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“But first let me…”: The January Virtue of Prayer First

“But first let me…”: The January Virtue of Prayer First

“In order to succeed in prayer, it should be done when we first awaken, when our whole being is calm and recollected. We need to make our meditation before anything else.” – Bl. Peter Julian Eymard


January is a month for resetting priorities. If you’re like me, you’ve eaten too much over the holidays, and might be thinking it’s time to cut back on the big meals and baked treats. If your schedule was like mine, your fitness routine, whose regularity was already suffering during the busyness of December, was altogether hijacked by a hectic Christmas schedule, and perhaps you’ve resolved to get back to a more consistent exercise regime. If your house is like mine, it’s been overwhelmed with Christmas décor, occupied by guests, and besieged by an excess of new toys and clothes and gifts, and is in urgent need of a tidy and reorganization. And if your morning prayer life is like mine, it may even have gathered momentum over Advent, but now – after the busyness of a season of late parties, sleeping in, and overnight guests – needs to be picked up, dusted off and resumed with the freshness that comes with a brand new year.


And so, I resolve to rise early before the rest of house awakens, before the needs of the family and the tasks on my to-do list propel me forward throughout my day. I’ll make my coffee, take my seat, open my Bible, and begin.


But first, let me check my e-mail.


And while I’m at it (postponing my prayer just a little bit longer), I might also check the weather for the day. I see it will be cold, and consult my calendar to see how much taxiing of children I’ll have to do that night, or whether I might be able to get away with a cozy evening inside. While I’m thus distracted, I might check my Facebook, read an article, respond to a text until, interruptions and amusements exhausted, I am finally ready to pray.

My initial intonation – “But first let me…” must sound lamentably familiar to Jesus, as he patiently waits to spend time with me in prayer. St. Luke tells us about two similar would-be disciples who, invited by Jesus to follow Him, postponed their “yes”, replying, just like me: “But first let me…” (Lk 9: 59-61). Jesus carried on to Jerusalem, presumably without them.


The month of January, with its new beginnings and fresh start, begs for us to embrace and commit to the virtue of Prayer First.


St. John Vianney was a strong advocate of the virtue of prayer before all else. “We must take great care never to do anything before having said our morning prayers,” he says, warning us, rather persuasively, that “the devil once declared that if he could have the first moment of the day, he was sure of all the rest.” “Never forget,” he continues, “that it is at the beginning of each day that God has the necessary grace for the day ready for us. He knows exactly what opportunities we shall have to sin, and will give us everything we need if we ask him then. That is why the devil does all he can to prevent us from saying our morning prayers or to say them badly.”

Say no more, John Vianney. Now is the perfect time to commit, not just to a life of prayer, but to a life where prayer comes first.


Monthly Virtue Resolution: Give God the very first moment of your day.


Monthly Motto: “But first, let me pray.”

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Florence Leadership Academy

Inspiring a Leadership Renaissance in Florence, Italy: Florence Leadership Academy

Launched in September, 2023, under the guidance of its founder and executive director, Fr. Kramer Cameron, LC, the Florence Leadership Academy is an initiative designed to form, train, inspire, and accompany young people towards their leadership potential. The program offers training in ethical, sustainable, and inclusive leadership through monthly meetings where participants have the opportunity to meet prominent leaders in a wide range of fields, such as the arts, culture, architecture, fashion, technology, sports, healthcare, education, and business. Through talks and workshops, members of Florence Leadership Academy learn from the personal experiences of leaders across a variety of disciples, while meeting and networking with other young people from around the world, creating what Fr. Kramer hopes will launch a “leadership renaissance” among today’s youth, and tomorrow’s leaders. “We believe that young people have unlimited potential and an infinite desire to do good and have an impact,” says Fr. Kramer. “We want to tap into this potential and create a movement which changes leadership forever.”


