“A new heritage for a new time”

The eleventh Asia-Pacific Lasallian Educators Conference (APLEC) was held from 11-13 April 2023, involving 141 delegates from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Rome and Thailand.

Brother Timothy Peter FSC, appointed Visitor of the ANZPPNG District* in September 2022, opened the meeting with a welcome address.

Immediately afterwards, Brother Armin Luistro, FSC, current Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, shared the wisdom of his more than 40 years of experience during which he has served in countless leadership roles in the field of education and as President of several La Salle ministries.

Brother Armin recalled, in his address entitled: “Fragility and Fraternity: A New Heritage for a New Time”, that “this new heritage requires a conversation of the heart; a soul searching to see our work with different eyes of faith and hope”. He added: “[…] in this fragmented world, can we hope that all Lasallians will be trained to live the fraternity and become experts in facilitating it? We know well that our fraternity is fragile. There are many conflicts that keep us apart. There are many past experiences that cause resentment. There are many cultural systems that do not allow us to fully experience our sisterhood and brotherhood. Could we then offer ourselves as healers in our fragmented world?”.

All the workshops held during the meeting days focused on talking about the well-being that comes from being of service to others, including as educators, and on keeping young Lasallians engaged, learning especially from the commitment of women.

During the second day of the meeting, Dr Marion Byrne, Yourtown’s Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, expressed her passion for human rights, her dedication to young people and her experience in mental health law. While Pat O’Reilly, Director of the Lasallian Mission Council, talked about Lasallian spirituality. John Molineux, FCPHR, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management at Deakin Business School, concluded by addressing the importance of well-being for educators.

The same themes were also addressed in the sessions of the workshops: the well-being of teachers, encouraging a constructivist and Lasallian model of professional development for middle leaders, effective ministry and a shared spirit of faith.

The third and final day of the APLEC* meeting featured an inspirational address by Lana Turvey Collins. As Facilitator of the Australian Plenary Council, Lana is dedicated to helping organisations have challenging conversations and create deeper connections. Her message on synodality struck a chord with the audience.

The third round of workshops focused on being Lasallian in the modern world, child safety and understanding the regulations to protect students in the digital age.

Brother Ricky Laguda FSC, who is currently serving his second term as General Councillor of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, closed the three-day meeting by addressing the future of the Lasallian community.

* Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea