THE STRIKING SOUTH AFRICAN countryside is the backdrop for an outdoor Stations of
the Cross. The Stations resonate for South Africans, who daily struggle with the enormous death toll of AIDS.
volunteers to provide basic training in
catechism. “Without community effort there is no church!” Roache says.
A huge challenge for him is
ministry to south Africans with AiDs.
This devastating disease has profoundly torn the fabric of south Africa and neighboring countries. With
roughly a third of the population HiV-positive, AiDs is cutting down adults
in the prime of their lives, orphaning
more than a million children, and
making funerals unbearably common.
“on average i anoint five to ten dying
people a week and preside at a funeral
every saturday,” notes Roache. “
saturdays are the funeral days.”
Batswana funerals begin at 6
a.m., because it is a tradition to
send off their beloved at sunrise. “it
is their understanding of the Resurrection. so depending on the distance, i can be en route to a church
or cemetery before 5 a.m.”
Whether at a funeral or a sunday
Mass, Roache takes preaching seriously. “i must be responsible in how
i break open the Word of God for the
people and be very conscious of what
is actually being presented.
“That responsibility is humbling. The realization that you are
an instrument of God keeps you
grounded. i have found myself more
and more sitting before the Blessed
sacrament mulling over scripture in
preparation for a homily or workshop. it is then and only then that
Jesus gives me what is needed. if i
do not spend time with Jesus in the
eucharist, then everything, including
preaching, remains meaningless.”
Putting it in God’s hands