Pacific Conference of Churches
ArchBishop Mataca's Death Noted with Sadness
The Pacific Conference of Churches notes with sorrow the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca, former primate of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva. PCC General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said Archbishop Mataca had lived a life dedicated to service of God and the Church.
"Under his leadership the Roman Catholic church made significant contributions to national development including the building of 12 secondary schools," Rev Pihaatae said. "Archbishop Mataca was committed to seeing that the local church was self-supporting and he made every effort to bring amoung young men into the ministry of priests. He was also passionate about social justice and addressing the needs of the under-priviledged. For these reasons he will be remembered by the Christian community."
"We give thanks to God for the gift of Archbishop Mataca to the Catholic church, to Fiji and the Pacific and we pray that his example will inspire young people to the ministry"
Archbishop Mataca died yesterday (Monday) at the Suva Private Hospital after a long illness. Rev Pihaate said Archbishop Mataca would be remembered for the emphasis he put on localizing positions with the local church at a time when Fiji was taking its initial steps as an independent nation.
"This was an act of self-determination from which regional religious leaders can take note," Rev Pihaatae said. "It is important that churhes be guided by the wisdom of the local people. Archbishop Mataca was a pioneer in local staffing and contextualizing the Gospel message in order to touch the lives as of many ordinary people as possible."
Apart from creating secondary schools, the late archbishop was instrumental in the creation of the Catechist Training Centre in Navesi and the introduction vocational colleges run by the Montfort Brothers of Saint Gabriel at Veisari and Savusavu.