by Hamilton Khoza
CELEBRATION OF THE LIVES OF ALL OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS WE LOST THROUGH THE HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC*
On Sunday 1st December 2019, The St. Joseph Sacred Heart Sodality and Parishioners celebrated the beginning of Advent; a period in our Calendar that ushers in observance of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to our world in the form of a human being.
The liturgy was prepared in a way and manner that included celebrating the lives of our brothers and sisters we lost over the years through the dreaded disease caused by acquiring the HIV Virus. This also included a prayer for all those who were affected by the loss of their loved ones.
The symbolic candle was lit by all qualified Nurses who were part of the congregation; all of them were Catholic Nurses. For this event the Parish Administrator invited Dr Khosi Mthethwa to deliver a presentation on HIV/AIDS and its negative effect in the country, and the role that we the Parishioners can play in continuing with awareness creation and provision of care and support to those who remain alone and affected by this disease.
During Homily; The Parish Administrator touched on the following topical issues. He said that all the three Readings had focused on vigilance, not as an agonising wait for the Lord Judge at the end of our lives, but as an awareness to the presence of the Lord today. He told us that the Second Reading invited us to open our eyes to discern the signs of a new day which had already dawned on us. He called upon us to have childlike Faith, so we can benefit in the understanding of the mysteries of the Incarnation. He reminded us that without humbleness and oneness we may never fully understand the wonderful gift of God during this coming Christmas.
He then continued to inform the congregation that he had decided to celebrate in collaboration with the Sacred Heart Sodality during this World Aids day which also falls within the First Sunday of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and respectfully recognise all our brothers and sisters we lost over the years through the HIV/Aids pandemic, that continued to mercilessly take away peoples lives despite all efforts and interventions that Government and Non Governmental Organisation have done over the years.
He warned the youth to be vigilant! He openly declared that he had lost Four Siblings from his family due to HIV/Aids, and that the hole in his heart left from this loss had never diminished.
The Parish Administrator then introduced Dr. Khosi Mthethwa to deliver her talk of the day. Her talk focused on the pain and suffering that this disease has caused in the country and the continent. She urged us all that we have responsibility before us to play a supportive role to the orphaned and vulnerable children that we come across everyday. She made an example of school going children who attend primary school and who once a month have to miss school to go to the clinic for a check up and refill of the ARTs. She literally begged the teachers to be patient with these kids and provide support to them. She also encouraged them (teachers) to establish safety nets for support and protection of these children from abuse by their peers who poke fun on these children.
She emphasised on the importance of overpowering the temptation of denial and encouraging others to do same. She said we all should develop and help others to develop a culture of positive living and that, that was the only way of ensuring an elongated life span, particularly for the affected children.
It was a wonderful day for all parishioners and it was interesting to note that the concentration levels were so high that no one noticed the length of time our Holy Mass took on Sunday.
It was worthy of the time taken on the day.
*God bless you*