Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award for Sr Alison Munro
Sr Alison Munro received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award at the end of a celebration of the Eucharist during the plenary session of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SACBC) in recognition of her work in the AIDS Office of the SACBC. In a tribute before the conferring of the award, Bishop Kevin Dowling of the Diocese of Rustenburg, who had worked closely with Sr Alison in the early years, recalled the challenges related to the establishment of the SACBC AIDS Office at a time when AIDS in Southern Africa was spiralling out of control, and when no antiretroviral treatment was yet available. It was necessary to secure the funding needed to establish and support diocesan responses to people dying of AIDS-related illnesses. The bishop noted Sr Alison’s commitment over many years in establishing and supporting home-based care, treatment, and work with orphans and vulnerable children at diocesan level. After Mass the Sisters present (Paula-Mary van der Walt, Helen-Veronica, Leoncienne and Alison) joined the bishops for a festive meal.
Present at the celebration of the Eucharist were several hundred youth who earlier in the day had been in conversations with the bishops concerning the needs and concerns of young people. The dialogue was part of the preparation for Mini World Youth Day to be held in Durban in December, for the upcoming Synod on Youth and for World Youth Day in Panama.