Tongan Bishop To Be Made A Cardinal This Weekend

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Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi elevated by Pope Francis

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 10, 2015) – Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi (53) will be made Cardinal at a consistory in Rome on Saturday, February 14, making him Tonga’s first as named by Pope Francis.

As the youngest cardinal-designate, he was among 20 men announced by the Pope to be consecrated as Cardinals.

The Catholic Church head office in Nuku’alofa today said following the consistory, the Pope will lead the first mass with the new Cardinals on Sunday, February 15.

Meanwhile, Tonga’s King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u will also be in Rome this weekend.

On a separate visit, the King is expected to make an address at the 38th Session of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Governing Council on Monday, February 16 at the IFAD headquarters in Rome. He is accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Food, Forest and Fisheries, Semisi Fakahau.

It is understood at this stage that the Queen might attend the program for the Cardinals.

Bishop Mafi who will become the youngest member of the College of Cardinals will be able to vote in the election of new Popes until 2042. He is expected to return to Nuku’alofa on February 26.

The Catholic Church is planning to celebrate his new Cardinal position with traditional feasting and dancing on April 11, after the lent season in Nuku’alofa.

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