Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona meets SACBC staff

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona meets SACBC staff

Sr Hermenegild Makoro (the Secretary General of the SACBC ), Bishop Jose Luis Ponce de Leon (SACBC liaison bishop for AIDS) and the heads of SACBC agencies supported by funding from Catholic Relief Services  for programmes in HIV and AIDS, Justice and Peace, Democracy,  and Education joined South African Catholic Relief Services staff  for a meeting in Johannesburg with Bishop Gerald Kicanas (chairman of the CRS board and  bishop of Tucson, Arizona) and Ms Mary Hodem, the head of the CRS Southern African Regional Office based in Zambia.

SACBC staff painted a picture for the US visitors of the challenges facing the Church and society in Southern Africa regarding the cut backs in PEPFAR funding to support AIDS programmes, the escalating numbers of children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS, Church -State relations,  the position around education and health care in a post apartheid South Africa, and the socio-economic  and political realities facing the three SACBC countries and the countries in which the SACBC assists with programmes around good governance and democracy.

Earlier in the day Bishop Kicanas had celebrated Mass in St Hubert’s Parish, Alexandra, Johannesburg, and met with Archbishop Buti Thlagale, Archbishop of Johannesburg.

Catholic Relief Services is committed to continue supporting the Church in Southern Africa in the areas of AIDS, democracy and education.  Funding is likely to be less than it was  in the past because of the financial challenges facing the USA and the global economy.