Florence Leadership AcademyFlorence Leadership Academy held its inaugural event on October 27th of this year. The “Leadership in Sport” evening was held at Palazzo Gondi in downtown Florence. The event featured talks from a number of speakers, including Dejion Lynch, a former NCAA Division 1 football player for Southeastern Louisiana now playing for Guelfi Firenze, Florence’s own American football team, along with Edoardo Cammi, the GM of Guelfi Firenze, and Andrea Barzagli, a former professional Serie A soccer player who won the World Cup with the Italian team in 2006. “I think it’s fundamental in life, in any field, to have a goal. While you work, you can think about reaching it, and so you make sacrifices, the sacrifices needed to get there,” shared Andrea. “Then there are many other directions, and many other opportunities that open up, by going down that path towards that goal.”


Each event begins with a panel discussion on leadership in a particular area of interest, followed by small group workshops led by experts in the field. The evening ends with dinner and a DJ. While the program currently offers monthly leadership evenings directed towards high school students, Fr. Kramer and his team plan to soon host intensive weekend and week-long courses with leadership experts across all areas of society. The Academy also offers a certificate for those who complete the program. In the future, Fr. Kramer also hopes to connect the Academy’s participants with internships where they can put into practice the leadership lessons they have learned through the talks and events, and to ultimately provide networking opportunities and mentorship relationships for the youth that will continue to foster their leadership qualities.


Florence Leadership Academy is open to high school students ages 14-18 years old of any faith who can speak and understand English, and who want to have a positive impact on their community and society. Applicants to the program must provide a letter outlining why they would like to participate, how they would define a leader, and why they want to be one, and must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from an adult teacher, coach, or mentor.


This initiative is a response from the heart of the Regnum Christi charism to form and launch apostles to make a realFlorence Leadership Academy difference in their communities and in the world. “Working with young people from around the world, I see that there’s a real desire in the hearts of many young people to change the way that things are, and believe that things could be better,” says Fr. Kramer. “There are a lot of young people who want to make that difference, so I really feel called to be part of that and to help the young people make that difference. We believe that all people have the ability to become leaders and have an impact on society.”


The most recent monthly event held by Florence Leadership Academy was called “Leadership in Philanthropy,” where participants learned the importance of helping the most vulnerable on the margins of society, and what they can concretely do to have an impact. “Helping those most in need and on the peripheries is an essential expression of true leadership. At times those most in need are by our side. At times they are on existential or physical peripheries. True leaders recognize and encounter those most in need and act to make a difference.” The event took place at Palazzo Ximènes Panciatichi, a historic Florentine palace and private residence, on December 1st, and featured talks from a number of leaders in philanthropy, like Fernando Lozada, executive director of WeCare, an Italian non-profit organization that carries out humanitarian projects; Vittorio Torrisi, of Volunteers, an international humanitarian organization whose goal is to feed, care for and educate the world’s poorest children; and Bonnie Campos, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi who runs Gioventù Missionaria, Mission Youth Italy. Marilis Pineiro There was no cost to December’s monthly event, thanks to the generosity of the program’s sponsors.


Florence Leadership Academy One of the event’s speakers was Marilis Pineiro, the Legislative and Diplomatic Relations Liaison for Vulnerable Peoples Project, whose mission is to defend the vulnerable from violence by promoting human dignity and inspiring solidarity. “My main role is to primarily help refugees escape from specific war zones and get them to a safer location, but we also do things like build hospitals or build wells to provide clean water, so in my organization, leadership means being able to take the initiative, to say yes to a mission, and to set goals in order to meet whatever the finished product is in that mission,” shared Marilis. “I think it is so great that young people can come here and are able to meet other professionals, have network opportunities, and group sessions to then discuss the panels. It’s an absolutely wonderful organization, and I wish I had had something like this when I was their age!”


