God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

07.11.2010 AIDS Gala Berlin – and where is the bishop?

Again, I am guest at the German AIDS Gala in Berlin, the 17th of its kind. And again the German Oper Berlin is booked out and masses of people are flocking to attend this prestigious event. Michaela from Dresden is accompanying me to this event and after being picked up by the Shuttle Service at the hotel, it is once again a funny feeling to take the red carpet, letting the journalists and photographers guess who the couple is.. 🙂 Being asked how I felt about the feature of myself and HOPE Cape Town in the Berliner Morgenzeitung I must admit that I even didn’t know about it – nobody told me. Quick I realise that HOPE Cape Town will feature prominently this eve as one of the projects sponsored by the German AIDS Foundation. Brief chats with Her Highness, the Begum Aga Khan, the National foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his husband and others from the Board of Trustees follow before the programme starts. And as now expected, the chairperson of the board of trustees of the German AIDS Gala in Berlin, the Begum Aga Khan tells the audience about her visit at HOPE Cape Town last year – a film shows her and me visiting the Ithemba Ward and I wish all our HOPE Community Health Workers, senior staff and management could hear the applause as she congratulates the projects and the priest for their work down there in the Western Cape. These are moments were I would love to beam myself away for the time being – sometimes it is interesting enough for me difficult to hear public praise. But it is also the feeling of encouragement present.

The programme contains great opera – I do enjoy it and when the Opera Children’s choir sings “Laudate Domino” I suddenly realise that there is no official representative of the church. And if feels suddenly so completely wrong: National ministers, certainly all important people of the local and national business world, politicians and artists are present – showing their committment towards the battle against a pandemic which changed the world – celebrating also partly a project, which originated and is still support by a German-speaking Catholic community and no representative of my church is present. And I suddenly realise that also in Dresden the last five years there was no-show of the local bishop or his representative. The sorrows and the joy of the people are the sorrows and the joy of us Christians – I ask myself whether it is not poor judgement to be not present visible as a church at major events where people from so different walks of life unify and come together in this important cause. I suddenly feel sad a moment, but then the joy of the choir carries me away from it.

Congratulations to the German AIDS Foundation and all its helper for this great eve – and I am grateful that within one week I am able to attend to major fundraising galas bringing hope and future again to South Africa. A big part of the proceeds of Berlin are also going to HOPE Cape Town and supporting our work. Deo gratias.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Medical and Research, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HIV, AIDS and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and AIDS in Africa is often a challenge. Living in Africa has also its challenges. On the other hand I feel very much blessed having all the three. So you will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa and essential information and developments in the field of HIV and AIDS. And in between personal stories and thoughts. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me - blogs - "thinking loud" so to speak is a ways of communication and exchange of ideas.

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