God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

World without Aids Award – Berlin 2015

Being honored in absentia is an interesting feeling – or better a mix of feelings: Being grateful for the honor of receiving the “World without Aids” Award, feeling sorry for not being able to attend the ceremony, feeling committed to a prior agreed engagement as a chaplain at sea. Sometimes roles clashes, but very often they support each other: being a priest, a chaplain, an activist, a chairperson. This time it was not possible to accommodate all roles on this particular day.
This award makes me feel humble – it is a recognition of work done, but mostly I feel it is a challenge to continue doing what one does best and to continue fighting for a world without Aids. I can only do this, if I have the support of so many – the employees of HOPE Cape Town, the boards of HOPE Cape Town Trust and Association, the multitude of sponsors and donors and partners like the German Aids Foundation or “Hope and Future e.V.” or Saxonia Systems and Process Consulting and all the others named on the HOPE Cape Town’s website.
So once again thank you to those having awarded me the recognition; congratulations to the other awardee Prof Rita Suessmuth – thanks to Manuel Neuer from Bayern Munich for the kind words and all I ask is that you all continue assisting in the dream of a world without Aids… It’s possible…

German AIDS Foundation honors Rev Father Stefan Hippler and Prof Rita Suessmuth
On Saturday
evening, 10 January 2015, the 21st Festive Opera Gala for the German AIDS Foundation took place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. More than 2000 high-profiled guests from visited the event. The new main sponsor, Audi, presented a cheque of 200,000 Euros to the Honorary Chairman of the German AIDS-Foundation, Prof Dr Rita Süssmuth. Overall, the German AIDS-Foundation expects a total of around 500,000 Euros for this year.
The money will go into important aid projects of the German AIDS Foundation in Germany, South Africa and Mozambique. The next Festive Opera Gala in Berlin will take place on 7 November 2015.
This year the winners of the “World without AIDS Award” were Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and Prof Dr Rita Süssmuth. Via video message, Manuel Neuer gave the laudation for Rev Fr Stefan Hippler. The soccer star honored the work of the founder of HOPE Cape Town, an organisation that supports especially children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
The former Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, honored Prof Dr Rita Süssmuth for her many decades of fighting against AIDS.
For the German AIDS Foundation, the Festive Opera Gala is the most glamorous and most important charity event since 1994. Since many years Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, acts as chairman for this evening. The Charity Gala received more than 6.2 million Euros in the last 20 years. With the income of the 21st Festive Opera Gala the German AIDS Foundation is going to support projects in Berlin as well as in Southern Africa.

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dresden – Berlin – Munich

HOPE Gala05The HOPE Gala Dresden is history – and I am still grateful to all and everybody who made this event a success. Various meetings and encounters showed me how deep HOPE Cape Town’s work is meanwhile rooted in the heart of Dresden. It’s a blessing!
With those blessings I arrived in Berlin to meet more people and attend the “Festliche Aids-Gala” of the German AIDS Foundation, one of our main partners in Germany. Only being a guest can be a relief at times, but still such big events are always good for networking and exchange of ideas. Attending such events are more than occasions for small talk, they are opportunities to plant the seed of empathy and knowledge into the hearts of others and to share life across the borders.I find it amazing that in Dresden as well as Berlin the church is not prominently present at such events – it is a question of guessing: is it still the inconvenience of the topic which prevents those higher the hierarchy to attend such events. Or is it accidental that since years exactly the eve of such an event is blocked by another commitment. Just asking…  🙂
Well, let’s hope that the “Francis” effect might change that in the years to come.
I just see that the Vatican has asked the bishops to give even the parish councils the opportunity to comment on topics of family and sexuality which will be the main focus of a synod of bishops in 2014. I am really thrilled to see, that the acknowledgement is visible to ask the whole family of god, and not only those higher up the hierarchy to voice their concerns, joys and troubles. It feels like fresh air – open windows – the vision of Johannes XXIII seems to become realization, touchable for those called the laity within our church.
Another blessing on the way which vitalizes all efforts to change the plight of the people less fortune than most of us are.
Munich will be the last German city to visit before flying to New York City.  No big events but a handful of important meetings with people who carry HOPE Cape Town in their hearts and often on their lips being the best ambassadors for our cause.

