyola College, Maryland, where he earned a degree in pastoral counseling.
In 2001 he returned to the Pacific where he began serving as vice-rector at Pacific Regional Seminary in Fiji.
On 4 October 2007 he was ordained a bishop, subsequent to his appointment as Coadjutor of Tonga. On 18 April 2008 he became the Bishop of Tonga.
In 2008 he was elected chairperson for Caritas Tonga. That same year he began serving as chairperson at the Tonga National Forum of Church Leaders. He was elected president of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific in 2009. In 2012 he celebrated the 170th jubilee of the first Mass in Tonga and the 125th anniversary of Catholic education in the country.
In October 2012 he participated in the Synod on the New Evangelization.
He participated in the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2014) on The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, and appointed by Pope Francis he participated in the XIV Ordinary General Assembly on The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World (October 2015).
When he was created Cardinal he was the youngest and the first cardinal of his home country.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 14 February 2015, of the Title of Santa Paola Romana.
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.