Regnum Christi

education

“This is my best adventure!” Luly Fernandez celebrates 30 years of consecrated life

Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Luly Fernández grew up in a large and loving Catholic family with four sisters and two brothers. When Luly was 12 years old, one of her older sisters became a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, but it wasn’t until she attended a retreat when she was 18 years old that Luly began to feel her own call to a deeper and more intimate friendship with Christ. At the time, however, Luly had a boyfriend, whom she continued to date for nearly five and a half years, and even made plans to marry in the summer. Luly ended up pursuing a BA in Business Administration from the Institute of Technology of Higher Studies in Monterrey, and then worked for a year in the personnel department of a stock company, but even here, through her service of others, Christ continued to call her to something more.

 

But one day while in church, while she was looking at her boyfriend and looking at the tabernacle, Luly suddenly knew that Christ was asking her to discern her vocation in an even deeper way. Shortly afterward, Luly broke up with her boyfriend and began a more intense discernment process. Throughout this time, Luly continued to feel signs of Christ’s presence in her life and her call to consecrated life, and finally, on the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, 1993, Luly began the adventure of her life as a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi.

 

 

When Luly chose to answer the call to consecrated life, she knew there would be two things that would be especially difficult for her to let go. The first was her beautiful family in Mexico – since consecrated women make a promise of availability, promising always to go where God needs them most, Luly knew this would mean leaving her family behind to follow Christ. The second was the possibility of becoming a mother and having a family herself. “I knew how hard it would be to leave the possible family I could have built with my boyfriend, so I told Jesus, ‘you’re going to have to make yourself really present in my life!’”

 

 

And although Christ continued to make himself truly present and very real to Luly throughout the first years of her consecrated life, she still struggled to offer up the sacrifice of physical motherhood, particularly when she was around little babies. One day, in her suffering, Luly decided to make Jesus a deal. “I just told him, ‘Look, Jesus, it’s always such a blessing to see a baby because I know they’re a gift to the world, but it’s hard to offer that up for you, so every time I see a baby, I’m going to ask for something – I’m going to ask you to empty purgatory.’ And so, throughout her entire life as a consecrated woman, Luly has continued to ask Christ for this favor every time she sees a baby. “I know it’s a huge favor that I’m asking, but I know he can do it, unite my little sacrifice to his huge sacrifice on the cross, and I believe he has done that, and this has helped me so much in perseverance in my vocation.”

 

 

And on August 15th of this year, the Feast of the Assumption and the date of Luly’s 30th anniversary of consecrated life, she received a special grace as an anniversary gift from Christ. After receiving communion, Luly knelt in her pew to pray with her eyes closed. For a brief moment, she Luly opened her eyes, and just as she did, a woman walked by with a beautiful newborn baby asleep on her chest. “Here we go again with this sacrifice,” Luly thought to herself but all at once she knew that Jesus had wanted her to experience that suffering, and to offer it up. “I felt Jesus saying, ‘I wanted you to see the baby, because I wanted you to ask me to empty purgatory.’ He wanted to fulfill the promises he made me. Those words spoken during that Mass, “Blessed is she who believed that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled,” have accompanied me throughout my whole jubilee year leading up to my 30th anniversary, and they were spoken to me then in that moment, and that was a huge grace that I received on the day of my anniversary.”

 

 

Over her 30 years of consecrated life, Luly has served in a large variety of apostolates in several different fields. Luly has obtained a Masters in Guidance and Counseling and a Doctorate in Education, and she continues to receive certificate training in a variety of areas that help her in her pastoral work, like management, leadership, and education. After becoming consecrated, Luly was involved in the Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, Rhode Island, where she later became director and president, and then in 2011, Luly served as Territorial Director for New York for one year, before heading to Rome to serve as General Counselor until 2014. She then became Vice Director of Le Chatelard Academy, an international boarding school in Switzerland until 2021.

 

 

Currently, Luly is serving in Washington, DC where her pastoral work with women and families consists of offering talks and retreats at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and local parishes, leading pilgrimages, and facilitating gatherings for couples where they can reflect on the sacrament of marriage and nourish their relationships. Luly also serves as a board member at Divine Mercy University.