Fr. Kramer was ordained a deacon July 27, 2019, in Michigan City, Indiana. Since then, he has been working in Florence, Italy as Director of the English-Speaking Catholic Community, Director of ECYD, and doing Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Catechesis, based in the Parish of Santi Apostoli. Fr. Kramer was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ on December 21, 2020, in Florence, Italy, where he continues his ministry.


You can find highlights from Florence Leadership Academy events on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. To learn more about the academy, upcoming events, and how to donate or get involved, visit their website at You might also consider the Christmas gift of sponsoring a student for the Florence Leadership Academy; all support will help train future leaders and create a renaissance of leadership. Sponsorship and donations are tax-deductible in the US.

Inspiring a Leadership Renaissance in Florence, Italy: Florence Leadership Academy Read More »

Top 10 Stories of 2023

Top 10 Stories of 2023 Read More »

RC Music Collective Fourth Sunday of Advent: To Adore

Fourth Sunday of Advent: To Adore

Experience Advent through the music of the RC Music Collective!


In this final week of Advent, Fr. John Klein, LC, shares a reflection on the RC Music Collective’s New Christmas song ‘To Adore,’ which is about the three wise men who left everything and went on a difficult journey because they had an intuition that a king was born and they were drawn to him. Some restlessness in them made them leave home to seek something greater. The journey was difficult, long, full of obstacles and sometimes perhaps even doubts. With this song, Fr. John invites you to pray and journey with them, to reflect on the journey of your life, where God is calling you, what difficulties you are going through. The journey is worth it… In the end you will discover that Jesus was leading you all along.

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RC Music Collective Third Sunday of Advent: Heaven on Earth

Third Sunday of Advent: Heaven on Earth


Experience Advent through the music of the RC Music Collective!


Fr. Jaime Lorenzo, LC, of the RC Music Collective shares this week’s reflection with the song Heaven on Earth,” a song about Jesus who comes down to meet us through the Eucharist, and also through the Nativity at Christmas. This Advent, how am I readying myself to receive the Christ Child, Heaven who comes down to Earth? Pray with this beautiful song and bring this theme into your hearts in preparation for Christmas Day.


Lyrics to Heaven on Earth


Silently waiting
Waiting for answers
Speak to me now
Speak to me now

Here on the altar
I gaze on your beauty
Show me your heart
Show me your heart


Is this heaven on earth?
A taste of your glory
Enraptured in love
Where your Heart is for me
It’s heaven on earth
This is where I belong

My heart is restless
Restless for mercy
Come to me now
Come to me now

Oh how I seek you
Oh how you love me
With a love of a friend
A love without end … (Chorus)


How beautiful
How beautiful
It’s so beautiful
So beautiful we are here … 3x


To receive daily emails with material for prayer during this advent journey, you can sign up here .

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LCCheshire 40th Anniversary

The Legionaries of Christ Seminary in Cheshire Celebrates 40 years

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Legionaries of Christ Novitiate and College of Humanities in Cheshire, Connecticut, and Regnum Christi members, family, and friends gathered from all over North America and beyond to celebrate.

The seminary in Cheshire had its humble beginnings in 1957 as over a hundred acres of farmland that consisted of nothing more than a farmhouse, a barn, a silo, and a dilapidated shed. At that time, the land belonged to the La Salette Missionaries, a Catholic religious order based in Massachusetts, who, after outgrowing their high school seminary in Hartford, would go on to build a new seminary on the site. On August 15, 1957, the property and accompanying residence was blessed by Rev. Jean Roux, MS, who had come to the United States from France as a missionary in 1895. Construction began in the summer of 1959, and the new La Salette seminary was dedicated, and welcomed its first students, in September of 1961.


After over 15 years of ministry, due to increasing operating costs and a decreasing number of vocations, La Salette Seminary High School closed its doors in June of 1970. The seminary became a School of Christian Leadership and Service for students interested in active lay involvement in the Church, offering education, formation, prayer groups, healing services, and professional counseling.


