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For a reinvigorating and life-giving new year!

Fr Elphège Quenum SJ (pictured above, left)

At the dawn of the year 2017, my thoughts turn to all those for and with whom AJAN accomplishes its mission.

May the new year, heralded by the light of the Nativity of Christ, once again bring vigour and life-giving grace to people living with HIV and to their families, as well as to all those who are afflicted by this or that health concern or other life problem that makes them fragile.

By mobilising and accompanying Jesuits and their co-workers as they respond to HIV, AJAN aims for the advent of a society that is freed once and for all from this destructive virus to live life to the full. We do so by strengthening individuals, families and communities. This entails participating in the redemptive mission of Christ, who came so that we may have life, and have it to the full (cfr. John 10:10). This mission invites each one to allow his heart to be attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no.187).

The current international scenario of the struggle against HIV and AIDS is governed by new strategies, namely 90-90-90 and the Start-free, Stay-free, AIDS-free campaigns, which aim for the eradication of HIV and AIDS by 2030. If we do not take adequate action now, these ambitions will remain but sincere dreams. Let us hope that 2017 will be a year when more strategies for an AIDS-free world are implemented, for a better world characterised by solidarity, peace and mutual acceptance.

Compelled by the compassion of the Gospel and by Jesuit spirituality, which urges the Society of Jesus to respond wherever human suffering and fragility are manifest, AJAN will continue to make its contribution towards the noble objective of a healthy and safe humanity. AJAN wants to continue strengthening the capacity of young people, a pivotal actor in achieving the success of global ambitions to eradicate AIDS. The AHAPPY program, which has now proved itself, should be introduced to many more youth for their enduring self-fulfilment: their self-worth, joyful acceptance of the “specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the creator” and mutual acceptance (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no.285). We cannot deny to this dynamic part of society its virtuous capacity, which is based on “stable interior principles” that build, strengthen and shape freedom, so that they may avoid becoming “slaves of dehumanising and antisocial inclinations” (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no.267). Another concern for AJAN remains healthcare services that reach the heart of marginalised populations. Individual and community accompaniment are integrated in such care.

To do all this, AJAN will continue to work in collaboration with present and future partners in order to have the means to fulfil its ambitions. We take this opportunity to express profound gratitude to all our partners who are engaged by our side in diverse ways. May the God of Love, boundless Source of Peace and Joy, constantly fill your lives so that they will continue to bear lasting fruits!

This is also an opportunity for me to extend my sincere best wishes in friendship to Fr Paterne Mombé who led AJAN in its growth after Fr Michael Czerny, with many successes and big sacrifices. AJAN is grateful to you and wishes you a happy and enriching transition to your future mission.

Wishing a fruitful and excellent New Year to all !

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