God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Invitation for those in Cape Town

All are invitedThursday 1st December 20117:30pmSt. Mary of the Flight into Egypt Cathedral, Cape Town.076 399 1015 (Sr. Margaret)



Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , ,

14.10.2010 Days flying…

This week, time is flying because days are somehow booked out and between morning and evening lies one meeting after the other. I sometimes wonder how much one can take on different faces, different approaches, different worries, different joys until one mixes all up and is oneself mixed up – somehow..

But there is also success: the new HOPE Cape Town feature is done and on the way to Dresden – at the HOPE Gala in Dresden the feature will meet for the first time an interested audience.  HOPE Cape Town management meeting is gone and many issues solved, discussed, put onto the right track. The re-structuring of the organization to be more professional in its efforts to combine grass root and research is on the right path to realisation. My trip to Europe becomes more and more a detailed one with lots of interesting meetings and presentations, and in between two galas, one in Dresden (HOPE Gala Dresden) and one in Berlin (AIDS Gala Berlin). I will meet old friends and hopefully new future supporters of HOPE Cape Town. The expectations are always high and time will tell whether I am able to match my own ones..  🙂

And a big birthday celebration is in waiting: Brother Joachim – Joachim Franz – is turning 50 years in November and I am looking forward to a great evening full of laughter and joy. And at the same time some serious discussion for the World AIDS Awareness Campaign 2011 – beginning in April next year. A real challenge, watch the space. This block will report on every detail of this indeed challenging campaign.

This week saw also discussions about the future of CAN, the Catholic AIDS Network of the Archdiocese of Cape Town as well as the  future of POZ, the initiative of pastoral care for priests and religious living with the virus… Nothing is easy, nothing is set in stone, all developing and obviously at the end should stand nothing more than a meaningful service for fellow men.

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

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, , , , , ,

16.02.2010 POZ and CAN

A whole series of meetings today, amongst others one with our working group looking into the pastoral care for HIV positive priests and religious. We discuss the way forward and how important it is to back up our pastoral efforts with a proper theological and psychological consideration. Obviously it is compassion driving us, but is this enough? When we want to engage bishops and convince them to support us, it would be good for us to have done our homework. Obviously we also have to look at the scale of what we can do and how we approach it. A very constructive meeting and surely a big step forward.

Afterwards meeting with the Catholic Aids Network in Welcome Estate. We are still waiting for our constitution as requested by the National Catholic Aids office and we discussed in length the way forward. The topic HIV and AIDS has indeed changed in the last years and for many church groups and initiatives, it is one aspect of their work amongst others. This is different from when CAN started, where the support groups were partly marginalised and worked very isolated, thus needing much more networking and moral support. We also aim to have a service around World Aids Day, not only as a memorial service for those, who have died already, but also as a sign of encouragement for those, who are still working in this field. And I am convinced we have not reached yet the peak – the PEFPAR funding is going to get less, and we still have to catch up for quite some wasted years here in South Africa; the adherence will be a topic and a problem in the years to come. Whoever thinks, that HIV and AIDS is dealt with – I think the opposite. We still have a way to go – and if we not take care of this way, we will have to pay a costly price.  Between political declarations of intent and reality is here in South Africa still a big gap ( I guess not only in South Africa)…

HOPE Cape Town, Catholic AIDS Network, the poz initiative for HIV positive priests and clergy  and all the other local initiatives will be needed still for a long time…

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Medical and Research, Politics and Society, , , , , , , , , , , ,

10.12.2009 Long dinner

Invite for dinner – and it turns out to be a very interesting and chatty evening – coming home after midnight does not happen that often. It is nice to sit and chat around a table not feeling the time going by… it’s always also a compliment for the hosts to have been able to bring interesting people around their table.
Slowly but surely people getting into holiday mood, and also we from HOPE Cape Town starting slowly to wind down the operations, from mid next week, most employees will take leave and quite some will also travel to see their extended families where ever they live.
Slowly but surely another year comes to an end – Christmas is almost in reach. It will be the first time to be without my “Heilig Abend” service on Christmas eve, one of the most important and most emotional services I had to celebrate while being the chaplain to the German-speaking Catholic Community. I will miss it – and lots of people have asked whether I would not be able to come back for this one time. My answer is always the same: No, it is not possible. If you are gone, you are gone. Sounds easy, isn’t so easy, but it is the right thing to do. I hope that the service held by a fellow colleague will be touching the lives of the many coming to this very special occasion.
Yesterday we also had our last management meeting of HOPE Cape Town and our last meeting with the Catholic Aids Network for this year. Things have been wrapped up and the rest will be on the agenda again in the coming year. One can sense the intensity of Cape Town at this time. Almost everybody is tense at that time of the year – because everybody wants everything possible to be done before mid December, before the Mother city falls into the holiday coma – only awaken again mid January. Cape Town is fun, so one says, but Cape Town is also stress – because things are not done constantly, but at certain times of the year. And November till mid December is one of the most busy time – the summer holidays well deserved – for all but the priests, who have to work over the festive season… 😦 But I know from own experience that in between all the festive days there is also enough time for us clergy to rest a bit…,  so no complains but anticipation of this mixture of work and pleasure time for all of us in one of the greatest cities of the world: Cape Town 🙂

Filed under: General, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

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