Cardinal Mafi wants to rebuild Catholic primary school system, but money a problem

Cardinal Mafi of the Catholic Diocese of Tonga and Niue said he had a vision the church could revive its primary school education in Tonga as the church celebrates 151 years since the beginning of Catholic education in the kingdom.

However, the Cardinal said reviving the Catholic primary school system would need a lot of money, but the church was not financially prepared for the task.

August last year marked 150 years since Fr Lamaze established St Stanislaus College and a primary school at ‘Ahopanilolo in 1865.

Cardinal Mafi said the Catholic educational system was reviewed between 2013-2014 in a programme led by professionals from the Australian Catholic University in Sydney.

“This was part of the attempts to get the true picture of the status of Catholic Education in different aspects of life to set up a vision for its future,” Cardinal Mafi said.

He said the church’s stance on academic education was laid out in the Vatican II  Declaration on Christian Education,  Gravissimum Educationis.

The centre piece of this declaration was based on dignity of men and women and their godly rights as creation of God. Catholic education was intended to educate the whole person and not just academically.

Cardinal Mafi said this was why Catholic education put greater emphasis on technical education today.

He said he particularly valued the importance of fostering children while they were young because one of the aims of Catholic education in Tonga was to make sure it is  “heavenly” and “eternal.”

The prelate said  Christ’s person as the Son of God who was born to eternal life would always be the basis of Catholic education.

According to the history the first 50 years of Catholic education from 1865 to 1914 primary schools were established, along with colleges.

In the second 50 years from 1864 to 1914, more primary schools were established in villages and outer islands. The most important event in that period was the inclusion of the New Zealand education syllabus in the Catholic education in Tonga.

The third 50 years began with the closure of primary schools and the return of children to Government Primary Schools.

This year in December St Peter Channel College will mark its 50th anniversary since its establishment by  late Bishop Patelisio Punou  ki Hihifo Finau in 1966.

Catholic school establishments in order of chronology

1865   First Catholic School established, St. Stanislaus College, ‘Ahopanilolo Ma’ufanga, Fr. Lamaze
1881   Beato Channel College, Ma’ufanga, Fr. Castagnier
1881   Ma’ufanga, Sr. Mary Xavier & Sr. Mary Saint Pierre.
1882  Mu’a, Sr. Mary Louise (Ako Nofoma’u).
1883  Vava’u, Sr. Mary Pierre.
1884  Hihifo/Kolovai, St. Mary Xavier.
1886 ‘Api Fo’ou College, Ma’ufanga, Fr. Thomas (Boarding school )
1891  Niua Fo’ou, 2 Wallisian Sisters, (one of whom was the niece of Queen Amelia of Wallis).
1893  Ha’apai, St. Mary St. Yves.
1899  St Joseph School, Ma’ufanga (English Speaking)
1905  St Joseph School Nuku’alofa, Sr. Mary Germaine smsm

1915  – 1964

1924  Houma, Sr. Mary Angele & Sr. Katalina Jennings.
1926  Niua Toputapu, Sr. Mary Albine & Sr. Euphemie.
1949 ‘Eua, St. Mary & St. John & Sr. Malia Makalita.
1962 St. John’s High School, Makamaka, Bishop Rodgers
1964 St. Anne’s High School, Ma’ufanga, Sr. Catherine Siena

1965  – 2014

1966  St. Mary’s High School, Ma’ufanga, Sr. Mary Bernardine &  Sr.Yvette smsm
1966  St. Peter Chanel College, Vava’u, Bishop Patelisio Punou  ki Hihifo Finau
1968  St. Mary’s Home Science School, Ma’ufanga, change and renamed as  Ahopanilolo Technical Institute,  Sr. Malia Eva smsm
1970  St. Joseph Business College, Nuku’alofa, Sr. Clare Aldridge smsm
1975  Takuilau College, Lapaha, Fr. Lava ‘Enosi
1977  St. Joseph Community College, Ha’apai, Mr. Taniela Fe’ao
1977  Fualu Rural Training Center, Pea, Pousima Tu’umoto’oa
1996  Montfort Technical Institute, Popua, Br. Joseph Kottor
1997  Sacred Heart Pre-School, Vava’u, Sr. Anita Taulangovaka
1999  St Theresa of the Child Jesus Pre-School, Houma, Sr. Mataiasi  Afungia
2008  St. Francis of Assissi Pre-School, Nuku’alofa, Fatai Leger
2011  Mary Immaculate Pre- School, Ma’ufanga, Monsignor ‘Ita Koloamatangi

The main points

  • Cardinal Mafi of the Catholic Diocese of Tonga and Niue said he had a vision the church could revive its primary school education in Tonga as the church celebrates 151 years since the beginning of Catholic education in the kingdom.
  • However, the Cardinal said reviving the Catholic primary school system would need a lot of money, but the church was not financially prepared for the task.
  • August last year marked 150 years since Fr Lamaze established St Stanislaus College and a primary school at ‘Ahopanilolo in 1865.
  • Cardinal Mafi said the Catholic educational system was reviewed between 2013-2014 in a programme led by professionals from the Australian Catholic University in Sydney.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news