By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published December 6, 2007
Children from Jamaica were remembered last week at a Worlds AIDS Day commemoration by young people at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
Girls from the Briarcliff Road parish worked for months quilting a panel for the internationally known AIDS Memorial Quilt. They dedicated the colorful panel to young people at the Mustard Seed Community in Jamaica who live with HIV, as well as those who have been killed by the disease.
The group looked first for an individual child to be the centerpiece of their efforts but later made the decision to create the panel for the whole Mustard Seed community. It was founded more than 25 years ago by Father Gregory Ramkissoon to care for handicapped and abandoned children.
“We wanted a child or children because these were children making the quilt,” said Kathy Parker, a leader at the AIDS ministry at IHM.
The girls working on the project were Emilia Suarez, Emily Penn, Catherine Evelyn, Meredith Gage, Maria Suarez, Mai Callahan, Cara Boggs and Lauren Drawe. Assisting on the project were Marie Gage, Juliette Evelyn, Alice Suarez and Cathi Callahan.
The quilt was featured in the World AIDS Day closing ceremony at Emory University, Atlanta, on Friday, Nov. 30. Quilt panels representing 800 people who have died from the disease were displayed on campus, the largest collegiate display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in the country.
During the presentation, the girls read the names of Jamaican youngsters who have died and afterward Father Bryan Small, Emory’s Catholic chaplain, closed the event with prayer.
The young quilters helped with the AIDS ministry at the church for the past five years, especially in the making of welcome baskets of household goods for people living with the disease.
The panel was also displayed at the Atlanta Archdiocese’s Mass for a World Living with AIDS Dec. 1, at a school assembly, and at the parish.
The colorful work will be handed over to the AIDS Memorial Quilt to become part of its permanent collection.