 

 

One of Luly’s favorite roles is her work in women’s ministry, where she has the opportunity to accompany, guide, and learn from, the women she serves. One of the women that Luly accompanies spiritually is Pilar Dickens, who calls spiritual coaching one of the best things that has ever happened to her:

“Luly provides a space for reflection that gives me time to think about not only what I need to change, but also what I’m proud of, what I can keep working on, and what I’m grateful for, and I always leave feeling so supported, with clear, positive goals. I’ve been so lucky to have someone like Luly who is there for me, sees me as I am, and hears me without judging, and it’s so easy to connect with her because her heart is always open. She is such a great example – so loving and full of joy, so humble and wise at the same time. Her spirituality, kindness, empathy, and ability to give great advice or share useful tools have made a big difference in my life and my relationship with God, and I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to count on her.”

 

 

And how will Luly be celebrating her 30th anniversary? “The best way to celebrate my anniversary is with a Eucharistic celebration – the Mass, there couldn’t be a better gift than that!” In fact, Luly’s celebrations include two Masses: the first one was celebrated on August 30th in Mexico with family, friends, Regnum Christi members, and three fellow consecrated women from Monterrey, and the second will be held in Maryland on September 10th.

 

 

But Luly takes no personal credit for her perseverance and fidelity throughout the 30 years of consecrated life – she owes everything to God. “The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in my consecrated life so far has been Jesus’ mercy – I am so little, but our Lord is great and merciful. Even my fidelity is thanks to his fidelity and mercy,” says Luly. “When I used to tell my vocation story, I would say ‘In the end, Jesus won!’ But now I realize that the one who won was me – in choosing Jesus, I won so much more, and it took me 30 years to realize that!”

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Confirmation Catechists at Francisco de Vitoria University

Every year, Francisco de Vitoria University, a Regnum Christi University in Madrid, Spain,  prepares members of the university community who want to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Gudelia Guerra, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, explains it to us, noting that “UFV is a place that is open for young people to gather together and help each other grow in their faith.” As a fruit of this pastoral work, on April 15, 2023, 32 students at UFV received the Sacrament of Confirmation at the hands of Cardinal Osoro, Archbishop of Madrid.

Beginning in September, once a week, the young people who want to be confirmed arrive punctually for their appointment with their catechist at Francisco de Vitoria. Gudelia, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi and catechist for ten of these young people, explains that the experience they have of Christ is what is important.

 

What is the mission of a Catholic university as regards the faith of its students?

Our greatest desire is that they encounter Christ, his living person, that they can have a real encounter with the love he has for them. Therefore, the source of the sacraments is at the center of this effort. As a university, we want to create those spaces where students can freely choose to draw near to the faith, to the person of Jesus.

 

These young people have many books in which to read about the life of Christ, but what I seek is to give them some tips for their relationship of friendship with Christ.

 

What does the preparation that UFV offers young people who want to be confirmed consist of?

Each catechist meets with their catechumens once a week. For me, the practical aspect was fundamental. These young people have many books in which to read about the life of Christ, but what I seek is to give them some tips for their relationship of friendship with Christ.

We can all read about Jesus and know things about Jesus, but loving Jesus is something very beautiful. One is directed to the intellect, and the other to the heart. Both are important. But in this time of preparation for Confirmation, I wanted them to learn how to pray, to converse with the Lord, to know how to approach him through the sacraments.

Gudelia, far left, with some of the young people who were confirmed

 

Being confirmed during adolescence tends to be “normal”; what benefit is there to receiving this sacrament when they are older?

I had the great blessing to accompany ten marvelous young people to this very important day of their lives. They all made the decision to be confirmed for different reasons, but they were all aware of the gift that was given to them by being able to choose it for themselves, and by experiencing in first person they learned that God’s timing is perfect.

 

What means does the university offer for these young people’s perseverance and growth in the faith after Confirmation?

UFV is a place that is open for young people to gather and help each other grow in their faith… Like Regnum Christi, we have several opportunities: for example, doing the itinerary of Kyrios, a program for people seeking to get to know God, which meets every other Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., and the Eucharistic Hours in the Great Hall every Thursday at 8:00 p.m. And of course, we also have our Regnum Christi Encounter with Christ groups, in which young people can meet to pray with the Gospel.

 

Translated from the original Spanish publication.

