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“Those suffering with HIV/AIDS
need and deserve the same attention which our biblical tradition
requires for “the orphans, widows and strangers in your midst,”
that is, a response which conveys God’s preferential love for
them.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, selfless Jesuit martyr who aided victims of
the deadly plague in 1591, is the patron saint of those with
HIV/AIDS, of those who care for them, and so of the African Jesuit
AIDS Network.

The African Jesuit AIDS Network is a new effort to respond to
HIV/AIDS by developing an appropriate social ministry that is
deeply-rooted amongst those who suffer, that accompanies those who
care for them, that is sensitive to the local culture, faith and
spirituality, and that collaborates widely with others.

The African Jesuit AIDS Network was set up on 21 June 2002
by the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar as an important common
priority and work. The goal is three-fold:

  • First, in each African country where Jesuits are, to encourage
    and help them to respond to HIV/AIDS by bringing those involved
    together into a taskforce or working-group which can develop
    responses appropriate to the local circumstances.
  • Secondly, to bind these national working-groups, step-by-step,
    into an effective continental Jesuit network with its own voice
    and ability to act in a co-ordinated fashion.
  • And thirdly, to develop good relations of co-operation with
    many other groups and associations, and with the larger Church
    and Society of Jesus, relationships based on a sharing of
    information, expertise, financial and other resources.

The co-ordinator of the network is Fr. Michael F. Czerny, S.J.,
formerly in Rome as Social Justice Secretary at the Jesuit
headquarters, and soon to be based in Nairobi.

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