Manila Archbishop asks priests, lay people to know more about HIV-AIDS
MANILA August 16, 2012 -Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle has called on the priests, religious, seminarians and lay people of the Archdiocese of Manila to know more about HIV-AIDS a disease that is increasing its presence in the Philippines. He has scheduled two separate workshop sessions, one for two full days for priests and religious and another for a full day for seminarians and lay people.
The first workshop will be held on August 22-23, 2012 at the San Carlos Seminary auditiorium, San Carlos Formation Complex, EDSA, Makati City; the other on August 24 at the Layforce chapel also in the same compound.
Both workshops will be conducted by Msgr. Robert Vitillo, special adviser on HIV & AIDS for Caritas Internationalis and head of the International Delegation to the UN in Geneva. Caritas Internationalis and the Catholic Medical Mission Board organized Msgr. Vitillo’s workshop upon the request of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
In two separate circulars Archbishop Tagle said that there is a need to learn more about Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (IDS) so that the local church can come up with an effective and appropriate pastoral response to the silent epidemic. He cited the CBCP Pastoral Letter on AIDS issued in 2011, titled, “Who Is My Neighbor?”, wherein the bishops emphasized, “Church workers, seminarians and the clergy must be equipped with basic knowledge about HIV & AIDS and complementary pastoral counselling skills in order to bring hope, healing and reconciliation to those vulnerable to the virus, those infected and affected by HIV, through the sacraments and pastoral care” (2).
He also noted that nine new cases of HIV infections are reported daily, of which 52 per cent is in the National Capital Region. He said that while the global trend is decreasing, the number of HIV cases is rising in the Philippines, as doubling time continues to shorten. “of the 9,669 reported cases from 1984 to May 2012, 5,245 cases (or 54 per cent of total cases) were recorded between 2010 and 2012. What is alarming is that the 20-29 year old age group has had the most number of cases.”
Archbishop Tagle urged attendance to the workshop of the groups concerned to “help the Archdiocese mainstream HIV in all existing ministries and protect families, especially our young people, from the virus which until now has no cure.”
The workshops in the Archdiocese of Manila are being coordinated by the Ministry on Health Care with Fr. Jun Abogado as minister. He can be contacted at telephone number 727-5752 or mobile number 0908-8830851.