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Thursday, 15 November 1973


Mr. Ambassador,

The high sentiments that animate you on the threshold of your mission to the Holy See arouse deep satisfaction in us. Thanking you for this warm tribute, we bid you a cordial welcome and hope to see you carry out here the noble programme you formulate: to establish, in a frank and permanent dialogue, a closer collaboration between the Holy See and the Republic of Burundi.

Yes, we have the good of your country close at heart. Its spiritual good in the first place; how could we forget the flourishing Christian community of Burundi, which recently celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Catholic Church? It has known an extremely rapid advancement and a religious fervour by which the riche, of ancestral sensibility and wisdom were imbued.

Faith and piety are inseparable from the pursuit of justice, peace and charity. The Church of Burundi wishes to work for the full development and happiness of all the inhabitants of Burundi, and we, too, are at its side in this human project. The first condition as Your Excellency stressed, is concord and friendship among all the peoples. We rejoice with you to know that the country is once more at peace. Like your bishops, we felt, indeed, a deep emotion at the events that so deeply perturbed the life of your fellow-countrymen. We made a point of offering our help, spiritual and material, to all the victims, and of proposing our contribution to the re-establishment of peace, by all the means at our disposal.

Hope has returned with calm, now wounds must heal. We have the firm hope that the efforts made on all sides will succeed in doing so. The longed-for unity can be consolidated only in love, in trust and forgiveness, in respect of the dignity of all persons and all races, in a desire of cooperation in which everyone can feel proud to be Burundians and to work according to his capacities for the common progress, promoted by concord with other nations.

This is the fervent prayer we raise to the Lord. Our best wishes are addressed to the President of the Republic whom we thank for his kindness, and to those who, with him, are responsible for the good of all the citizens. Our best wishes go also to all the sons of this noble country, which is so dear to us. We implore the benefits of the God of love and peace on everyone and on yourself, Mr. Ambassador.

*ORa n.48 p.2.


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