Archbishop Courtney was murdered on December 29 by Hutu rebels, and his funeral was held in the cathedral of the capital city of Bujumbura on December 31..- On Thursday afternoon, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, celebrated a Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Archbishop Michael Courtney, Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi.
In his homily, Cardinal Sodano read part of the message that Burundi's seven bishops wrote after the nuncio's death. “Day and night, without ceasing, Archbishop Michael Courtney helped the people of Burundi to re-establish understanding and harmony among themselves through dialogue.”
“In this time of trial,” said Cardinal Sodano, “I would like to repeat Cardinal Arinze's words to the faithful who filled the church in Nenagh in Killaloe, Ireland, where Archbishop Courtney was born: ‘Our faith guides us, especially in painful moments such as this one. This faith is our faith in the Resurrection, it is faith in Divine Providence, it is faith in the eternal reward which awaits us in Paradise.”
The secretary of State emphasized how the late archbishop "taught us this art of Christian living. A son of the noble land of Ireland, he bore witness to his solid faith on the pathways of the world. In the footsteps of Christ, the Good Shepherd, he sacrificed himself for the people of Burundi, where the Pope had sent him as an apostle of peace.”