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Tuesday, December 30, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - Following is the Holy Father's telegram sent to Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Gitega, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Burundi, upon the assassination of Archbishop Michael A. Courtney, apostolic nuncio in the same country, yesterday afternoon:

'Deeply saddened by the tragic news of the violent death of Archbishop Michael A. Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi, I would like to express my spiritual closeness and my compassion to the Episcopal Conference and the Catholic Church in Burundi. I ask the Lord of life to accept him into His kingdom of light and peace, he who manifested the daily concern of the Successor of Peter for more than three years to all the citizens of Burundi and I invite everyone to commit themselves to follow Christ, rejecting violence, which is a path without a future, and to build up lasting peace, based on justice, respect for others and security for all. As a sign of comfort, I impart the apostolic blessing on you and all the people affected by this drama so that God may watch over you in peace and hope.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general intention for the month of January is: 'That all men and women may recognize that they are members of God's one family and end wars, injustice and discrimination among themselves.'

His missionary intention is: 'That every mission Church may engage itself in the training of apostolic personnel.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - Following is a communique from the Secretariat of State, published late on Monday, December 29, upon the news of the assassination of Archbishop Michael Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi:

'The tragic event took place in Minago, a town 50 kilometers from the capital, Bujumbura, where the prelate had gone in order to carry out pastoral obligations.

'The automobile in which the pontifical representative was traveling this afternoon, with a priest, wounded in the attack, a driver and another person, was shot at with fire arms from a nearby hill. Archbishop Courtney, who was taken with great difficulty to the closest hospital in Bujumbura, did not regain consciousness due to serious wounds which provoked an uncontrollable hemorrhage. Despite the doctors' efforts, the prelate died during emergency surgery.

'Upon hearing the news, the Holy Father recollected himself in prayer, entrusting to Christ, the Good Shepherd, the soul of this faithful and generous servant of the Church and the Holy See, who died while carrying out his difficult mission. Afterward he conveyed to the family members of the late archbishop his profound sentiments of participation in the sorrow that afflicts them.

'Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney, of Irish origin, was appointed apostolic nuncio of Burundi by His Holiness John Paul II on August 18, 2000. Previously, he had lent his inestimable collaboration in pontifical representations in South Africa, Senegal, India, Yugoslavia and Egypt. Before being appointed to Bujumbura, for almost five years he served as permanent observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe at Strasbourg, France.

'With the death of Archbishop Courtney, the list of missionaries who have given their life for the Gospel during 2003 grows longer. And now, for the first time, the name of a pontifical representative is added to that list of generous faithful. May the Lord grant them eternal rest!'


VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - According to a communique from the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum,' the Holy Father, 'after remarks made during the Angelus on December 28, when he encouraged nations to be generous to the populations afflicted by the devastating earthquake in Iran, wanted to send ' through the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' ' a concrete sign of solidarity to the Iranian people.'

'With this gesture,' reads the communique, 'His Holiness wishes to support and encourage the rescue efforts for all those who suffer due to the consequences of the seismic catastrophe.'

'Cor Unum' is an office in the Roman Curia that is dedicated to coordinating the activity of organizations, associations and ecclesiastical groups that do charity work to help people and countries that are affected by natural calamities and war, and that fosters human advancement in developing countries.
Keys: ;EARTHQUAKE IRAN;...;CON-CU ;VIS;20031230;Word: 150;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Velasio De Paolis, C.S., dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Urban University, as secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, elevating him at the same time to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in 1935 in Sonnino, Italy and made his perpetual profession in the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians) in 1958, and was ordained a priest in 1961. He succeeds Bishop Francesco Saverio Salerno, whose resignation from the office of the secretariat of the same tribunal the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

NA;@;...;DE PAOLIS; SALERNO ;VIS;20031230;Word: 100;
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