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Soane Patita Paini Mafi

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His Eminence and Lordship

Soane Patita Paini Mafi
Bishop of Tonga
The cardinal in Rome on 23 October 2015.
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed18 April 2008
Installed21 April 2008
PredecessorSoane Lilo Foliaki
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santa Paola Romana (2015-)
Ordination29 June 1991
by Patelisio Punou-Ki-Hihifo Finau
Consecration4 October 2007
by Soane Lilo Foliaki
Created cardinal14 February 2015
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Soane Patita Paini Mafi

(1961-12-19) 19 December 1961 (age 62)
Previous post(s)
MottoKe Loloto e Tui
(Deepen the Faith)
Coat of armsSoane Patita Paini Mafi's coat of arms
Ordination history of
Soane Patita Paini Mafi
Priestly ordination
Date29 June 1991
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorSoane Lilo Foliaki, SM
Co-consecratorsAlapati Lui Mataeliga
Petero Mataca
Date4 October 2007
Elevated byPope Francis
Date14 February 2015
Styles of
Soane Patita Paini Mafi
Reference styleHis Eminence and Lordship[1]
Spoken styleYour Eminence and Lordship
Informal styleCardinal

Soane Patita Paini Mafi (Tongan pronunciation: [soaːne patita paɪni mafi]) (born 19 December 1961) is the fourth Roman Catholic Bishop of Tonga.[2] At the age of 53, on 14 February 2015, he was appointed by Pope Francis as the first ever cardinal from Tonga and he became on that date the youngest member of the College of Cardinals[3] with the title of cardinal priest assigned to the titular church of Santa Paola Romana.[4][5]

Early life


Mafi was born into a strongly Catholic family. His father and grandfather were catechists. He grew up in Tonga and, as a young man, joined a youth group at his parish in Kolofo'ou near the capital Nuku'alofa on the main island of Tongatapu. He studied for the priesthood at the Pacific Regional Seminary in Suva, Fiji. He was ordained a priest in 1991 at the age of 29.[6]



He then spent four years in parish work on the Tongan island of Ha'apai. In 1995 Bishop Foliaki appointed him Vicar-General of the diocese at the age of 34. He was only 5 years ordained.

He spent three years studying religious education at Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland, graduating in 2000. He was then stationed for six years in Suva (Fiji), engaged in the formation training of local priests.[6]

Coat of arms of Diocese of Tonga



Mafi was appointed coadjutor bishop of Tonga in June 2007 and was consecrated bishop in that year. When he succeeded Bishop Soane Lilo Foliaki as Bishop of Tonga on 18 April 2008, he became the first diocesan priest to be bishop of the diocese of Tonga.[6] His three predecessors were members of the Society of Mary. He participated in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization held on October 5–19, 2014. Mafi has been president of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific since 2010.[3]



On 14 February 2015, Pope Francis appointed Mafi a cardinal[7] with the title of Cardinal-Priest of Santa Paola Romana. On 13 April 2015, he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development.[8]

Honours and awards

National honours

See also



  1. ^ a b "Royal orders presented at Palace". Matangi Tonga. 1 August 2008. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  2. ^ "MAFI Card. Soane Patita Paini". Vatican Press Office. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b Christopher Lamb, "Red hats for a global Church", The Tablet, 8 January 2014 (Retrieved 11 January 2015)
  4. ^ "Consistoro Ordinario Pubblico Del 14 Febraio 2015 Assegnazione Dei Titoli E Delle Diaconie Ai Nuovoi Cardinali". Vatican website. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Pope Francis appoints 20 new cardinals". BBC News. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Peter Grace, First-ever cardinal appointed for Tonga", NZ Catholic, 15 January 2015, p. 1.
  7. ^ Patrick Downes (January 28, 2016). "Hawaii welcomes Tonga's first, church's youngest cardinal". hawaiicatholicherald.com. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Olsen, Simone (May 2015). "Roman Curia appointments for Oceania cardinals". Wel-Com. Wellington. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Tonga
Preceded by
titular church established
Cardinal Priest of Santa Paola Romana