50 people joined us at Our Lady & St George Parish Church in Walthamstow.
Fr Michael Butler noted during his opening words that today’s event may be early, but it was an opportunity to raise consciousness ahead of WAD. (World AIDS Day takes place worldwide annually on 1st December)
The speaker was Caroline Wesley, an HIV and AIDS worker in the Archdiocese of Jos, Nigeria (a project supported by CAFOD) who is currently in the UK studying for an MA in HIV and AIDS.
Caroline told us about Jos, a beautiful city with high mountain plains and plateau and beautiful green grass during the rains and has an HIV prevalence rate of 4.1%. Caroline shared with us how the HIV AIDS programme of the Archdiocese has helped in mitigating the spread of the disease.
Caroline said “Known as Community Based Care and Support, the mission specifically is to continue in the healing ministry of Christ committed in administering the medicine of love to all affected by HIV and AIDS.”
Caroline went on to say …
“There is an adage that says charity begins at home. Love yourself so that you can love others. Our Christian faith teaches that the greatest of this is love” (1 Cor 13:13). Our ability to love is reflected in the way we live our lives in the community where we live. We are the fifth gospel that others should read”
“As we speak out and act for the voiceless, may we receive God’s abundant blessings, bearing in mind that we need to live simply so that others may simply live. My prayer for us is that the kind of AIDS we have is:
A – Abundant blessing
I – Integrity
D – Divine favour
S – Sufficient grace of God
May this type of AIDS by incurable … and the other become curable forever! Amen”
You can read a full transcript of Caroline’s talk here
Following the Penitential Rite and Intercessions, Fr Maurice Gordon invited all individuals to come forward for a laying-on of hands, a sign of seeking healing and trust in God’s loving care. This was an extremely moving part of the liturgy.
After the liturgy, refreshments were provided by the Justice & Peace group from Our Lady & St George parish.
Thank you to everyone involved, for the wonderful music from Tim Campbell and Elisabeth Abbott, for Davina Bolt, Phil Butcher and Elisabeth from CJSR and to Frs Michael, Maurice and Mark for leading the liturgy and Rev Joseph Baffour-Awuah.
Denise and Joanna, CAFOD Brentwood