At this time, the Legionaries of Christ had already outgrown the first seminary house they had established in Woodmont, Connecticut, in 1965, and by 1971, had moved to a slightly larger property in the nearby town of Orange. In 1976, Fr. Anthony Bannon, LC, who had been ordained just a few months earlier, arrived to help develop the order, which at the time had foundations in Hamden, NJ, Detroit, MI, New York City, and Washington, DC, serving as the Apostolate Director for the Legionaries in the United States and the rector of the Novitiate for the Legionaries of Christ in Orange, CT. In 1977, under the guidance of Mons. John Whealon, Archbishop of Hartford at the time, the Legionaries of Christ leased half of the La Salette building as their novitiate, and, as the numbers of Legionary novices continued to grow, they eventually purchased the property. On June 4th, 1982, the seminary moved from Orange to their current location in Cheshire.


That summer, thirty seven seminarians moved from Orange to Cheshire, many of whom are Legionary priests today, including Fr. Kevin Meehan, Fr. Kermit Syren, Fr. Peter Hopkins, Fr. James Mulford, Fr. David Steffy, Fr. Gabriel Sotres, and Fr. Barry O’Toole. In addition, 25 young men visited the seminary that first summer, and 21 of them began the novitiate that fall, including Legionary priests Fr. Dana Lundburg, Fr. Steven Reilly, and Fr. Walter Shu.


As vocations to the Legionaries of Christ continued to increase, a new wing was added to the building in 1992, and today, the seminary is home to 47 young men from 14 different countries who are discerning the call to the priesthood in an environment that makes space to hear God’s call and lays the foundation of a solid interior life crucial to the apostolic life. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class of the Cheshire seminary.


To celebrate the occasion, over 300 Legionary priests, Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, Regnum Christi members, friends, and family, gathered on September 1-3 of this year. The anniversary weekend included Mass, family-style cookouts, adoration, talks from Legionary priests, a video presentation chronicling the seminary’s 40-year history, and even a fun-filled trivia game.


The celebrations began on Friday afternoon with a Mass of gratitude, presided by North American Territorial Director and Cheshire alumni, Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC. This was followed by 40 Hours of Adoration, in thanksgiving for Cheshire’s 40 years, and for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.


Saturday began with Mass, celebrated by Fr. Markus Stehmer, LC, who was just ordained in Rome in April of this year. An afternoon picnic provided an opportunity to share and hear stories and experiences about life in the novitiate over the past 40 years. Fr. Shawn Aaron and Fr. John Bartunek, LC, who is the Territorial Vicar of North America, gave talks about what their time at Cheshire meant to them. Fr. Shawn shared his memories of both the blessings and the hardships that he experienced throughout his years of formation at the novitiate, and how, through it all, the brothers in Cheshire always had a deep spirit of joy, one that he witnessed alive in the seminarians today. Fr. John spoke of the novitiate as a turning point in his life and in the lives of so many other young men. He had originally visited Cheshire as a guest, but in seeing the life of the brothers, and witnessing their deep Eucharistic life, he immediately knew that Cheshire, and ultimately the Legionaries of Christ, were to become his spiritual home. This visit, and his time in the novitiate, became a decisive point for him in his own discernment, as it was for many other young men.


The final day of the weekend celebrations began with the conclusion of the 40 Hours of Adoration; the benediction included all the Legionary priests and brothers present. Afterwards, the Archbishop of Hartford, Archbishop Leonard Blair, celebrated the weekend’s closing Mass at St. Thomas Becket Church. In his homily, the archbishop preached about the Christian way of life, one that is challenging, but is indeed the path to heaven, and one on which we are never alone, accompanied always by Christ himself.


In addition to these events, Cheshire was also host to its 6th annual Vocation Summit, an event that brings together vocation promoters from all over the country, and an ECYD leadership training course. These gatherings provided valuable opportunities for growth, reflections, and deepening commitment to the mission.


