Regnum Christi

March 8, 2018

5 Testimonies of Vocation Week in Seville, Spain

The Regnum Christi members in Seville, Spain, recently had a vocation week to encourage young people to consider a vocation and parents to encourage it. The week included many events but five testimonies from the week stand out.

Almudena Fernandez, consecrated Regnum Christi

“You called me to be consecrated, when I’m with you, I feel safe. You know me and you know what I need. Thank you”.

Iesu communio

María Millan, mother of a nun Iesu Communio (a community in Spain)

“You have answered all my questions, it is not my vocation but my daughter’s. When I ask myself: ‘Why can’t she be with us, her family?’ You answer me, ‘she has found her way and in heaven there are no families – we will all be family.’ She chose the better part, to be your spouse. When I miss her, you grant me peace and love. Thank you for calling and helping other parents give out what they have received freely. We are a breath in life but the love of God is always and forever. “

Jose Mª Cabrera, father of a nun Iesu Communio

“You know me, you know that the most important thing for me are my children, they are the treasure that you have given me. You have taught me that my strength is not worth anything; your plans are not ours, thank you for choosing it “.

Jaime Barón, candidate for Missionary of Charity

He is preparing to enter the seminary of the Missionaries of Charity , founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta, next fall after spending a year in India working with the sisters.

“I was looking for you and I got lost. I looked for you in unbridled nights, I looked for you and I got lost, I fled far away, I ran away from everyone, I ran away from myself. When my eyes were looking down, my heart jumped towards You, I met your eyes, I found you at the door of my heart, waiting for me to open the door for you. My Jesus, from that moment your love could reach through my misery: everything made sense when your mercy healed my wounds.

“Lord, you called me to quench your thirst, Your infinite thirst for love, for the thirst of those who have nothing in my brothers, the poor. Today I thank you for your mercy, your love, my Jesus I thank you for all those people you have put in my path that have led me to you. I thank you especially for my parents, those who tirelessly endured everything, all for love, like you in that cross You have called me to follow you with the words ‘take your cross and follow me.’ The road is long, but only you matter, my God.

“I would like to ask you, Lord, that you show to all these young people, especially for my friends, you know what names are in my heart, the path to You. Lord, show them that your life fills their lives, that your love dominates them, find that meaning to the life that only You give “.

Fernanda, Young Woman in ECYD

The ECYD young women of Seville visited the sisters of the convent of San Leandro during this week and heard testimonies of the vocation and the daily life of prayer.

After the visit, Fernanda reflected, “I realized that at our age, we need form ourselves to support ourselves in our family. They are going to be the ones who inculcate us and show us the path we must follow without being distracted by material things, which take the focus away from what we are made for, to go to heaven. So every time we have to try to organize more things in family and spend more time with her so we can focus on our true mission for this life.”

The events of this week included vocational testimonies to the students at the Highlands School, a visit to the monastery of the sisters of the convent of San Leandro and the Eucharistic adoration in the church of St. George organized by the Vocation Action Circles of Seville. The testimonies above are from these events.

Read the original on the Regnum Christi site of Spain

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A Glimpse into the Holy Land

Fr Eamon Kelly, LC, has served for over 11 years in the Holy Land. The Holy See entrusted responsibility for the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center to the Legionaries of Christ in late 2004. Subsequently, the Legionaries began the Magdala center where Fr Eamon now primarily serves, while helping to bring the Holy Land to our homes.

Interviewer: Fr Eamon, what is your mission in the Holy Land right now?

Fr Eamon: Ever since I first got here, when Legionaries asked me that question, I always said, “My mission is smiling.” When somebody arrives in a foreign country, normally they are a tad apprehensive. When somebody comes to the Holy Land, it’s three times apprehensive. First, they’re apprehensive because it’s just another foreign place. Secondly, a lot of stuff happens over here! Even fireworks can trigger concern. They want to find a bomb shelter. So, you need to say, “Calm down there, relax, it’s just a birthday, graduation or wedding fireworks.” And then there’s a deeper apprehension, because the person could enter [a] close encounter with God, who apparently often showed up around here. That could be pretty serious. Smiling also cuts the distance to the confessional in half.

