WASHINGTON (November 30, 2001) -- In a statement marking World AIDS Day tomorrow, the chairman of the Bishops' Committee for African American Catholics called for "love and support" in response to the "painful reality" of HIV/AIDS among the African American community.
"The actions of each one of us can make a difference," said Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD, of Memphis. "Let us pray that we find words and actions, faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that will prevent the spread of HIV."
Bishop Steib said the appeal for prayerful support of those living with HIV/AIDS, and for those who care for them, is timely because of the "painful reality that African Americans in the United States account for 38 percent of total AIDS cases; 57 percent of total AIDS cases among women; 59 percent of new AIDS cases among children; and 39 percent of new cases among men."
World AIDS Day was established on December 1, 1988, by the World Health Organization, and its annual observance was mandated by the United Nations General Assembly.
"Jesus Christ calls each of us to a greater awareness of his goodness and mercy and to active commitment to prevent and end suffering wherever we can," Bishop Steib said. "The Church does not give us these Advent days for so much shopping, cooking and decorating. They are to help us hear Christ inviting us not only to prepare a way for his entry into our lives but also to bring the message of comfort and consolation to all who are suffering, including those who are living with HIV/AIDS."
World AIDS Day Statement