Valdocco, Turin, 23 December 2022 -- On 22nd December, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, with the consent of the General Council, appointed Fr Václav KLEMENT as Superior of the Southern Africa: South Africa-Lesotho-Eswatini (AFM) 'Blessed Michael Rua' Vice-province for the period of 6 years 2023-2029. The consultation for the new Superior was guided by the Africa-Madagascar Regional Councilor, Fr Alphonse Owoudou.
Fr. Václav was born on October 7, 1958 in Brno, Czechoslovakia and started his Salesian consecrated life during the former totalitarian regime, made his first profession in 1982, then left his home country for Italy, crossing the Alps mountains to pursue his second vocation as a missionary ad gentes for Project Africa. However at his perpetual profession in Rome (1985) he was incardinated into the South Korea Vice-province (KOR) and soon after his ordination on May 25, 1986 started his missionary life in Seoul on August 11, 1986.
During his 16 years of missionary life in South Korea (1986-2002) Fr Klement was involved in the ministry for youth at risk, in the secondary school as catechist and then as rector of the Seoul 'motherhouse' of Daerim dong and finally since 1996 as the Superior of the Vice-province of Saint Korean Martyrs.
During the 25th General Chapter (GC) he was elected as the first General Councillor for the newly established region of East Asia-Oceania (EAO) in March 2002. After six years he was elected at GC26 (2008) as the General Councillor for the Missions - in that period he visited 24 African countries. During GC27 (2014) was again elected as the EAO Regional Councillor for the second time. After GC28 in May 2020 the Rector Major appointed him as the Extraordinary visitor "ad nutum et pro tempore" and until now he has undertaken the Extraordinary visitation of 3 provinces - ZMB, PLN and AFE. Fr Klement accepted his appointment at Valdocco - Turin.
The AFM Vice-province with headquarters in Johannesburg (South Africa) was established in 1988 and Fr Vaclav will become its 7th Superior, after Fr Joy SEBASTIAN. There are 38 confreres and one novice, who belong to the AFM provincial community stretched in 3 countries - South Africa (since 1896 in Cape Town), Eswatini - former Swaziland (since 1953 in Manzini) and Lesotho (since 1980 in Maputsoe) living in 7 canonical communities.
Fr Klement is not a complete stranger to the AFM Vice-province, since he did the Extraordinary visitation of AFM in 2011, and recently met young confreres in initial formation in their sister provinces of AFE and ZMB in past two years.
The current Superior of AFM Vice-province, Fr Joy Sebastian, welcomes the appointment in his Circular letter (December 22, 2022): 'We Welcome Fr Vaclav with open hearts and minds and assure him of our cooperation and collaboration in the work of the Salesian Charism and spirituality in AFM. We thank God and accompany him with our prayers."
The installation date of the newly appointed AFM Superior is not yet finalized; probably will happen after the second period of the ongoing AFM Extraordinary visitation, that is scheduled for 24 February 2023.