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Biographical notes

[Updated: 21.01.2006]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


TAOFINU'U Card. Pio, S.M.




Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u, Archbishop emeritus of Samoa-Apia, (Oceania) was born of indigenous parents on 8 December 1923 in Falealupo, on the island of Savai’i (Western Samoa). After his early studies at the minor seminary of Moatioa, he went to the seminary of Wallis Island and concluded his preparation of philosophy and theology at the Marist Fathers of Green Meadows, New Zealand. Returning to his native island, he was ordained a priest on 8 December 1954.

A few years later he entered the Society of Mary and did his noviatiate in New York. 

On his return to Western Samoa in 1964 he was nominated vicar of Bishop Pearce, apostolic vicar of Samoa and Tokelau and when in 1966 the diocese of Apia was erected he was nominated vicar general. On 11 January 1968 he was named Bishop of Apia (in 1975 the diocese assumed the name Samoa and Tokelau), thus becoming the first Polynesian Bishop in the history of the Church. In this diocese, with a territory that covers: Western Samoa, American Samoa and the Tokelau Islands, his activity has been non-stop, creating numerous secondary schools and institutions of professional formation, demonstrating dedication to the apostolate and in serving the poor and elderly, reorganizing the seminary and founded a theology institute for the formation of deacons and catechists. With the intent to promote economic independence for those living in the diocese, he set aside 3,000 acres of the dioceses’ property for the construction of a large cheese factory.

It was from Apia that Pope Paul VI made his missionary appeal to the world on 29 November 1970, during his trip to the Far East, and, as a mark of appreciation for his honor, Bishop Taofinu’u led a group of 24 Samoan pilgrims to Rome for Mission Sunday 1971.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the Consistory of 5 March 1973, of the Title of St. Onofrio (St. Humphrey).

Archbishop of Samoa-Apia and Tokelau, 10 September 1982 (title of see changed to Samoa-Apia on 26 June 1992).

President Delegate at the Special Assembly for Oceania of the Synod of Bishops, 22 November - 12 December 1998.

16 November 2002, Archbishop emeritus of Samoa-Apia.

Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u died on 19 January 2006.

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