God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

10.11.2009 A long day…

… draws to an end. And a day which was defined by meetings, two major meetings. The first with the group which calls itself “working group POZ” and is driving the process of the pastoral care for priests and religious living with the virus. I reported back from my meeting with the Papal Council for Health Care Workers and other meetings related to this work. And we discussed the way forward trying to involve the level of bishops into our work  as proposed by the councils representative. So we will approach some bishops in the next time to get their support – the first I will see tomorrow is Archbishop Lawrence P Henry, who gave with his blessings the starting point for this joined work between the “Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Cape Town” and HOPE Cape Town. It is a further step on a long way to bring the topic to the top of the church.

In the afternoon then first planing meeting and then management meeting of HOPE Cape Town. It is a productive time, a time to reflect and plan the necessary structures of HOPE Cape Town for the next time. What is running good, what has to be enhanced, what has to be corrected – how can we optimise the mechanism of work within HOPE Cape Town so that we deliver on our mission statement. But also the question where are our limits? What burden can we carry? Reports back, correspondence, requests – there is always so many things which waits for a decision or the next step ahead. At the end we all know that exciting times are lying ahead. Hopefully new and sufficient office space will be available still this year to accommodate the new working structures of HOPE Cape Town.  Kerstin, our future PA to chair and management has done her first 6 weeks and reports back. It is good to see how good she fits in and enjoys her work – and the HOPE Cape Town people enjoying working with her. It is always a blessing to see when people fit in nicely. Or our HOPE Cape Town doctor, who is with us already for 5 months, but it feels as she has been with us for some years.

I leave the meetings with the feeling that we are moving forward and that we are all willing to bring HOPE Cape Town to a new level of professionalism without losing the heart of the project. I feel encouraged that after months of soul-searching and pondering the right way we are now on this right way into a good future – for the sake of the people we try to assist. Thanks to everybody who contributed to todays productive meetings.

 

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

03.September 2009 feeling humbled

The last two days were amazing days – so many emails, phone calls, text messages – I even did not know that so many people are following my “case” and were waiting after the cancellation of contract through the German Bishops Conference what will happen to me. Most seemed to have bid, that I will go back to Germany – others thought I will leave the church. Well, both thoughts were quite  real – real threats to my life, but thanks heaven a somehow happy end has been found.
Receiving all this positive messages, I feel indeed humbled and realise once again, what expectations people have. I personally never felt that I am doing something extraordinary but simply what was waiting along my way I picked up – and I had from the start marvellous people assisting in creating HOPE Cape Town. Living in South Africa creates other possibilities as somebody would have in Germany. But I believe that everybody has a chance to pick up a challenge along his way on earth and in doing so, change the course of this world and to assist and help people in need.

I am also a bit scared seeing the expectations of the HOPE Cape Town “family”. HOPE Cape Town is in the phase of restructuring because our possibilities and opportunities have grown so fast and big, that we have to look how to cope with all the workload. So we will add myself and a PA, a personal assistant to join HOPE Cape Town. Grass root work and research are at the ends of our working spectrum, and in between is quite a range of portfolios in need to be covered. Thanks God for the recent addition of Saadeka Williams as a full time HOPE doctor.

Also the Catholic Aids Network is in development. We had a meeting this morning as CAN has now to be registered as a NPO and PBO in South Africa in its own rights. So we met with a lawyer who is willing to do “pro bono” work and assist in getting the constitution right and the applications on the way.

With POZ, the working arm of HOPE Cape Town together with the Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, providing pastoral care for priests, religious and seminarians who are living with the HI virus, there is a whole new area where we have to gain expertise. Today we fixed also our meeting with the secretary of the Papal Council for health care worker in Rome; on the 18.10. we will have a meeting with the Bishop to discuss amongst other topics a possible working relationship in this field. I am very curious to see how they react in the Vatican for such a request of official support. But with or without the support, we have to face realities and we have to tackle them head on. Doing so we are also forced to look into our theology and develop our teaching accordingly. It is indeed a tricky field – but on the other hand: only tricky fields are a real challenge… 🙂

Well, it is time to go to bed – it is 2:46 am in the morning and at 6am a new working day is beginning.

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

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