March 21, 2011

Lenten Programme: Soup and Substance (2)

The theme of the second Lenten Reflection in this six part series is Hunger and HIV/Aids in Africa.

You are invited to engage with it by:

  • Learning about the ministry of gorta in Africa in the following ways:
  1. Reading the overview of gorta below and exploring their website at:;
  2. Watching the presentation ‘Hunger in Africa and the Response of gorta’ by Rebecca Amukhoye, gorta field worker in Uganda and Tanzania; and
  3. Reading the attached document that presents case studies of people living with HIV/Aids and the ways in which gorta is mitigating the impact of this disease on their lives.
  • Finding inspiration in the Scripture and Mercy Tradition
  • Taking Action

This Reflection is suitable for both personal and group engagement.

The Ministry of gorta

gorta is an independent, international development NGO and the Irish partner of the FAO. Their intention is to contribute powerfully to the eradication of the causes of hunger and extreme thirst in the world. Their approach to long term development is holistic, multi-disciplinary and creative. They encourage integrated solutions recognising the inter-dependent relationship that exists between food and water security, health, education and social enterprise.

gorta’s vision is a world where there is no hunger and where the poorest rural communities have the means to create a positive future for themselves and their children.

gorta implements innovative and effective strategic partnerships with some of the world's poorest communities focusing on: 

  • Water and food security that sustains life
  • Healthcare that saves lives
  • Education that empowers
  • Livelihoods that create prosperity

... in a manner that strives to achieve social, environmental and economic justice for all. 

In this video, Rebecca Amukhoye, gorta field worker in Uganda and Tanzania talks about the development initiatives of gorta in the West Nile region of Uganda which address the impact of extreme poverty in the aftermath of a decade of political and civil strife.

gorta is also involved in addressing the preventing the spread of HIV/Aids and improving the lives of those already affected by this disease. To learn more about gorta’s ministry in this area, read the following case studies and descriptions of how gorta is mitigating the impact of this disease.

Gorta and HIV (PDF)

Finding Inspiration


Jesus shows compassion and responsibility
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.”
Matthew 15:32

Christ is identified with all people
Then he will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And he will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:34-40

  • The poor need help today, not next week!
  • While we serve the poor according to our ability, we are not to expect to be able to relieve all their wants, but to regulate our charity according to order.
  • I never wanted to become a nun. I only wanted to serve the poor, because that seemed to be what God was asking of me.

Taking Action

Engaging the Reflection on Hunger and HIV/Aids in Africa
What do you feel called to do as a response to your engagement with this reflection:

… at a personal level?

… in your sphere of influence?

… at a financial level?

Personal Action

You might like to respond with an action that is a change:

… of attitude

… of heart

… of mind

… of policy

… of funding priorities

Or you might like to join others in prayer and reflection on this theme.

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