THE Vatican also joined in the celebration of the life of the late Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca.
In a condolence message from Rome read out at the Sacred Heart Cathedral yesterday, Pope Francis sent his condolence message to Archbishop Peter Loy Chong and the whole archdiocese of Suva.
The message sent through the Nuncio office in Wellington stated that the Holy Father was saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Mataca and they wished him well as the church gathered to celebrate his life and his commitment and service to the church.
In his sermon at the resurrection mass, Fr Chong recalled the days before Archbishop Emeritus Mataca's passing.
"Archbishop Mataca had the church embedded in his heart and soul. This was reflected in how he envisioned his funeral," Fr Chong said.
"He had initially requested to be buried in the bishop's tomb at Cawaci, Ovalau, and then thought of being buried with diocesan priests in Vatuwaqa cemetery and finally he decided to be buried next to Father John Clerkin at the Suva Old Cemetery as he was his mentor and he had groomed him.
"Archbishop Mataca's plans for his funeral reflect his desire to be close to his brother priests and the church. Despite all his funeral wishes, he said "Au tu ga e na vakarorogo (I will listen)."
Two archbishops, four bishops and 50 priests from the Oceania region and Fiji conducted the vigil and resurrection masses for the late archbishop.