God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

15.09.2010 Talking about time

Talking about time as I did in the last blog – once again time is faster flying than I can keep up with it.
The weekend saw me serving the Catholic Community in Belhar with a very interesting family mass on the Sunday morning. Preparation for the HOPE Cape Town management meeting and a talk, given to readers of “Die Zeit” , a German weekly newspaper, who were on a trip through South Africa. It is always interesting for me to hear opinions and different perspectives to our situation here in South Africa and to learn a lot about how our country is perceived in the first world.
HOPE Cape Town Management meeting yesterday with lots to discuss at senior level. Such a project is developing also in a rapid way and we have to be creative to keep on going in a way serving the communities. From an afternoon with management then directly to Brooklyn Holy Cross Primary School where we celebrated the Feast of the Cross with the school community.
This morning POZ meeting: the working group trying to put up a pastoral care structure for HIV positive priests and religious is battling a bit with the concepts some people of the church hierarchy have. It is not easy to find a way to serve those infected and affected in a sensitive and meaningful way if there is so much fear and phobia within the church tackling the pandemic within our own ranks. Fr Wim and myself had meetings in Rome about the subject in May this year and we intended to be back with first positive steps in November this year, but unfortunately it will take more time. So I canceled yesterday the Rome leg of the trip end of next month in the hope, that next year sees more results.

Making progress in sensitive matters within our church can be quite an issue; and it is not that people would not see the urgency of matters, but the apprehensibility in some quarters of our church makes it at times very difficult. On the other hand: we know that we are as the church moving: slavery, human rights, democracy – the latter have been directly from hell some time ago but today we are the champions when it comes to advocate them for others.
I ask myself whether we are so much different from other organizations – and I guess: no.

Well: Never give up was one of the favorite songs of our first HOPE Community Health Workers and I think, that is a good motto for the days and weeks to come.

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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