Changing Face of AIDS Poses Challenge to Complacency
Increasingly, the population most affected by AIDS is not just those infected with the disease, but their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and daughters—the caretakers, relatives, and friends of the infected. To address this stark reality, the USCCB Secretariat for African American Catholics will present a workshop focused on African American Women and the impact of HIV/AIDS. "What Every Mother (and Mother's Child) Should Know…AIDS and the African American Community," will be presented preceding the official start of the Second National Gathering for Black Catholic Women: "Black Catholic Women . . . Claiming Our Treasures . . ." Scheduled for August 6-8, 2004, in Houston, Texas, the gathering "provides an opportunity for African American Catholic lay women throughout the United States to come together with the leadership of African American women religious to uphold and celebrate the many gifts we as women of color bring to our faith community," says Beverly Carroll, Executive Director, USCCB Secretariat for African American Catholics.
For more information, contact Beverly A. Carroll at 202-541-3177 or email@example.com.
Catholics Recognize Promise of Stem Cell Research
While debate continues to rage over embryonic stem cell research, recent Congressional testimony featured patients successfully treated with adult stem cells. Two accident victims, who suffered paralyzing spinal cord injuries previously thought incurable, recounted stories of remarkable strides toward mobility following grafting of their injury sites with stem cells harvested from their own olfactory systems. Not only did such harvesting of donor cells circumvent rejection risks, but such recoveries provide powerful evidence of the promise of continued research into adult stem cells. "The Catholic Church opposes embryonic stem cell research because it destroys human embryos, innocent human lives, in the name of medical progress…Far more medical promise is emerging at present from adult stem cells and other avenues that pose no moral problem. Good morality and good medicine are not in conflict here; they point in the same direction," says Richard Doerflinger, USCCB Deputy Director of Pro-Life Activities.
For more information, contact Richard Doerflinger at 202-541-3171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programs Support New College Students in Maintaining Their Faith
What parent sending a child off to college hasn't harbored some concerns: Will she know what to do in an emergency? What health services are available? And what young adult moving away from home for the first time hasn't given more thought to exploring restaurants and attractions in the new city or town, than to health and safety concerns? Along with answering those questions, Catholic colleges and universities excel at presenting programs that welcome and orient families to the new environment, while respecting and maintaining relationships with family and home. Campus orientation sessions often include "an introduction to the Newman Center, and just knowing area Mass schedules is invaluable for those interested in continuing the practice of their faith," says Michael Steier, USCCB Assistant Secretary for Catechesis and Leadership Formation, as are talks focusing on such topics as "relationships and how to live out your Catholic life in all the moral decisions you're forced to make." And when the students return home during school breaks, many parishes sponsor "Welcome Back" social and liturgical activities to reinforce connections with the church.
For more information, contact Michael Steier at 202-541-3135 or email@example.com.
Africans Finding Fertile Mission Field in the United States
Although historically the United States has sent countless missionaries to the African continent to spread the Gospel message, today "the American-born population also finds itself the beneficiary of the pastoral outreach of several thousand African priests and religious," says Sister MaryPaul Asoegwu, USCCB Coordinator of Ethnic Ministries. Since the 1994 African Synod, when Pope John Paul II called on Africans to not only be missionaries to Africa, but also missionaries to the world, missionary patterns have been altered. An influx of African immigrants, refugees, and missionaries to communities across the United States has given rise to the manifest need for pastoral care for these newcomers, especially as the initial welcoming gives way to inevitable tensions surrounding language and customs. As they continue to address such challenges and further their professional development, hundreds of African missionaries are preparing to gather for the fifth straight year to focus on strengthening their relationships and fostering support and encouragement for their mission. "Looking Inward," the Annual Conference of African Sisters and Priests will be held in Omaha, Nebraska, From August 5-8, 2004.
For more information, contact Sister MaryPaul Asoegwu, DDL, at 202-541-3359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.