Bright Holly Berries and Solemn Red Ribbons

At the corner of Park Place and Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn.

At the corner of Park Place and Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn.

ALL ALONG THE HANDSOME GOTHIC IRON FENCE around St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church on Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn’s North Slope, red ribbons shot with gold hold red tags with calligraphic gold lettering. At the corner of Park Place, the church’s huge holly tree has red berries in profusion. The historic stone church with towering spires makes an imposing backdrop. But this is not seasonal decoration getting the jump on Advent, which in the 2012 liturgical calendar begins on December 2 and leads up to celebration of the birth of Christ on December 25.

These red ribbons are marked each one with the name of someone who has died in the AIDS epidemic, as a sign of remembrance. The church’s World AIDS Day message states that the ribbons are to serve as “a dramatic and hopeful reminder of the continuing need for leadership in the fight against AIDS and HIV…. These ribbons communicate our desire to support all who live with HIV and AIDS, and voice the love we feel for those lost in death to the disease.”

On Saturday, December 1, at 7pm, there will be  service “with music and words of hope,” followed by a reception in the church.”Everyone is welcome,” the church message says.

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