The Tongan government has declared Monday 2, March as a national public holiday in honour of Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi.
Cardinal Mafi was the first Tongan priest in the Diocese of Tonga and Niue to be elevated to the cardinalate in February 15. Cardinal Mafi is eligible to take part in the election the next Pope.
In a statement from the government it said: “Embracing the Moral Legitimacy of the Kingdom of Tonga being a Christian Nation, and indeed the appointment of first Tongan National as Catholic Cardinal, the Office of the Prime Minister is pleased to inform the public, and the people of Tonga that the Cabinet approved the declaration of Public Holiday to the entirety of the Kingdom of Tonga, and to be held on Monday 2nd of March2015.
“As per the Cabinet decision concerned, Monday the 2nd March 2015 shall be declared a National Public Holiday, and that the services of the Government of Tonga shall be closed to the Public in this respect. This special decision is a one-off, which is based on the honoring of the appointment of His Eminence Cardinal Soane Patita Mafi to the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church”.