God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Thoughts, inside, comments of a Catholic priest

Moments in between…

“How was the holiday?” – a lot of people ask when I am returning home after weeks of being overseas. And even if I nicely tell them that traveling for me means work, it seems that I cannot get through.  They have read also about the HOPE Gala Dresden, the jet-set and glamor, they know that I meet stars, starlets and politicians.. and somehow that translates into “fun under the sun”.

It is difficult to explain, that HOPE Cape Town only runs it’s business when people are donating money and that there must be that link between those who have and those who have not. It seems impossible to relate that waking up every second night in a different hotel room, meeting different people all day and most evening along can drain the last drop of energy out of your body.

That said, of course, there is the fun part, the parties, the laughter, the ease of life which hopeful at a point translates into support for HOPE Cape Town as well. But there is more to this travel once in a while.

There is the very brief visit to a person whom I meet in her home. Lying in bed, she is waiting to die. Cancer – last stage – within months the future crumbled to weeks without the possibility to move around. It’s intense, the talk about, what might lie behind the door of death, the curiosity and the fright. It is intense, recalling memories of her husband, who died 21 years ago and taught me lessons in life I will never forget. And I will also not forget his habit to take out a book or a newspaper starting reading when the sermon on a Sunday morning was not up to standard. Laughter and tears, farewell bitter-sweet. There is family, there are the parents who clearly getting older and where I can sense that the light of life is slowly burning down for one of them. Every short brief visit when in Europe might be the last farewell. There are friends, popping in when possible and I am traveling in their neighborhood who want to talk, to re-connect, sometimes just tell their stories, hear advice because somebody coming from far away might have another view on their life situations.

Sometimes, when I close finally my door behind me in a hotel and recall the days events and encounters, I feel so humbled and small in a way, so inadequate to fulfill all the expectations of those who are now going their way again. But on the other hand it is also a blessing to be part of a network of people which now stretches to almost all continents. And it feels good when it peeps and my cellphone presents me with a sms telling me, that my friends in New Jersey are safe after “Sandy”, the devastating storm.

Now sitting at the airport (again) waiting for my next flight to Vienna I am wondering what I will encounter there in the parish where I am invited to preach, to say Mass and to give a talk about HOPE Cape Town and the work we are doing. How I got to that assignment?

Well, it happened in Durban last year when I was asked to say mass and one parishioner had guests from Austria…

Filed under: Catholic Church, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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