Burundi Bishops Welcome New Papal Nuncio

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BUJUMBURA, Burundi, APRIL 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- All of Burundi's bishops gathered to welcome Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the new papal nuncio who succeeds the slain Archbishop Michael Courtney.



Archbishop Gallagher, 50, received a warm welcome Wednesday at the Bujumbura airport, though the news of his arrival had not been made public, sources told the Missionary Service News Agency.

His predecessor, Irish-born Archbishop Courtney, 58, was killed Dec. 29, victim of an ambush in the Minago region, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital.

Despite the government's assurances and a request of the Burundi ecclesial community, no official investigative commission has been established to shed light on Archbishop Courtney's death.

On Jan. 22, John Paul II named Monsignor Gallagher, a native of Liverpool, England, to replace the murdered nuncio. He was ordained an archbishop last month.

A priest since 1977, Paul Gallagher entered the Holy See's diplomatic service in 1984. He served in the apostolic nunciatures of Tanzania, Uruguay and the Philippines, as well as in the Vatican Secretariat of State's section for relations with states.

In 2000 he was also appointed special envoy with the functions of permanent observer to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, a post that Archbishop Courtney had also held since 1995.