Regnum Christi

June 10, 2020

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Regnum Christi is praying a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We invite you to join us in prayer each day on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, or by using the e-booklet that can be downloaded here.

Thank you for uniting with us in prayer as we prepare for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus coming up on Friday, June 19th. We look forward to walking this spiritual journey with you.

 

 

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Sharing the Sorrows of Mary’s Heart

Fr. Daniel Brandenburg, LC, has written a book and created an accompanying retreat called Journey to Joy: Reflections on the 7 Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Fr. Daniel described one woman he had given spiritual direction to for some time. She had struggled in her relationship with Mary and different books did not seem to help. He offered her the manuscript before it was published and she said that it revolutionized the way she looked at Mary, opening up a whole new relationship with Mary. She noted, “Up until now, I’d always been kind of jealous of her [Mary] because she was a perfect woman without any problems or struggles because she was immaculately conceived. Now, I understand that she’s a woman just like me: she struggled and she suffered. Now I can truly understand how she truly is my mother.”

The idea for this book came in 2015, when a group of women in Louisville, Kentucky asked Fr. Daniel for a retreat on Mary’s seven sorrows. Fr. Daniel described how he proceeded after that proposal: “I began to dedicate some time to prayer and meditation on the topic.” He noted, “Even after so many years of Legionary formation, I didn’t know what the devotion of the seven sorrows was all about. We’re dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows and I didn’t even know what the seven sorrows were.”

Fr. Daniel started with the seven sorrows in the scriptures, not focusing extensively on the devotions that have arisen from these sorrows. He explained, “I spent a lot of time meditating on the passages of Scripture referring to each of the seven sorrows. I tried to understand and put myself in a contemplation of place in each one of the sorrows.” He wanted to make very clear that this book was the fruit of meditation but is by no means a private revelation. He hopes it helps people but realizes it might not help everyone.

Looking back to history, he saw a lot of Christian artwork depicting the various sorrows, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. He also noted some variations in formulating the seven sorrows, but stuck to a kind of consensus view.

Fr. Daniel thinks this book and retreat are extremely relevant today, “because we continue to have suffering. Suffering is part of every human life. And learning to deal with suffering, work through it and come out on the other side is one of the most important things we can learn.” He notes that for Mary, suffering is not the end. She does not just grin and bear it. Instead, stated Fr. Daniel, “Her response shows us the way to transform sorrow in our life into joy. If we learn that secret, we have the secret to a happy and fulfilled life.”

The book is structured with a short introduction and conclusion surrounding chapters on each of the seven sorrows. Each of those chapters follows the same structure: picture from Christian artwork depicting the sorrow, a quotation from Scripture, some songs Fr. Daniel recommends for meditating on that sorrow, why this sorrow was existential for Mary, how she pivoted to transform the sorrow to joy and then conclude with reflection questions and a prayer.

Fr. Daniel thinks the artistic aspects are important. He thinks that it is important to use means like them to reach the other ways we are open to God such as emotions and senses. This is why he uses so many artistic works from the history of the Church representing Our Lady of Sorrows. He thinks these works will elevate our soul to Mary and Jesus.

In recent years, Fr. Daniel has had some particular sufferings that make this book more personal. He had a heart attack in 2016 when he was halfway through giving the first retreat series and writing the book. This colored the writing of the book. A week after he sent the first draft to an editor, he received a cancer diagnosis. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he did not change much substantially in the book although he added a few lines. He noted, “I was able to live it first hand in a deeper way. Everything that I had written, everything that I had meditated on in the sorrows of Mary and her suffering became much more real through lived experience. I was able to prove first hand that there can be great joy in the midst of suffering.” He experienced a certain sense of joy amidst the cancer like he saw Mary having joy in sorrow.

The material for the book was developed as a retreat and has been given as a retreat in various formats, including a two-day online retreat this year during Holy Week.

You can purchase Fr. Daniel’s Book on Amazon (if ordering individually) or RCSpirituality (if ordering in bulk). For 2020, Fr. Daniel is donating all proceeds to Catholic World Mission. Catholic World Mission benefits and collaborates with Catholics living in poverty in developing parts of the world.

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Regnum Christi Statistics as of December 31, 2019

The following statistics are calculated with the information provided by the territories and consecrated members of Regnum Christi globally.

Members

At the end of 2019, Regnum Christi had 23,531 lay members, 515 Consecrated Women, 56 Lay Consecrated Men, and 1,455 Legionaries of Christ globally. There are also 12,053 ECYD members.

A total increase of 879 lay members of Regnum Christi was recorded during the year 2019 (+ 4%). On the other hand, in this same period there was a decrease of -2% for the Consecrated Women, -3% for the Legionaries of Christ, and a decrease of 3 members for the Lay Consecrated Men.

Members of Regnum Christi

Type of Regnum Christi Member

2005

2013

2019

Variance in the last year

Lay Members

21,627

21,758

23,531

4%

Consecrated Women

540

526

515

-2%

Lay Consecrated Men

62

63

56

-5%

Legionaries of Christ

1,582

1,537

1,455

-3%

Total members

22,665

23,426

25,557

3%

Service to the Church

In December 2019, the educational works of Regnum Christi exceeded 195,800 students, including 68,330 students in Regnum Christi affiliated schools advised worldwide (an increase of 464 compared to the previous year), and 19,367 students in Mano Amiga schools (a decrease of 2984 compared to the previous year).

There are 20 Mano Amiga schools in Mexico, 3 in Chile, 2 in Venezuela, 2 in Colombia, 2 in Brazil, 2 in the Philippines and 1 in Argentina.

There are 57,564 in-person university students in the International Network of Universities (an increase of 5310), and 48,625 in the Inter-American University for Development – UNID (an increase of 5738), distributed over 47 campuses. The 16 campuses or headquarters of the universities affiliated with the International Network of Universities are located in Mexico (12), Italy (1), Spain (1), Chile (1) and the United States (1).

In the field of ecclesiastical universities, there are also 796 students at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, 723 in the Mexican section of the John Paul II Institute for the Family, 58 at the Interdiocesan Seminary and Theological Institute Maria Mater Ecclesiae in São Paulo. The Pontifical International Maria Mater Ecclesiae College in Rome has 98 seminarians.

During 2019 there were a total of 43 parishes entrusted to the Legionaries of Christ, 25 of which are in Mexico (23 of them in the diocese of Cancún-Chetumal), 8 in Italy, 3 in Western Europe, 2 in Brazil, 3 in North America, and 2 in Spain. These provide pastoral service to nearly 1,000,000 people. Legionaries of Christ and Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi operate the Magdala Pilgrim Center in Galilee, which received some 250,000 pilgrims in 2019, and have also been entrusted with the care of the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem, which received some 68,000 pilgrims in 2019.

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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!