God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

01.05.3020 Ball of HOPE 22.05.2010

I remember it very clearly: on the 15.05.1998 I organised the first ball in Cape Town and the reason at that time was a simply one: Coming to Cape Town as the new chaplain to the German-speaking Catholic Community at that time, I did not want to engage into bazar and similar events as organised by every parish around the world. I thought that having something extra-ordinary would maybe attract people and to make the first ball attractive, I contacted Archbishop em. Desmond Tutu who, to my surprise, agreed to be the guest of honour for this eve. The event at the ballroom of the gracious Mount Nelson Hotel at that time was mend to create funds for the social work of my small little flock.

In 2001 the theme changed and the “Ball of HOPE” was from now on the official label for this event. On board the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry with Anja Tambusso Ferraz nee Spandern as head of the Cape Town office as cooperation partner.  With the opening of the Arabella Sheraton, now the Westin Grand Hotel, the Ball of HOPE moved to this top class hotel as it also supported HOPE Cape Town in other areas.

We are now celebrating the 13th event of this kind and meanwhile, the Ball of HOPE is a known event in the social calendar of Cape Town. It is nice to see how a spontaneous idea developed into a major event and I am proud to say, that this year – again – we are sold out. Thanks to all who supported and support on a continuous base this prestigious event. I am also grateful that the German-speaking Catholic Community decided to keep their bond with the Ball of HOPE.

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

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, , , , , ,

12.09.2009 The olive tree

During all the hectic in the last days I totally forgot to mention, that my pastoral community council presented me with a small olive tree – knowing, that I love this sort of things. I promised to look after him very very careful and I will find an appropriate place for the tree. May he grow and grow, like the other two, we have on the premises of the Mediterranean Villa. The older one was already a small tree when I bought the Villa for the German Bishops Conference, the second was planted by Karin in memory of her parents – and also this one is already in a juvenile stage. Olive trees are marvellous – while I was living in Andalusia (Spain), I could never have a enough of seeing olive trees, these old “knorrige” trees – ages old and still bringing fruit. A symbol for fertility, the fruits delicious prepared in so many different ways and even the wood is special.

This olive tree will still stand and grow somewhere when I am already dead and maybe the German speaking Catholic Community gone – and it will bear witness from a time where people gave it to me to bring some joy into my life. I am really grateful for this gift. May it blossom and bring fruits for the next generation.

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

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