 

 

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Gala in Dresden and much more

Time again to pack and leave Cape Town for the annual event of the HOPE Gala in Dresden. And this year, it is indeed a special year, where the people of this lovely city pulled together for the Gala after having the devastating floods in spring and battling themselves to get back with their own life. It is with appreciation to note, that despite all the odds the Gala will be once again a festival of good thoughts, helpful hands and lots of fun and joy.
If you have not yet purchased your ticket – the website http://www.hopegala.de will bring you closer to join the event and meet with like-minded people. See you there – Viola Klein has surely with her team and the support of Saxonia Systems (who initiated the Gala), the HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung ( our German trust and the organizers) and all other sponsors (check the logos on the gala website) drawn a full house with the program and not to forget the after-show party. Thank you so much! How much work is going in such an event…

Before the HOPE Gala Dresden I will meet with students from my hometown of Bitburg and engage with them in a lively discussion about HIV and AIDS and what brings South Africa and Bitburg together. It is amazing how much support has come and is still coming from my hometown and I could not be more grateful about it. Another blessing for those, living with the virus here in South Africa.

Berlin and Munich are the other big cities to meet and greet sponsors, supporters and to attend the Festliche AIDS Gala of the German AIDS Foundation. They are such a strong partner for HOPE Cape Town and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. Another big thank you all working for this foundation.

New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the last stations of this trip – a renewed effort to get fundraising in the USA going. It is a tough one, but never give up is here the motto and with some goodwill we will be able to plant some small seeds of compassion on the other side of the ocean. Press your thumbs and if you know somebody in that area to approach – please let me know. I am delighted to meet new people.

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lucky I

End of the year is always a time to look back on one’s life, achievements and failures and the big question is whether with age also some more wisdom came to the surface.
Everybody must do this review for himself – for me, looking back I can only say: Lucky I or better I was blessed.
It was a tough year but I am still alive, lots of failures during the year, but I am still standing on two feet and feel growth, lots of great moments and still hungry for life, lots of love and I am very grateful for this.

The small moments made this year so valuable, the intimate moments with friends sharing life in a way one normally would not trust to do. The duties and services done and being able to touch the lives of other people. The sermons being not a one way road but begin of a meaningful discussion. HOPE Cape Town with all the great people working for and with the organization – even if there were tough moments to find a way forward serving those infected and affected by the pandemic. My contacts with sponsors and donors in South Africa and Germany, the HOPE Gala in Dresden, the Ball of HOPE in Cape Town and the invite to join the German AIDS Foundation in Berlin for the Festliche AIDS Gala.

Being able to speak to students, address groups, NGO’s , church communities and other entities – be it on land or on a cruise ship – it all made my life much more lively and beautiful. Meeting delegations, politicians, students, tourists – all interested in the work we are doing here in Cape Town – how good it is always being challenged by good questions and the interest in knowing it all.

Well, so at the end of the year I feel blessed with all the family, friends, supporters and even those struggling with me as they are needed to keep the boat of life going in the right direction. Thanks for all the good and the challenges and I am looking forward to a great 2013 with lots of all shades life has to offer. Knowing that at the end all comes together in what we Christians are calling God and who is named differently depending on each believe system – I am not afraid of what lies ahead.

How about u?

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , , , ,

Preparing for Europe

south africa

south africa (Photo credit: rafiq s)

 

 

As always this time of the year I am preparing to leave Cape Town and fly to Germany for an extended period of time. For four weeks I will travel to and between Munich, Frankfurt, Dresden, Berlin, Trier, but also Vienna and London and other cities. It is a very hectic schedule, but I try to bundle as much as possible into my agenda to make the long flight worthwhile and to use the time as efficient as possible. The HOPE Gala in Dresden will be the highlight of the trip, followed by the Festive AIDS Gala in Berlin. But besides all glamor the trip is about HOPE Cape Town and about people. It is also about being an ambassador for the situation in South Africa. We are going through a tough time here in country – mine strikes, burning trucks, strikers killing people who want to work; all the news about violence and intimidation is surely not good news and paints a rather grim picture of South African society. In fights within the ANC, the ruling party, but also corruption, wildcat strikes, violence, high unemployment and the lack of political leadership brings the country to the brink of chaos and unlawfulness. It feels a bit like the wild west when watching the news. But as always there are also rays of hope and a great potential. All this makes it even more important that the relationship between South Africa and European countries is strong and based on honest and correct information, which in return fosters the means to support the new South Africa in a beneficial way. I hope that my travel contributes not only to the well-being to HOPE Cape Town Association& Trust but also gives a bit towards a better future for this beloved country.

 

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, , , , , , , , , ,

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
6 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2019

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 18th, 2019

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