Rockville Centre, New York, July 18, 2006 – Bishop William Murphy will travel to Africa Friday for a Catholic Peacebuilding Network (CPN) meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi. He will join about 50 others to work towards peace using Catholic social teaching for five days.
This is the third annual international conference for CPN, a voluntary network of practitioners, academics, clergy and laity who focus on local peacebuilding through collaboration with those of other religious traditions.
“This year the CPN will seek to strengthen the bonds of people especially in Africa but also the bonds that bring likeminded people together from around the world,” Bishop Murphy wrote in his weekly column in The Long Island Catholic newspaper.
Bishop Murphy will attend the CPN conference as a delegate of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops along with Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahasee Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ. The USCCB has worked with Catholics, laity, religious and clerics from the war-torn country for about four years to build peace.
Ten years ago, civil war ravaged the colonized and ethnically divided Burundi, resulting in the deaths of about 300,000 people. But last year, peaceful elections were held and a new president from another party was elected.
Bishop Murphy complimented their progress, but said fear, violence and economic strife still threaten the country.
“Looking at the challenges that the Church faces in Burundi gives us the opportunity of learning how better to deal with tensions in our own culture,” he wrote. “While we can bring to the Church certain resources, especially in education in the broadest sense, they can give us insights into how the various elements of society, especially the family and local Christian communities, contribute to the future good of society.”
The CPN group intends to spread a spirit of healing to the people of Burundi through Catholic morals and faith, according to Bishop Murphy.
“The solidarity we seek to deepen ultimately is the fruit of communion, that gift that Jesus makes to His Church which is ours whenever we celebrate the Eucharist.”
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit www.drvc.org
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
516-678-5800, ext. 625