God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Prayers with hands and feet?

I am not sure I see the whole picture or maybe most is hidden in broad daylight, but entertaining Facebook, Twitter and other social media I simply fail to see much activity of local churches here in South Africa in the times of need.
Yes, I see streamed services and appeals to pray the rosary, links to the Holy Father and his impressive messages of hope – all good, but I somehow miss in the times of CAN and neighbourhood initiatives here in South Africa the strong practical voices of the church.
I miss a stronger voice of churches being an essential service in practical ways, organizing and streamlining their response to the hunger of the people, to the empty stomachs and the despair in being often confined in questionable human conditions.

Maybe I don’t look at the right places, maybe social media is not a mirror of reality, maybe churches are too humble to advertise their concerted efforts of a structured approach to the life crisis, COVID-19 is bringing to the people.
Praying with your hands and feet is part of a theology, I have favoured throughout life and especially in times like these we should see strong leadership and courage trumping those at times no-sense making rules imposed on us. And as digital media and internet in the times of distancing is an important way of communication, I would wish for more traces of a Catholic or Christian response which sees itself as an essential service in so many ways.
We can’t expect higher powers to do so – in times of crisis necessary actions are not made by proclamation but by giving belief and conviction a pair of practical hands.

As said, maybe I look at the wrong places to witness all the action done under the radar – if so, then this post should encourage everybody to come into the open – to give witness of compassion and empathy not only with holy words but also with holy – whole making in the real sense of the word –  deeds here and now.  This unprecedented crisis is a ‘kairos” – a defining moment yearning for well organized action with and between churches and faith based organisations.

As said, maybe I don’t see the whole picture, and then forgive me for shouting out,
maybe I ask too much when looking at own fears and limitations, also that would be human,
but the nagging question remains:
Where are the churches visible in this crisis as a place of structured and systematic response?

 

Filed under: Africa, Catholic Church, chaplain, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

15.07.2010 Catholic AIDS network

Meeting with Fr Sean and Sr. Margaret from the Catholic AIDS network. I just realise that I have a double booking on the 28.11. – one in Cape Town and the other in Hannover… well, even blackberries do not prevent the human factor… 🙂
We discuss a questionnaire we want to send out to all the parishes to get more information about what is done in the fields of HIV and AIDS in the catholic churches of the Archdiocese of Cape Town.

The Catholic Aids Network (CAN) is the official body of the Archdiocese of Cape Town dealing with the issue of HIV and AIDS and is so to speak a collection of all entities working within this fields. We try to create a room for exchange of ideas and stimulation for the pastoral work.

In the evening I am giving a talk at the Cape Town Club about HOPE Cape Town and it ends after a very interesting chat with some attendees over dinner with me signing up for the club. Well, I have to wait now for 30 days before I am formally introduced into the club if there is nobody voicing any concerns regarding my membership. I meet some very interesting people and the networking already has started.

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

28.08.2009 Light at the end of the tunnel…

Friday morning, a new day and slowly but surely the clouds of uncertainty are fading away. As it looks in the moment, I will stay in Cape Town to continue my work in the fields of HIV and AIDS with HOPE Cape Town and the Catholic AIDS Network (CAN) of the Archdiocese of Cape Town. This would enable me to built on the last more than 8 years of work in this portfolio. I must admit that I would be very happy to dedicate my time and energy for this cause and to create, develop and foster relationships in this field between Europe and South Africa.

Regarding the German speaking Catholic Communities in Cape Town and Durban the future is now also decided. I accept the fact that there is a termination of contract and I will not take the matter for a juridical review within the church. It would damage the church, waste a lot of energies and I cannot see the need to fight those, who decided to get me out of this portfolio. I don’t feel any need to have a dependency of any kind to them. My farewell in Cape Town will be on the 4th of October 2009, in Durban on the 13.9.2009.
I feel sad about leaving the communities – I felt home with the people in the last 12 years, but I guess, for a priest it is normal to change positions – and in our days, it applies for a lot of professions. The good old times, where priests where sitting for ages in one little village are gone….

But I am also looking forward to the new challenge and I know that I can continue to build on a good foundation – life is good and at the end, the bible is right:  God can write straight on twisted lines. Light at the end of the tunnel…

Filed under: General, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

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