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Catholics mark war victory

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MORE than 1000 Catholics from around the country will remember their heroes and celebrate the victorious war against the Tongans on the island of Taveuni.

The war that happened 150 years ago and led by the late Tui Cakau — Ratu Golea Lalabalavu — is the pride of the church and the people of Taveuni.

And history says in the 1860s, before Ratu Golea went out to battle against Ma'afu and his people, he approached the Catholic French priest in Wairiki, Father Favre who gave a small cross to the paramount chief reminding him that the cross should be their weapon.

That cross still sits in the church of the Holy Cross Parish in Wairiki and the celebration will begin with a mass this weekend at Nava'aece'ece — a settlement in between Nawi and Vunikura Villages in Buca Bay area.

Vunikura Village elder Mika Tuitoga said a cross and an alter had been built in the area for the first mass.

"It is a special moment for us and it will be a time of reflecting our faith and walk with God.

"If our French priest depended on the cross for strength and a high chief accepted it trusting in God, then that should be an inspiration for us," said Mr Nawadra.

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong will close the ceremony next weekend.

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