Hospitality is welcoming and receiving. We want people to connect humanly and [to] realize people here love and welcome them. They can relax, be at home, and they can be at home in Jesus’ home. Just imagine the day Andrew and John noticed Jesus, and they walked behind him. He asks, “What do you want?” They say, “Where you live?” Then they spent the whole afternoon with Jesus. Pilgrims are coming to look for Jesus, walk and stay with him. How should we receive them?

Now I serve in Magdala where we welcome pilgrims, just like I did in Jerusalem.

What’s the situation in Magdala? I think most people have heard about the first-century synagogue found there, but what else has been happening since then?

We did more excavations. In the last few years, we’ve slowed down new excavations because, when you excavate, the work isn’t finished. You have to do conservation, because these treasures were protected underground by the damp soil and a constant temperature. Once you uncover ancient treasures, you’re responsible; our synagogue’s frescoes and mosaics need protection from the elements.

Restoration helps antiquities become more self-evident: how they were used and appeared. Academic work is also essential. Both excavation teams are studying the site:  the Anahuac University and the Israeli Antiquities Authority. A site is not considered excavated until it’s published. A publication provides an objective reference point for expert discussion.

We are also adding new access as the numbers grow: in 2016, 76,000 visitors more than doubled [the number for] 2015, which was our first full year. In 2017, we welcomed 134,000. Already this year, January doubled and February grew by 50%. Rumors say 920 groups of Chinese visitors are supposed to come to the Holy Land this March – so Holy Land traffic will increase.

Magdala is dubbed Crossroads of Jewish and Christian History. Lots of ecumenical and interfaith work here. God is using Magdala like an anti-inflammatory at the joints between Christian communities and between the Jewish and Christ World.

As a St Mary Magdalene location, women are particularly front and center, as evidenced by our recent fourth annual International Conference, “Women of Excellence, Hope for Humanity.” Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other women experience wonderful blessings.

Our visitors have written reviews on TripAdvisor. Now even atheists come because it’s listed as one of the top things to do in Galilee [currently ranked the #1]. Trip Advisor just started us on the Israel level, too.

Guesthouse construction is progressing – could be further along but we depend completely on donations from the first brick to the last can of paint from visitors and their friends back home.

Do we have an approximate completion date on other facilities like the guest house?

Because everything here depends on donations, a precise date eludes us. In order to open the northern wing, we need three million dollars. Then we have the southern wing, the restaurant, and the full-fledged visitors center. Many opportunities to help. Maybe your readers would be interested in helping out themselves or will know somebody, an Evangelical, Protestant, or Jewish neighbor. It would a great opportunity to leave a legacy at this crossroads of Jewish and Christian history.

You’ve also been doing some videos on Facebook where you reflect on the Gospels with the scene from the Holy Land in the background. How did that get started?

Five years ago, people told me it’s important to offer a platform where people can see the Holy Land from outside – to spread the word in a way that people begin to take interest. I haven’t developed it in a focused way because it’s not the main [use] of my time.

Bethlehem on Christmas Day

When something calls my attention or is in sync with the time of the year – let’s say Bethlehem at Christmas – I take that little inspiration into a video. People loved one Easter Sunday sunrise video in Jerusalem.

People are telling me these Facebook videos helped them decide to come to the Holy Land. They say they sense peace, beauty, and goodness. They want to come on pilgrimage.

What do you hope that people would get out of your videos, besides the ones who go to the Holy Land?

That people come to the Holy Land – something they tell me they did because of the videos – is just a bonus. The main purpose is to communicate the joy and the reality of our faith. As children, we hardly ever saw a picture of Jerusalem or the Sea of Galilee. People appreciate a live Holy Land connection: “I’m able to see the sunrise, the waves, I’m able to hear the water lapping, the birds in the morning chirping, to see the Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum.” The incarnation isn’t an idea nor philosophy. It’s not just something cultural. It’s a personal encounter with Christ: God became man, and the coordinates are in time and history. Christ is not a theory. A connection to this material location, time, and geography helps people open mind and heart to pray.

From Notre Dame on a Snowy day

What other ways people can help experience the Holy Land from home?

There’s a show here on i24News called “Holy Land Uncovered” that does a short 6 or 7 minute segment on the religion and history of the Holy Land. I’ve appeared on it several times as a guest, usually with a Jewish scholar or a Rabbi. Once I spoke about taking part in a Yom Kippur ceremony. I’ve been on for different topics from Romance to Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

Any concluding words?

