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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 is a young Jesuit who selflessly gave his life caring for victims of the deadly plague in Rome in 1591. Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta is a young Sister of the Holy Family and a midwife
who was murdered resisting the sexual advances of a rebel leader in the Congo in 1964. We entrust the African Jesuit AIDS Network to their prayer and protection.

AJAN – the African Jesuit AIDS Network was set up on 21 June 2002 by the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar as an important common priority and work. AJAN is a
new effort to respond to HIV/AIDS by developing an appropriate social ministry that

  • Is deeply rooted amongst those who suffer and accompanies those who care for them;
  • Promotes responsibility and prevention;
  • Joins in the struggle against stigma and discrimination;
  • Is sensitive to the local culture, faith and spirituality; and
  • Collaborates widely with others.

The steps foreseen are three-fold:

  • First, in each of the 27 African countries 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 African Jesuit AIDS Network is Fr. Michael F. Czerny, S.J., who for eleven
years was Social Justice Secretary at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome and is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Assisting in the AJAN office is Sister Marie-Noëlle Munengela ODN of the Compagnie de Marie
Notre Dame.

The AJAN council includes Fr. Shirima Valerian, S.J., Moderator of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, and Fr.
Muhigirwa Ferdinand, S.J., co-ordinator of the Jesuit Social Apostolate in Africa and Madagascar.

AJANews no. 6 (May 2003)
AJANews no. 20 - July 2004

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