Interview of Fr. Martin Trieb O.S.B. with Bishop Dr. Mansuet Dela Biyase
It has always been the idea of the church that it is not only necessary to care for the souls of people, but also (...) and as a result the church goes so far to see to it, that when there is a need the people are being helped. Right from the beginning (...) to my memory it is part of the church to care for the health of the people (...) I remember in South Africa at the time of apartheid for instance it was church that started health work among the people and also education. (...) but came afterwards and took over from the church. We had for instance in our diocese four hospitals that looked after the health of the people. They were church hospitals as well as schools that were founded in the diocese here for education of the black people. Now at this juncture we have the trouble, more especially in our area, with AIDS. Well, as you know AIDS is has been an epidemic all over almost in quite a number of countries and more especially here in Africa and today it is at least at the present we have the trouble here in South Africa. I remember going for meetings, maybe overseas, international meetings, and one would hear always the stress that AIDS is now prevalent in Africa, and I have been in meetings here in Africa and I was told, one would hear AIDS is in South Africa prevalent. And in meetings in South Africa one did hear and still hears, that AIDS is worst in kwaZulu/Natal. And at meetings in kwaZulu/Natal one hears, AIDS is very prevalent in Zululand and talking of Zululand, that’s the place where I stay and that’s my diocese is in Zululand. There is some truth certainly that we are really in trouble here in Zululand in my area, in my diocese, more especially the near the sea. There is kind of what you call the sea-belt over there one has discovered and seen that there is lots of lots of people suffering from AIDS and lots of people dying from AIDS. I’m not saying, it’s only there but it’s very strong there. Areas of Mandeni, right up, Holy Cross, right up to Empangeni and over Esikhaweni and Richards Bay. There is lots of people dying from AIDS there. I am thankful that we have taken up the challenges it were somehow in our diocese and we have the hospice wherein people are cared for. It has been already in motion for a few years now since 96 and it has started through the help of the missionary by the name of Father Gérard when he founded a group or an association by the name of Blessed Gérard. Many people have been actually assisted trough this and it is of great help in our diocese I think. It’s known now all over the country as it were and I am happy that is the part of the work of the church that is kind of being demonstrated there. People are dying and they are being helped towards their death as it were. Well, as it is known, AIDS is incurable at present, but the main thing is we care over that centre, that hospice we care for the people that have been neglected already, maybe by the hospitals sent away from hospitals because of helplessness or people neglected by their own people et their own homes. They are taken to this ... hospice and cared for. ... These centres are a great help to the people and many people have been assisted and made to die as it were, a sort of a happy death, if I may call it, and a dignified death. These people when they come to these centres to these hospices you will be surprised to learn that one perhaps I remember being told that one was picked up in the canes, dying in the canes and instead of dying in the cane she died eventually in the hospice. We are very thankful and that our people are being helped in this manner and I do hope maybe people would realise that we are not as a church people who only care one side of the person but we care if possible for the whole. We are not saving, trying to save the souls only, but if possible, we save the body, too, because the two belong together.
This page is part of "An everlasting brotherhood" - Preparations for a video film about the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
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