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.'
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