1 Jul 2014

Long serving Fiji Catholic leader dies

2:10 pm on 1 July 2014

Fiji's retired Catholic leader, Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca, has died.

Archbishop Mataca retired in 2012, being replaced by Father Peter Loy Chong.

The Fiji Sun reports that the 81 year old died at the Suva Private Hospital on Monday morning.

He had been consecrated as the Catholic Church's first indigenous Fijian bishop in 1974.

The Pacific Conference of Churches general secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, says Archbishop Mataca had lived a life dedicated to the service of God and the church.

He says under his leadership the Catholic Church made significant contributions to Fiji's national development including the building of 12 secondary schools.

Reverend Pihaatae says Archbishop Mataca was committed to seeing that the local church was self-supporting and he made every effort to bring young men into the ministry as priests.

He says he was also passionate about social justice and addressing the needs of the under-privileged.