Roman Catholic Diocese of Tonga

Diocese of Tonga

Dioecesis Tongana
Diocese of Tonga Coat of arms.jpg
Coat of arms of the diocese
TerritoryTonga and Niue
Ecclesiastical provinceImmediately exempt to the Holy See
Area947 km2 (366 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2011)
17,000 (7.6%)
DenominationCatholic Church
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
Established12 June 1966
CathedralCathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Tonga (Tongan: Malia Tupu Imakulata)
Patron saintThe Immaculate Conception
Secular priests38
Current leadership
BishopSoane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga, Cardinal-Priest of Santa Paola Romana
Bishops emeritusSoane Lilo Foliaki, S.M.
Tonga sm04.gif

The Diocese of Tonga (Latin: Dioecesis Tongana) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in Tonga. It was erected as part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Central Oceania in 1842, had subsequent name changes in 1937 and 1957 before being elevated to the Diocese of Tonga on June 21, 1966.[1] Its cathedra is found in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Tongan: Malia Tupu 'Imākulata) in the capital Nuku'alofa. It is immediately exempt to the Holy See and not part of an ecclesiastical province.

On 4 January 2015, Pope Francis announced that he would make Tonga's bishop, Soane Patita Paini Mafi, a cardinal on 14 February of that year.[2][3]


Along with the rest of the country, in the early Twenty-First Century the tiny Catholic community of some 15,000 has been considered threatened with the loss of its home due to climate change.[4]



Coadjutor bishops

  • Guillaume Douarre [fr], S.M. (1842-1847), as Coadjutor vicar apostolic; did not succeed to see; appointed Vicar Apostolic of Melanesia (in fact Nouvelle-Calédonie, New Caledonia), Pacific (Oceania)
  • Aloys Elloy, S.M. (1863-1877), as Coadjutor vicar apostolic
  • Armand Olier, S.M. (1903-1906), as Coadjutor vicar apostolic
  • Patelisio Punou-Ki-Hihifo Finau, S.M. (1971-1972)
  • Soane Patita Paini Mafi (2007-2008); future Cardinal

Coat of arms

The coat of arms was designed by Marek Sobola, a heraldic artist from Žilina (Slovakia), who also made the diocesan seal and flag.[5] These are based on the Tonga flag and a Fleur-de-lis, symbol of the Immaculate Conception in Christian iconography. The coat of arms was adopted officially on September 21, 2017.[5]


  1. ^ Cheney, David M. "Tonga (Diocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  2. ^ "Annuncio di Concistoro per la creazione di nuovi Cardinali" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  3. ^ Matangi, Tonga online (2015-02-16). "Tongans celebrate first Cardinal". Matangi Tonga. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  4. ^ "Pope appoints 20 new cardinals". BBC News. 2015-02-14. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  5. ^ a b Sobola, Marek. "Erb Tongskej diecézy – Coat of arms of Diocese of Tonga". (in Slovak). Retrieved 2018-02-04.

External links

"Diocese of Tonga". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2015-08-01.

See also

List of Roman Catholic dioceses in Oceania

Coordinates: 21°08′S 175°12′W / 21.133°S 175.200°W / -21.133; -175.200

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