CATHOLIC INFORMATION SERVICE FOR AFRICA (CISA)


SOUTH AFRICA: Blessed Gérard's Care Centre Marks 10 Years of Service

MANDENI, October 13, 2006 (CISA) - Blessed Gérard's Care Centre in Mandeni, kwaZulu/Natal, will celebrate its tenth anniversary this Sunday. The Centre's president, Father Gérard T Lagleder O.S.B, prepared for CISA the following report:

It was 14 years ago (28.10.1992) that the Catholic parish priest of Mandeni and four of his parishioners recognised the urgent necessity to organize the charitable work of the church in their area properly and to make it sustainable and self-reliant.

They founded the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, a "private association of the Christ's faithful", according to Canon Law as the South African Relief Organisation of the Order of Malta, named after Blessed Gérard, the founder of the Order of Malta, which is the oldest hospital order of the church.

Only four years after their foundation, they built and opened Blessed Gérard's Care Centre, which today, comprises amongst 10 other projects the largest hospice in South Africa and a Children's Home.

The project co-coordinator of the AIDS desk of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference once called it the flagship of the AIDS work of the Catholic Church in South Africa.

When Wilfrid Cardinal Napier of Durban first visited the centre, he spontaneously joined the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard as a member and so did many other people as active members, financial and spiritual supporters so that the membership roll today is 1,810 people, which makes it probably the largest Catholic relief organization in South Africa.

The Centre has been twice enlarged since its opening 10 years ago and another addition is already planned.

The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the blessing and opening of Blessed Gérard's Church and Blessed Gérard's Care Centre on Sunday, October 15, 2006.

In depth information about Blessed Gérard's Care Centre is available online at http://bbg.org.za/newsletters/25/aidscapital.htm and http://bbg.org.za/carecentre/

Issue No. 779, Friday, October 13, 2006


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