From Nov. 6-8, Dr. Gilbert Buckle, director of the National Catholic Health Service in Ghana, will visit Gates, Geneva, Elmira and Ithaca to talk about AIDS in his homeland.
Buckle, a leading expert on AIDS in Ghana, is the 2004 Africa Campaign Speaker for Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. Each year, CRS sponsors at least one speaker from Africa to come to the United States and visit parishes and other groups to talk about African issues. Judy Taylor, director of advocacy and communications for the Rochester Diocese’s Catholic Charities, noted that the diocese’s Public Policy Committee has selected increasing awareness of and solidarity with Africa as one of its goals for 2005 and 2006.
Taylor added that Buckle’s diocesan tour is serving as preparation for World AIDS Awareness Day Dec. 1. HIV/AIDS information packets for diocesan faith communities will be available at the sites of Buckle’s presentations.
He will speak at the following locations:
* Nov. 6: The diocesan Pastoral Center, 1150 Buffalo Road, Gates, as part of the conference “HIV/AIDS: A Shared Challenge,” which begins at 9 a.m. Also speaking will be Jane Hallinen, director of AIDS Services for Catholic Charities Community Services of Rochester. At 12:30 p.m., a documentary on HIV/AIDS, “A Closer Walk,” will be shown. Admission and beverages are free, and a limited number of box lunches will be available for $5 each. For information, call 585/328-3210, ext. 1323.
* Nov. 7: St. Stephen’s Church, 48 Pulteney St., Geneva, during the 10 a.m. liturgy. For information, call Father Roy Kiggins at 315/789-0930.
* Nov. 8: St. Joseph’s Hospital, 555 E. Market St., Elmira, from noon to 1:30 p.m. For information, call Kathy Dubel at 607/734-9784, ext. 135. Buckle will also speak at the International Room at Willard Straight Hall at Cornell University, Ithaca, from 6:30-7:45 p.m. Call 607/272-5062, ext. 12, for information.
Taylor said Buckle’s visit will help diocesan Catholics learn more about HIV/AIDS.
“Most of us know so little, really, about AIDS or Africa,” she said. “Yet HIV/AIDS is a challenge we share with our brothers and sisters there. We hope those in ordained and lay ministry in our parishes, hospitals and campuses will take advantage of the opportunity to hear Dr. Buckle speak and learn from his experience.”