Pam Brown, who has been a Regnum Christi member in the RCNY Tri-State locality for 15 years , and has been working for the Legionaries of Christ since 2009, is one of the many who gathered at Cheshire to participate in the weekend’s celebrations:

“Sitting in the chapel during Mass on Saturday, I had a smile on my face as I felt a sense of peace and belonging. I was with my family. We had shared so much in the last 15 years and now we were celebrating. The sun was streaming in, and everyone seemed on holiday – relaxed and joyful. After, on the grounds, you could hear greetings and laughter as we took a big family photo with all present. I was thrilled to be reunited with so many Legionaries and RC members I hadn’t seen in a while, and it was always fun to the see the Legionary priests interacting with the brothers, young men visiting, and Sacred Heart Apostolic School students. I will keep this day close to my heart as I return to the work God has given me to support the Legionaries and build the Kingdom of Christ!”


The anniversary weekend was such a beautiful opportunity for the RC family to gather and celebrate that Cheshire plans to host a Regnum Christi Friends and Family Day again next year on September 1, 2024.RC day 2024

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Second Sunday of Advent: So In Love

Second Sunday of Advent: So In Love

Experience Advent through the music of the RC Music Collective!


Christ came down as a child to live among us because he is so love in love with each of us. Emily Roman, a Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and a member of the RC Music Collective, shares the story behind this song and encourages us to spend time this week praying with it. The One who is ‘so in love’ with us is coming soon.


Lyrics to So In Love

At the dawning of the day (I drew you)
Out from the clay
My life, my life for you…

I breathed into your lungs (as angels)
Stood and sung of
My love my love for you…

All of the things that I made, I made for you
I do it all over it’s true, if only for you cause I’m…
I’m so in love so in love with you. x3
What else must I do to prove it’s true.

Blood and sweat upon my face (I offered)

In your place
My life my life for you

Scarlet running down (and falling)
To the ground
My love for you my love (blood) for you.

All of the things that I do, I do for you
I do it all over its true, if only for you
I’m so in love so in love with you. x3
What else must I do to prove it’s true.


May your heart be made new, See how great my love is for you
I will heal you from sin, Make you burn with love once again x2

All of the things that I do, I do for you
I do it all over its true, if only for you …

I’m so in love so in love with you (Repeat)

Outro (Female Voice):
Oh my heart, see its true, Oh how great his love is for you
I can feel deep within, Love return yet once again

Female Voice and Male:
Oh my heart, see its true, Oh how great his love is for you
May your heart be made new, See how great my love is for you
I can feel you within, Love return yet once again
I will heal you from sin, Make you burn with love once again

I’m so in love so in love with you (Repeat)

What else must I do to prove it’s true.


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The Vigil of Advent: Awake to Our Need

The Vigil of Advent: Awake to Our Need

By Olivia Steeves

Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi


I was crouched by the coals of a fire, slowly being chilled by a gentle rain, when I rediscovered Advent.


My community “rang in” the new Liturgical Year with a bonfire on a rainy night. Have you ever been wished a “happy new liturgical year”? It fascinates me that, as Catholic Christians, under the surface of the world’s ordinary cycles, there runs a totally other rhythm that is our liturgical life. The rhythm deeper than the rhythm of the world, parallel and complimentary, silently and hiddenly setting the true pace of life. If the liturgy is the Life of Christ, beating and palpitating in the heart of the Church, then this calendar is the truest rhythm we can live by. A spiritual, sacramental calendar of shifting seasons studded with celebrations and memory.


