LUMKO Centre – Benoni – South Africa

March 7, 2024

‘Radiating Hope Together’ as religious in Southern Africa

   Already a traditional event LCCL (Southern Africa) Annual General Meeting 2024 attended by 64 women and men religious leaders of 57 different religious congregations of South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho, Botswana and delegates from Zimbabwe was held in Lumko Centre on March 4-7, 2024.

  A heartwarming theme ‘Radiating Hope Together’ (Collaborating in our journey together to be signs of reconciliation and hope) was guided by the LCCL President, Fr Siphelele Gwanisheni, OFM, and 8 members LCCL executive committee.

   A carefully prepared program was opened with a short orientation for more than 20 first-time participants about the LCCL by its President and his Deputy. The whole four-day event was moderated in a very uplifting and delicate way by Br Michael Burke, CFC and well followed by Archbishop of Durban, Siegfried Mandla Jwara, CMM, an LCCL liaison bishop to the SACBC, who was present from the first to the last moments of the AGM.

 Sisters, Brothers and religious Priests who are entrusted by their communities with a service of authority, were refreshed by a calm and well-animated prayer time and daily Eucharist. All three Mass presiders, Archbishop Jwara, CMM Charge d’affair of the Holy See Mons Dario Pavisa and Fr Siphelele Gwanisheni, OFM awakened us with simple invitations for a joyful life witness, for ‘blisters on our knees’ and listening to the voice of God.

Besides the ‘peer support’ among the religious congregational leaders amidst their stress, tensions, and hope-filled life vision, the AGM offered ample time for group sharing on hope-inspiring motivation, especially how to ‘reconcile the gaps’ and bring more joy, hope and inspiration to their sisters and brothers. 

At the ‘action’ level, each of the five ‘Metropolitan groups’ (Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria) have chosen joint effort focus – on forming a religious forum, youth ministry, acting upon the xenophobia, caring about the environment (Laudato Si) and work for migrants refugees respectively). The last but not least common target is to involve the 40+ congregations that are not yet participating in the LCCL and foster also the diocesan level communion and relationship amongst the religious leaders themselves.

The hard work of the ‘executive committee’ entrusted with various portfolios was much appreciated: Counter Human Trafficking (Talitha Kum), Catholic Education (CBE and CIE), Communications, Justice and Peace with the Laudato Si Movement, Initial and Ongoing Formation, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue.

The meeting was enriched by the visit of the SA Charge d’Affair, Mons Dario Pavisa, who encouraged us to be more connected to God in our ministry as leaders. We also received input on the Synod on Synodality and preparation for the 2025 Jubilee of Consecrated Life (to be also celebrated in Southern Africa and in Rome), reminded all present about the vital contribution of consecrated women and men in the heart of the Church.

During a brief evaluation there emerged also a possible AGM 2025 theme – Vocations. 

Photo by Sheila Pires, SACBC Communication.

LCCL: Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life (Southern Africa)