‘From Expatriate to Local – The Gospel Culture of Religious Life’ was the annual meeting’s theme for 70 Leaders of different Religious Congregations from Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference region, which is inclusive of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland.
The coming together of these religious leaders forms an association of men and women, namely: Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life [LCCLSA], who help the leaders of Religious Institutes in Southern Africa to speak with one voice and promote programs and raise awareness on issues affecting the lives of many people on national and international level.
On the 11-14th March 2019, the leaders met at eMseni Christian Centre in Benoni – Johannesburg for their Annual General Meeting. Among the issues discussed was the importance of New Wine in New Wine-skins document, issued in 2017 by the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life, and Societies of Apostolic Life.
During her presentation of the document, Sr Judy Coyle IHM gave a deep analysis of its meaning and later led the group into animated sharing in groups. The main purpose of the discussion was to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Religious Life in the challenging world of today.
The meeting was graced by the presence of Bishop Mandla Sigfried Jwara CMM, the Bishop of the Apostolate Vicariate of Ingwavuma, who is also the SACBC Liaison Bishop for LCCL, His Excellency Archbishop Peter Wells, the Papal Nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia, who availed himself to celebrate the Holy Eucharist for the group and spent the rest of the day with them.
The AGM was also honored by the attendance of specially invited guests from Conference of Major Religious Superiors [CMRS] under the Episcopal Conference of Zimbabwe, a representative from Taize Community in Cape Town, who gave a briefing on the upcoming Taize Pilgrimage for Youth during September.
At the end of the meeting the elections for choosing the new executives were held and the following nominees replaced the old executive: Sr Thobile Gumede OP Montebello, Sr Marichu Gacayan SSPS, Fr Bheki Shabalala CMM and Fr Callistus Zulu TOR. The term for the executive is three years.
During the closing remarks all Religious Congregations under SACBC were strongly encouraged to become members of LCCLSA so that they can benefit from what the body offers, and engage with others in addressing issues that affect their Religious Life and Pastoral commitments.
By Fr Paul Tatu CSS (SACBC Communication and Media)