Advent has always been marked for me by two experiences: intense preoccupation and cozy preparation. On one hand: the haste of school projects or university exams and the tiring trek from store to store on the gift-hunt, on the other hand: the coziness of preparing the exterior, traditional “sacramentals” of this Christmas time with dear ones. However, my time in the Candidacy a few years ago, I have discovered an entirely different Advent. An Advent more raw and human than I ever experienced before. In our families, the first mysteries we learn to contemplate are the tenderness of Mother and Child, the intense joy of God-with-us, the richness of receiving a Gift: divinity blessing humanity, the warmth of gathering together around a precious treasure in a manger. I reflect on the elation of being a child in these weeks, the warmth that stirs in the heart when gathering as a  family. More recently, however, I have discovered other mysteries of this great Story that are mixed in amongst the warmth and fulfillment – like a painting with new shades being filled in. Mysteries of God’s great impoverishment, of poor pilgrims weary in the cold, of the austerity of the stable, of the ache and longing of ages crying out with desire: Come, Emmanuel! Come, be a God-with-us!


For me, it is all captured in my experience of watching by the fading fire. The flames were dying low and a light rain had begun to fall, but I remained by the fire just a little longer as the community drifted off to bed. The cold air and the rich scent of wood-smoke reminded me of home. I felt an internal excitement of something new beginning. Sometimes if we sit in a moment long enough, the ordinary-ness fades, all sense of time recedes, and we find ourselves straying into a moment of  existential wonder. It was late and the night was dark, but the coals still glowed intensely hot, like this desire for a Savior glowing in the heart of a lonely world. We keep watch because we have a deep need. The rain was beginning to soak my shoes and the chill was penetrating my layers, but I huddled over the fire’s warmth, filled with a wild joy. We have a hope filled with certainty that our God is coming into the exact location of our deepest needs and our tremendous weakness. He whom I need and desire is coming. To feel the cold, to shiver against the rain, to need the fire’s warmth, to hope for something incredible – it all enabled me to feel that I was truly keeping watch.


This time of Advent is a beautiful moment to approach our deepest needs and sense of personal poverty. Why? Because it is safe. It is safe to do so because the response to our need and the fulfillment of our poverty is around the corner. Perhaps in other moments of our life we can hardly bear the internal vulnerability of discovering where I lack most. But this is precisely the season of Mary and Joseph journeying out into the utter lack and insufficiency of the stable at Bethlehem so that God could be born into the home he has chosen: the lack and insufficiency of the human heart. This is the impoverishment of our God.  How necessary it is to let ourselves step outside into the cold or pause in the midst of a long ride home and become present to that poor, pilgrim family. In doing so, we also become present to our own desire, that hopeful pilgrim, and our poor heart, that insufficient stable .


Keeping watch is being awake – awake to the darkness around and the desire within, awake to my own need and awake to Him whom I need as he comes. These past weeks of Advent I believe my heart has remained by that fire, in the cold like a pilgrim, keeping watch with joyful heart. Despite cold and chill, despite darkness and rain, we are warmed by our desire and kept awake with our certain hope.

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First Sunday of Advent: Revival

First Sunday of Advent: Revival


 Experience Advent through the music of the RC Music Collective!


On this first Sunday of Advent, Colleen McKenna of RC Music Collective shares a song she wrote and reflects on how it can help us enter into our Advent Journey. Throughout this week you are invited to pray with it and ask our Lord for revival of your love and hope in preparation for the coming of the Christ Child.


Lyrics to Revival


by Colleen McKenna


You’re teaching me, With my imperfections
Reaching me, When I run the other direction
I’m undone, Unraveling, My plans make me whole again
Rebuild me from the inside out in a way that only you know how

You’re teaching me with my imperfections
Reaching me when I run the other direction
I’m undone, Unraveling, My plans make me whole again
Rebuild me from the inside out in a way that only you know how

I need a revival something more than just shallow survival
God I need you, God I need you
Father bring me redemption
Renew my heart with a resurrection
God I need you, God I need you now

You’re pouring out the healing
When the bitterness is all that I’ve been feeling
Take this cup and hold it Lord
Not my will but instead let it be yours

From the inside out
In a way only you know how … CHORUS

Come alive, Come alive in me

Come alive, Set me free God

Set me free (X3)


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Alex Kucera


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!