THE only thing that came into Sister Maria Akeneta Nake's mind when she heard of the passing of her brother, Archbishop Petero Mataca, was his dedication and service to every Christian in Fiji.
The 89-year-old sister lives at the Sisters of our Lady of Nazareth Home in Wailoku and is the only sister left of the eight siblings.
"I am the elder sister of Pete, there are eight of us — four girls and four boys but we were the remaining ones, he was the sixth," Ms Nake said.
"It wasn't easy for me to hear the sad news of his passing, all I did was cry when I heard the news yesterday (Monday), especially when I learnt that he is now gone and I will be the only one left.
"However, our other siblings got married and their children are now following in our footsteps, two are priests and two are also Catholic sisters from our extended family.
"He left behind a legacy for everyone to follow not only in his family. He was a person of integrity, a person who loved to give teachings to church followers and to be true to what they do."
In a statement yesterday, Archbishop Father Peter Loy Chong said it was with deep sadness that the Roman Catholic Curia announced the passing of Archbishop Emeritus, Petero Mataca.
"The Catholic Church in Fiji and Rotuma has come a long way under Archbishop Mataca's guidance over the past 40 years. We thank him for his tireless commitment and in his own words we say: Sa dre ko Malolo. It is time to say goodbye," Father Loy Chong said.
In his condolence message, Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said Archbishop Mataca was a man of great integrity who was always prepared to take a stand for what is right.
He said it was sad that Archbishop Mataca did not live to see the first genuine democracy he so passionately believed in take hold in Fiji after the general election in September.
Archbishop Mataca died on Monday at the Suva Private Hospital after a long illness.