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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Jan. 20) – The Catholic Church in both Samoas is mourning the loss of Cardinal Pio Taofinuu.

The cardinal died at the age of 82 after midnight last night in Apia.

Cardinal Pio was the first Pacific islander to be ordained Cardinal.

This was in 1973, three years after the first and only visit by a Pope to Samoa.

Also visited American Samoa that year.

Cardinal Pio was ordained a priest in 1954 and became a bishop in 1968.

Cardinal Pio is largely responsible for the inculturation of the services of the Mass incorporating traditions such as the presentation of sua, the ifoga and presentation of ulas during Eucharist celebrations.

The Cardinal was was also effective in talking young men and women to take up religious vocations.

The Vicar general of the Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago Father Viane Etuale says funeral services for the Cardinal will be held next weekend in Apia.

January 23, 2006

Radio New Zealand International:

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