Holy Cross Hospice at age 20

It’s windy.

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Howard Moffat is standing in the sun, outside the tent where we are all gathered. He is speaking to us about the Holy Cross Hospice, showing real poise as he holds firmly to his notes, which are blowing in the wind.

We are on the sports ground across the road from the cathedral.

This is the 20th anniversary of the creation of this hospice program, founded at the height of the AIDS pandemic. The Holy Cross Cathedral has been instrumental in support. As has Howard, a priest and medical doctor, descendant of the Moffats of 19th century missionary fame.

Holy Cross Hospice has evolved over time. The advent of anti-retrovirals has meant that a diagnosis of HIV-positive is no longer fatal. And as funding has slowly improved, there is a move from being a day centre to residential care, at least when the building is soon completed. Medical staffing is still a challenge, but it is improving.

There are two brief talks that make me wish even more that I understand Setswana. One is from a beneficiary of hospice care; the other is from a care-giver. The response of the audience makes me know it is worth hearing.

We also have entertainment. A marimba band provides an interlude between speakers. And there are some traditional dancers. And food.

As Howard expresses appreciation to the Lady Khama Charitable Trust here in Botswana, I also think of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, which has organized concerts to support Holy Cross Hospice. Well done all.

And I remember a fellow priest and gentle spirit, Ralph Macy, who dies in hospice in North Carolina this week. May we give thanks for hospice… and may his soul and those of all the departed rest in peace, and rise in glory.