Dear Friends for Life: At a time when everyone’s attention is focused on Ebola, racial tensions, Islam Terrorists, killing babies, human trafficking, it is easy to forget “World AIDS Day” which was observed on December 1st.
Inspite of HIV rates declining recently, WHO points out that close to 2.1 million people were infected with HIV in 2013 and an average of 1.6 million die each year.
As Communications Director for CAPCHA (Catholic Asia/Pacific Coalition on HIV/AIDS), I was delighted to post on our CAPCHA website a message received from Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva and Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS and Health.
His theme “closing the gap” between the “haves” and “have-nots” emphasizes a global response to AIDS. It is our response of walking with, not merely “doing for”, HIV-positive persons as they empower themselves to live fully despite the challenges they face as a result of the virus.
He points out that we can “close the gap” by challenging and changing the structures that prevent some 25 million adults and children from access to life-saving anti-retroviral medications. In the words of Pope Francis, by “going out to meet” those at risk of HIV infection “with creative love” as we “help them to rediscover their dignity and to revive those inner strengths, those personal talents” of “men and women created in the image and likeness of God.”
The many “responses” in his message point to a Catholic Identity being created in Asia. I was able to witness some first-hand in Cambodia where we held our 2014 Conference. For example, Caritas Cambodia having created a four-point program to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Trying to “close the gap“, the following project was initiated throughout the country: (1) Home-based care: providing home care and economic support. (2) Self-help groups: encouraging people with HIV/AIDS to meet monthly, discuss their problems and search for solutions. (3) Livelihood programs: to help people living with HIV/AIDS to re-integrate into society by creating jobs to make enough income to sustain their lives. (4) Drop-in Centers: free accommodations for people with HIV/AIDS who are far away from home and/or have no place to go. Additional projects include centers for children who lost both parents to AIDS, Prison Health Programs, educating youth about AIDS and recently trafficking.
“Every person is worthy of our giving.” Let us response to this appeal of Pope Francis: “… we must open ourselves to the peripheries, also acknowledging that even one who is cast aside and scorned by society is the object of God’s generosity. We are all called not to reduce the Kingdom of God to the confines of the “little church” – our “tiny little church” – but to enlarge the Church to the dimensions of the Kingdom of God. However, there is one condition: wedding attire must be worn, that is, charity toward God and neighbour must be shown.”
Jerry Novotny, OMI
(The Difference is LIFE) The Error of Progressivism – In rejecting the necessity of working for the implantation of a Christian social order, the Progressives find themselves obliged to accept the lay city, Liberal, Socialist, Communist. The root of their error and their deviation from Christian progress lies in seeking the alliance of the Church with modernity. -Fr. Julio Meinvielle (1905-1973) in the book From the Kabbalah to Progressivism
Websites by Fr. Jerry