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Mataca Passes On

July 01
09:22 2014

Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca after retiring as head of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Chong hails him as ardent advocate of the local church


The death has occurred in Suva of Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca.
He was 81 years old.
The late Archbishop Emeritus Mataca died at the Suva Private Hospital yesterday morning.
When contacted yesterday head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Chong confirmed that Archbishop Emeritus Mataca had passed away.
Archbishop Chong said last night: “It is with deep sadness that the Roman Catholic Curia announces the passing of Archbishop Emeritus, Petero Mataca.
“Archbishop PeteroMataca was called to rest at 10am today (June 30) at the Suva Private Hospital.
“He was born in Cawaci, Ovalau, on April 28, 1933. After his education at St. John’s College in Levuka, Petero Mataca was ordained a priest on 20 December, 1959. On December 3, 1974, he was ordained the first iTaukei bishop in an event which signified a historical turning point for the Roman Catholic Church in Fiji.
“Following his ordination as Bishop and later as Archbishop of Suva on April 10, 1976, Archbishop Mataca continued to be an ardent advocate of the concept of local Church.
“In his 1975 Pastoral Plan, he said establishing the local Church should be a primary task of the Church in Fiji.
“The model of Church during the early period of Archbishop Mataca’s term reflected a Church whose self-understanding was self-ministering, self-supporting, and self-propagating.
“Archbishop Mataca also pushed for vocation, established the Catechists’ Training Centre at Navesi and approved the establishment of six secondary schools on Vanua Levu and six on VitiLevu.
“Archbishop Mataca held the Archdiocesan Synod signifying a peak moment of grace in the history of the local Church in Fiji.
“He confirmed the Church was becoming self-propagating as the flock showed that they wanted to be a Church committed to mission.
“He added that the flock had come to realise that the Church did not belong to the missionaries but to them – for they are the Church.
“During this era, Fiji’s diverse cultures and political crises posed new challenges to the Catholic Church’s mission.
“Consequently, under Archbishop Mataca’s leadership, the Catholic Church took particular interest in addressing social, cultural and political issues.
“The Catholic Church in Fiji and Rotuma has come a long way under Archbishop Mataca’s guidance over the past 40 years.
“We thank him for his tireless commitment and in his own words we say: Sa dre ko Malolo.It is time to say goodbye.
“Eternal Rest Grant to Him O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May His Soul Rest in Peace.”


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