As the thoughts of many in the United Kingdom turn towards the continent of Africa, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, was yesterday leaving Liverpool for a ten day pastoral visit to the Central African state of Burundi. Whilst in Burundi he is to be the guest of Archbishop Paul Gallagher, a Liverpool priest who now works as Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi, based in the capital, Bujumbura. During his visit the Archbishop will meet the Burundian Catholic Bishops and will deliver lectures at the Gran Seminaire Saint Cure d'Ars in Bujumbura and at the Light University. He is to visit the Gatumba Feeding Centre, together with HIV/Aids and Youth Projects; he will also meet with Catholic Relief Agencies working in the country. His schedule includes a local Parish Mass and a visit to the central city of Gitega. Archbishop Kelly said: "Over the next few days increasingly tens of thousands of people in this country will be asked to take to heart the story of Africa. It is a blessing for the Archdiocese of Liverpool and the whole Roman Catholic community in England and Wales that a Liverpool priest, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, represents the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in Burundi. I will be spending these coming days with him and I know from the memories of visits I have made in the past to Africa that I will be both gladdened and challenged by what I will see and hear. May these coming days mean that Africa will not be forgotten." Archbishop Paul Gallagher was born in Liverpool and educated at St Francis Xavier's College in Woolton. Ordained By Archbishop Derek Worlock in 1977 he served in Fazakerley before becoming a member of the Vatican Diplomatic Service. Since 1984 he has held posts in Tanzania, Uruguay, the Philippines, the Vatican Secretariat of State in Rome and with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The Vatican announced his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi in January 2004. With a population of six million the agricultural and mineral rich state of Burundi is advancing towards democracy after years of widespread violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions in the country. Campaigning is at present underway for Parliamentary elections following municipal elections held earlier this month, although the latest ceasefire negotiated between the Government of President Domitien Ndayizeye and the country's remaining rebel group, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL), remains fragile. Archbishop Kelly returns to Liverpool on Sunday 3 July. Source: Archdiocese of Liverpool
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