Pray for us! Come on pilgrimage! Connect at www.magdala.org. Spread the word! We are praying for you here!

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Fr. Jacques Philippe gives Lenten Retreat at Pinecrest Academy

Fr. Jacques Philippe, a French priest and best-selling author from the Beatitudes Community,  spoke to about 300 people at Pinecrest Academy’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel on Wednesday evening. The Lenten retreat evening focused on interior peace and six attitudes that can be the friends or enemies of our peace.

With over one million copies sold in 24 languages, Fr. Jacques Philippe’s books on themes such as prayer, interior freedom, and peace of heart have become classics of modern Catholic spirituality.

The audience was made up of students from the school and their parents, as well people from the surrounding Catholic community and parish who had heard about the retreat through the parish bulletin or through social media.

Kathleen Nichols, a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi and Formation Director at Pinecrest, expressed the joy of the school at being able to host this evening of prayer and peace, and welcomed everyone who had come from the Cumming, Georgia area and farther.  Regnum Christi members Bruce and Marybel Carlisle greeted the attendees and moderated the evening, which was composed of a one-hour reflection from Fr. Jacques and 30 minutes of questions and answers.

Focusing on the season of Lent, Fr. Jacques talked about how we expect to know exactly what God wants us to give up in preparation for the Easter Triduum, but that often God has something else in mind.  He said that we tend to look at our Lenten plans as a checklist of things we need to do better to become holy, when really what God wants is for us to sit face-to-face with Jesus and be transformed by his gaze.

Often, he said, the conversion God wants for us is not that we work harder, but that we become more peaceful.  Paraphrasing the beatitudes, he said, “Happy are those who are able to receive the peace of God and share it with those around them.”

Fr. Jacques explained six concrete attitudes that either help us to become more peaceful or hurt our ability to accept Christ’s peace.

 

  1. Faithfulness to prayer: In prayer, at the feet of Christ in the Eucharist and on the crucifix, or with Mary in the rosary, we find peace. God is an ocean of peace. God is peace itself. Prayer brings us into deep contact with him and allows us to give him all the anxieties that get in the way of receiving his peace.
  2. Faith and trust: Reflecting on the Gospel story of the apostles in the boat during a raging storm while Christ was sleeping (Mt 8:23-27), we see that all that God requires from us is trust. Fr. Jacques reflected that perhaps our main sins are not the little things we do wrong, but our lack of faith and trust
  3. Pride as an enemy of peace: Pride is the attitude that says, “I am self-sufficient, I can take care of myself, I don’t need others.” Discouragement and the tendency to judge others are the hallmarks of pride. Pride discourages us because we see our inability to be perfect, and instead of giving ourselves to God with trust and humility, we try harder to succeed on our own, striving with ever greater anxiety.
  4. The capacity to forgive and ask for forgiveness: We are healed and find peace through forgiveness, whether in the sacrament of confession or when we forgive each other. This requires humility and can be very difficult, but God helps us when we ask him to.
  5. Welcoming your life as it is: Even if my life is not what I consider to be ideal or what I would have chosen, I need to embrace it and see the richness and opportunities to love that exist every minute. Often we hold up an illusionary “ideal life” that we strive for while neglecting to see the presence of God in the actual, real life he has given us.  This puts us at war with ourselves, and leads us to feel that we are never satisfied, carrying bitterness and resentment.  If we trust God, then we should trust the life he has given us, and that he is indeed present; he’s not far away in the clouds.  It is in our own concrete reality that we will find God, not taking flight to an imaginary ideal life or to a monastery (unless you are actually called to the monastic life…). Accept life as it is with a gaze of faith, a gaze of hope, and ask God to show you the thousands of possibilities to love everyday.
  6. Live one day at a time: Live in the present moment. Entrust the past to God’s mercy- even the bad parts. God can draw good out of anything.  Entrust the future to his care. Live each day with simplicity, avoiding the anxiety that projects us into the future where we worry about problems that may never even come to exist. This is simply doing what Jesus asked us to do when he said to you and to me,

“I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

(Mt 6:25-34)

 

 

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!