God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Observation on a cruise

TV display on the MS Artania

TV display on the MS Artania

Being away as the chaplain for a cruise is certainly a break away from the daily duties and a welcome change in the normal work routine. But obviously it seems that HOPE Cape Town is somehow everywhere on my shoulder it does not matter where I go or travel.
Being on the MS Artania now and chatting to one of the guests I discover she is from Dresden and her son works for the “Schauspielhaus”. So there it is again: the “HOPE-connection” without even knowing each other at first.
And those who know already about my work do want to know how it is going. So one could say travelling the world and doing pastoral work for the people and marketing HOPE Cape Town goes hand in hand.
And it is true: somehow HOPE Cape Town seems to be an integral part of my life and sometimes I wonder whether I ever have the chance to escape of being sort of “Mr HOPE” one day. And the next question coming up is whether I really want this change in my life.
Giving a talk on a cruise ship about HOPE Cape Town is always a challenge. The guests present on the ship are here to enjoy a stress and worry free holiday – most haven chosen to dip into the world of cruises to have the time of their lives. Of course they are visiting different countries and automatically also hear and see the miseries of poverty and other downsides of society. And the reactions are very diverse: some romanticize, others ignore, some complain about even being exposed to it and I know of travellers who freely admit, that they don’t take cruises to Africa or South America because they don’t want to see “it”.
Here I feel my role as a chaplain can bridge the gap and when it happens, interesting discussions will follow, not only in the ‘question and answer spot” after the talk but also during the whole journey.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Chaplain in a special mission

A real priest playing a chaplain on a cruise liner for a trip – that was the wish of the production company when approaching me to join them discovering the beauties of the Black Sea on a trip on the MS Artania. Not more was said during the time before we left Venice two days ago and one would think that the filming would concentrate on the priests obvious duties: the prayer services.

But that was not what the film crew had in mind. Their request was and is to add a religious figure on land during land excursion to let him explain some landmarks in more depth to the persons they accompanied on the trip. The priest as a sort of guarantee for a bit of quality and in-dept information in a reality series normally focusing on emotions and stories more on the surface of life.

I found this approach first strange, then more and more appealing, because at the end that is the task priests should have: being able to add more quality and more sense to normal life, being able to read the signs of time and individual life and to assist in translating life experience into a deeper sphere of understanding. Touching those layers in our existence which are fundamental for understanding and living life to the fullest without being in the lead – connecting the dots in history pointing to what lays ahead in the future and is also represented in this particular moment in time – and all this in a serving role, not overwhelming the persons concerned. So not the leading role but being a supporting actor is the part we as priests are called to perform often in life.

I guess there is more to meditate about during this trip.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, Religion and Ethics, , , , , , , , , , ,

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