Burundi: thousands attend memorial service for murdered papal nuncio

 Thousands thronged Regina Mundi cathedral in Bujumbura yesterday for the celebration in memory of Mgr Michael Courtney, the apostolic nuncio in Burundi who was assassinated on 29 December, the Missionary News Service report. The President of Burundi, Domitien Ndayizeye, numerous ministers and representatives of the diplomatic corps attended the service. Mgr Christophe Pierre, papal envoy in Uganda who has been standing in for Mgr Courtney since his death, presided at the concelebration, which saw the participation of dozens of local priests and missionaries. On 22 January, John Paul II appointed a new delegate to Burundi, Mgr Paul Richard Gallagher, former permanent observer for the Holy See to the Council of Europe. In his homily, the Archbishop of Bujumbura, Evariste Ngoyagoye, recalled Mgr Courtney's commitment to peace and justice. "The country is still grieving terribly," one parishioner told MISNA. "The attendance by so many people is further demonstration of the people's affection for Mgr Courtney." But, the promise made by the authorities to set up an international commission to investigate the assassination and identify responsibility has so far come to nothing. LC Source: MISNA

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