Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 5:35 PM on Thursday 24 April

/ Front page / News

Pope picks Archbishop

Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, December 21, 2012

FATHER Doctor Peter Loy Chong, a diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of Suva, is the next Archbishop of Suva.

Pope Benedict XVI announced this at the Vatican in Rome on Wednesday.

He will replace long-serving Archbishop of Suva, Petero Mataca. Pope Benedict XVI has also accepted the resignation of Archbishop Mataca.

The 79-year-old prelate had tendered his resignation upon reaching the age of 75, in conformity with the church's canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law.

Father Chong was born on January 30, 1961, at Korovou, Tailevu. He comes from a family of seven, three boys and four girls.

His selection to head the church in Fiji, Rotuma, Rabi and Kioa came as a surprise to some of his family members in Suva yesterday.

His elder sister, Mary Mow, said they were "shocked" when the news was relayed to them.

"We are excited and worried at the same time," Ms Mow said.

"This is a huge responsibility for him because he is young.

"We've talked about this with our family that Father will need our support and prayers more than anything else."

Yesterday, his predecessor, retired Archbishop Mataca called on all clergy, religious and lay people to support through prayers and action for the new Archbishop of Suva.

A former lecturer at the Pacific Regional Seminary, Father Chong recently completed doctoral studies in the US and is expected to return to the country this week.

The Archbishop-elect received his primary school at Natovi Catholic Mission School and went on to St John's College, Cawaci, Levuka, for his secondary education.

He entered the Pacific Regional Seminary in 1984.

He was ordained a priest on January 11, 1992, by retired Archbishop Mataca at Natovi Catholic Mission, Tailevu.

After his ordination, he served pastorally in the parishes of Lautoka, Vatukoula and Solevu before being sent for further studies to the Jesuit School of Theology at the Santa Clara University in California, US.

Last September, he attained his doctorate in Theology Magna Cum Laude. He will be elevated to archbishop early in 2013.