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Washington, DC, November 24, 1997 — DignityUSA urges all of the Catholic bishops, priests and ministers of the United States to actively participate in World AIDS Day (December 1) an important step to implementing Always Our Children.

"The church's participation is particularly important this year in light of the recent pastoral letter, Always Our Children and the bishops' own reaffirmation of it at their semi-annual meeting (November 10-13). The letter is a source of encouragement and reassurance to our parents, families and friends. The letter is a guide and a call to action for the priests and pastors of our country. The pastoral sensitivity contained in the letter cannot be limited to those moments just prior to death, they need to be applied to the whole of our lives. World AIDS Day serves a twofold purpose -- through it we recall the past: our companions, family and friends. It also allows us to look to the future with hope. Based on the text and spirit of the letter, which recommends to priests and pastors that they have a special Mass or anointing, World AIDS Day is an appropriate day for the bishops to demonstrate their resolve and put their words into action," said Robert F. Miailovich, President of DignityUSA.

"The twofold message of World AIDS Day, like that of Always Our Children, is that of hope and challenge. The challenge the bishops face today, and every day in the future, is to put the words of Always Our Children into action. Our hope is that the bishops will heed their own words and undertake the important task of implementing the letter," said DignityUSA Executive Director Charles L. Cox. He went on to say, "As we have said in the past, DignityUSA, as well as all of our chapters and members stand ready to offer our help and experience."

Founded in 1969, DignityUSA is the nation's oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and their families and friends.