16 Jan 2015

Tonga's Cardinal says new role 'heavy responsibility'

2:56 pm on 16 January 2015

Tonga's new Cardinal says his role is a special blessing but also a big responsibility.

The Bishop of Tonga, Soane Patita Paini Mafi, is among the 20 new cardinals announced by Pope Francis earlier this month, as part of his efforts to reform the leadership of the Church.

Cardinal Mafi describes the role as another level of calling and says he is preparing for a lot of travel to Rome.

"It's a challenge certainly and to me it's an opportunity too - to learn and work together with others within the Cardinal Council. Yes, it is a heavy responsibility."

Soane Patita Paini Mafi will be among an elite group of cardinals who will have voting rights on the pope's successor.

He will be installed at a ceremony known as a consistory at the Vatican on the 14th of February.