Prevention Messages Increasingly Critical This World AIDS Day
With African Americans and Hispanics now accounting for 70 percent of new HIV infections each year, pastors and parish coordinators across the country are preparing to seize the opportunity on World AIDS Day "to incorporate prevention messages into their homilies. Families and communities will become aware of the pandemic from a Catholic perspective, which has its foundation in the inherent dignity of every human person," says Ronaldo Cruz, executive director, USCCB Secretariat for Hispanic Catholics. "As a faith community, not only does the Church want persons with HIV/AIDS to receive medical treatment and social support, but the Church also calls for personal responsibility to protect families from being put at risk." Working in close collaboration with the USCCB Secretariat for African Americans and the Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs, the National Catholic AIDS Network prepared and distributed an array of educational fliers, as well as an Advent Awareness Action Calendar, to parishes across the United States in advance of the December 1 observation.
For more information, contact Ronaldo Cruz at (202) 541-3154 or email@example.com or Beverly Carroll, executive director, USCCB Secretariat for African American Catholics, at (202) 541-3177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Gift, Many Recipients
In the midst of all the hustle and bustle this holiday season, Christmas gift givers can save time and support socially just causes while shopping for friends and loved ones. Remaining true to one's values while expressing love through a meaningful gift is facilitated by ordering products produced by recipients of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's economic development grants. These grants support the start-up and operation of numerous businesses and income-generating projects that provide decent wages, distribute profits more equitably and ensure an active role for low-income persons in business decisions. These projects offer everything from organic cheese produced by family farmers to soaps made by women learning self-sufficiency skills. "When customers order from these projects, they are also providing gifts to the many low-income people who benefit from CCHD-funded economic opportunities and who contribute to building stronger communities," says Father Robert J. Vitillo, CCHD's executive director. Making donations to CCHD in the name of someone on the holiday gift list, and the ordering of products from organizations receiving CCHD funding, can be accomplished by visiting www.usccb.org/cchd/edshopping.htm.
For more information, contact Father Robert J. Vitillo at (202) 541-3367 or email@example.com.
Pastoral Ministers Crucial in the World of the Circus
Between the 50-60 circuses and 300-400 carnivals in the United States, the need to pursue an occupation accounts for nearly 300,000 professional entertainers on the move. For the 40% of these show people who are Catholic, their faith is traditional – a stable element and a comfort. The Seventh International Congress for the Pastoral Care of Circus and Traveling Show People, to be held in Rome December 12-16, underscores the special affection the Church has for those who provide a happy diversion from daily cares. The increase of pastoral awareness of the Circus and Traveling Show Apostolate is a concern of the Catholic Church in the United States. "The greatest need of the circus and traveling show people is for priests and pastoral ministers to be available for religious education, Mass and the sacraments," according to Sister Charlotte Hobelman, coordinator of Migrant Ministries for the USCCB Migration and Refugee Services. Frequently, show people are not able to be in touch with the local church of the community where they are visiting because of their lifestyle and work obligations. There is a very small group of clergy and religious who regularly minister to show people. They are welcomed by Catholic show people as well as by non-Catholics with whom an ecumenical attitude of openness and cooperation is shared.
For more information, contact Sister Charlotte Hobelman at (202) 541-3035 or firstname.lastname@example.org.