Franciscan Brother Meets Need for HIV/AIDS Preventive Education, Pastoral Care in Western Massachusetts
The Springfield Union-News on Wednesday profiled Frank Grimaldi, a Franciscan brother who 16 months ago established a one-man HIV/AIDS ministry in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Mass. Grimaldi, who began working with HIV/AIDS patients in 1987 when he was assigned to the hospice unit at Western Massachusetts Hospital, currently facilitates support groups, leads retreats and conducts individual counseling for people affected by HIV/AIDS. He also recently served as the regional coordinator for a national study examining HIV/AIDS education in Catholic schools and other religious education programs. Diocesan catechists, religious education directors, Catholic school teachers and high school students participated in focus groups as part of the survey and the results of those meetings will be used as church educators "see fit." Grimaldi, who is seeking to coordinate more retreats and AIDS education efforts aimed at priests, said he would "like to see the diocese develop its own HIV/AIDS curriculum for directors of religious education and Catholic schools." He is also investigating forming an AIDS network in the Holyoke area with other interested Catholic organizations. He noted that although people with HIV/AIDS now live longer due to improved medical treatment, "the need to care for them and for preventive education remains strong, particularly in Western Massachusetts." The Springfield metropolitan area had the 18th highest rate of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, according to recent federal statistics (Zajac, Springfield Union-News, 1/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.