The Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life Southern Africa (LCCL SA) is a national body whose members are about 100 and constitute men and women Major Superiors from Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Southern Africa.
The LCCL AGM is held annually in March. The Executive chose the following theme for the 2021 AGM:
“Behold, I am making everything new”Rev 21 : 5
In preparing for the AGM, the Executive had to take into consideration the new reality of COVID-19. Thus, back in October 2020, they decided that the AGM would be held virtually…the first-ever way of conducting an LCCL AGM. Not only would it be held on-line for three half days, but it would incorporate the usual number of significant proceedings and procedures into its programme.
In effect this meant time on the agenda for:
Sharing reflections on a specific topic of current significance. This year, participants had been asked to read Pope Francis’s Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”.
Time was given to listen to representatives from LCCL networks such as
The Vatican Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The SA Catholic Bishops’ Conference: Department for Finance: Tax Desk, and the office for Counter Trafficking in Persons.
The President and Marketing officer from St Joseph Theological Institute (Cedara) on courses especially aimed at training women theologians and having women theologians as lecturers.
Conferences of Major Superiors such as the Conference of Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (COMSAM), the Conference of Mozambique, and the South African Conference of Priests (SACOP)
The conference needed to hear reports from all the executive members on their portfolios, representing an extraordinary amount of work accomplished under difficult circumstances.
The conference also had to incorporate an election of new Executive members. We learnt how to elect on line – or to “do polling on-line”! There were 5 vacancies which were Fr Callistus Zulu TOR, Fr Gerard Pagnan SMA, Sr Stephany Thiel OP Newcastle, Sr Thobile Gumede OP Montebello and Sr Marichu Gacayan SSsP. These were replaced by: Sr Mary McAteer MSA, Sr Juilet Khasoane RGS, Sr Boitumelo Matlhabe Sisters of Calvary, Fr Neil Frank OMI and Fr Siphelele Gwanisheni OFM.
The practice of remembering the deceased members of the Conference who had died in the past year was honoured by the solemn reading out of each one’s name.
One of the key highlights was input by Guest Speaker, Fr. Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest very well known in South Africa as an activist who opposed apartheid and supported the liberation struggle, and also known internationally. His prophetic witness in South Africa led to him losing both of his hands and one eye as a result of a letter bomb delivered to him between two religious magazines, by the security police. His message was the importance of caring for self in order to be able to minister to others; to bring good news to the poor, to bring comfort to the broken hearted (Beatitudes). He also highlighted the importance of developing the human traits of kindness, generosity and compassion. In this present time, we are faced with new challenges, and that dares us to develop new skills.
The AGM was skilfully facilitated by Bro. Michael Burke (Christian Brother).
From the feedback and evaluations, the three-day AGM was a resounding success, for which we thank God and all those who organized it.