Back to homepage Arts | Entertainment Boston Globe Online BostonWorks Real Estate Sports digitalMass Travel The Boston Globe Spotlight Investigation Abuse in the Catholic Church
HomePredator priestsScandal and coverupThe victimsThe financial costOpinion
Cardinal Law and the laityThe church's responseThe clergyInvestigations and lawsuits
Interactive2002 scandal overviewParish mapExtrasArchivesDocumentsAbout this site
2014 update

Crux, a Catholic news site

A new site from the Boston Globe includes news updates on clergy abuse and other Catholic issues.
 Latest coverage

April 30
Archdiocese sets $10.5m goal

April 29
Insurer files countersuit

April 21
BC buys diocese headquarters
Sale leaves neighbors wary
Deal was a match for both
School expands its footprint

April 3
Archdiocese cites $14m loss

February 24
Proceeds to benefit diocese

January 13, 2004
O'Malley seeks closing advice

January 10, 2004
Letter: Accept pain of closings

January 4, 2004
Dot parish struggles to survive

December 17
O'Malley plans aggressive cuts

December 14
BC's chance to relieve squeeze

December 10
Parishes closure candidates

December 9
Diocese to mortgage seminary

December 7
Property piques BC's interest

December 6
BC board backs land deal

December 5
BC eyes archdiocese land
Neighbors watch property sale

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Church will end AIDS Ministry

By Wendy Davis, Globe Correspondent, 5/22/2003

Falling victim to budget cuts, the Catholic church's 15-year-old Office of AIDS Ministry is slated to close at the end of June, said program director Sister Zita M. Fleming, who also plans to leave then.

The office, which was started by former Boston Archbishop Cardinal Bernard F. Law in 1988 and joined with Catholic Charities in 1995, currently runs four residential shelters in the Boston area for AIDS patients and also coordinates educational programs at schools and parishes.

While one leading AIDS fighter worried that the program's educational components will cease without a central office, Fleming said the shelters -- in Brighton, Roxbury, Lowell, and the Fenway area -- will continue to operate, accommodating 70 people at a time.

''The work will go on,'' she said, adding that the individual residences will now be responsible for helping patients obtain long-term economic, psychological, and medical assistance. The Haitian Multi-Service Center in Dorchester, which has offered some of the program's services, will continue to operate.

But, said Fleming, the church will stop coordinating speaking and educational efforts at schools and parishes after the office shutters. Fleming, a 71-year-old former classics professor and dean at Regis College who was tapped by Law in 1990 to head the office, frequently traveled to schools to speak about AIDS.

Fleming said the decision to close the office was made six weeks ago. She did not know the program's exact budget -- funding comes from the Archdiocese of Boston, Catholic Charities, and government grants -- but said she thinks it was in excess of $100,000.

The Boston Archdiocese spokesman, the Rev. J. Christopher Coyne, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Fleming views the office's closing as one sign that AIDS is no longer considered the crisis it once was, primarily because new treatments have greatly prolonged patients' lives. ''I don't want to imply that the epidemic is over, because it's not,'' she said. However, she added, ''Even some of the people that I know and love very much are now looking at AIDS as a chronic disease'' rather than a death sentence.

Fleming said she decided to leave a year ago and has spent much of the last 12 months getting programs set up for the work to be decentralized. ''I feel I have done what I can do.'' she said.

However, Larry Kessler, founding director of the AIDS Action Committee in Boston, said he is particularly worried that the educational outreach programs will discontinue. ''The epidemic is far from over,'' he said. ''We tend to forget we have a new generation that needs to be educated.

''There is a perception that it's all conquered,'' added Kessler, who has noticed a decline in volunteers in his own organization from approximately 2,000 three years ago to fewer than 1,000 today. ''In some ways, AIDS has gone underground again.''

This story ran on page B7 of the Boston Globe on 5/22/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Advertise | Contact us | Privacy policy