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Little Apostles: A Gospel Meditation Podcast for Children

Guillermo “Memo” Buenabad, a parent at the Cumbres International School in Aguascalientes, MX,  used to listen to a podcast with Gospel reflections with his children on their way to school each morning. This podcast was produced by Legionary priests, and in order to discuss it in children’s terms, he paused it, and each one shared with the family what stood out to them.

 

One day, during Mass at the school, the idea occurred to him to make a podcast for kids that was narrated by the children of Cumbres Aguascalientes. He mentioned it to his spiritual director, who encouraged him to go ahead with it, reminding him that the school has a recording studio available.

 

He approached Carmen Ramírez, the school’s principal, with the proposal, and she received it with great enthusiasm and full support to begin recording as soon as possible, and to start this new apostolate directed by children, for children.

 

Initially, the 3rd and 6th grade students and their parents were invited. Later, children from the whole school were brought on board, which guarantees that they have candidates to record practically 365 days a year.

Happy to transmit the Gospel together

As for the technical part, having a newly inaugurated recording studio has made their task much easier, as does its professional equipment. It has a number of microphones that have allowed them to find the ideal combination so that the children’s voices are heard with total clarity.

 

“Some of the children have such gentle voices that they need to have the microphone super close to capture everything, others have very high-pitched voices and saturated the channel at first, but at the school we have learned how to achieve the highest definition in the recordings.” -Mary, IT director of the school

 

The way in which the children have made progress in the recording studio has been very interesting. Some enter very nervous and begin to relax as the activity goes on, while others arrive very confidently and are able to record the episode on the first take. They are already familiar with the dynamic of the opening prayer, the reading of the Gospel, the reflection, and the prayer of thanksgiving.

Enjoying recording with dad.

In general, everyone has been developing the skills necessary for this apostolate, such as reading, and oral communication skills.

 

Memo’s apostolic spirit also involves the parents, both those with children in his children’s grades, and then those of the other grades.

 

“At the beginning, the parents participated with a bit of fear and hesitation, but Memo has made it very easy by being instructive, helping the parents overcome their fear, which has made the parents more and more willing. Drawing closer to the Gospel and participating in the podcast has created a very positive impulse to share with our children and the whole community.” –Sofi Macías, elementary school principal

 

The parents were open to the idea of reading and reflecting on the Gospel as a parent/child dynamic. They are given a guide with the corresponding verses before recording the episode, which gives them a sample script, but ultimately they decide what to say and follow where the Holy Spirit guides them in the moment.

 

“As a parent/child dynamic it is very enriching, since sometimes we don’t give ourselves the time to speak with our children about the Gospel.” –Memo Buenabad

César and his son Diego, concentrating

The recordings are usually made early in the morning, when the students arrive at school with their parents, or a few minutes after dismissal, when the students are picked up. Every podcast episode lasts between three and four minutes, since it is directed at kids and should hold their attention.

 

“Guillermo’s enthusiasm for this type of evangelization is great and, without a doubt, comes from his desire and interest to see his children evangelized. It spreads from him and helps the school be able to engage all the parents. This way we can make the Gospel available to them, because in the end, it is God who evangelizes; we are just instruments and offer means so that his Word touches our hearts and converts us.” –Carmen Ramírez, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi and the school’s head principal

Mónica and Emiliano attentively reading the Gospel passage

Their next challenge is to increase its listenership so that not only the parents who come in to record listen to it, and not only on the day on which their child recorded, but that they listen to it daily. Therefore, they are making changes to their means of outreach so that it is more available to everyone.

 

For now, the podcast is on Spotify, and one episode is uploaded every day. The next step is to make it known to all the schools in the Regnum Christi Semper Altius Network of Schools, so that it inspires other institutions to do something similar, and that both kids and parents feel involved in the Gospel reflection, which doesn’t have to be complicated, difficult or demanding in terms of time or method.

Reflecting on the Word of God together

The podcast’s future is promising, with growth that enables all Regnum Christi members in Mexico to know it, share it, and bring it to other countries.

 

In addition to being available on Spotify, they are weighing the possibility of uploading it to other platforms for greater diffusion, and they are evaluating whether to involve middle- and high-school students so that they can edit the episodes.

 

It has been reproduced in Columbia and Argentina, and they have grown their audience to include new people who are not from the school communities. This is precisely the goal.

 

Some families outside the school have expressed their desire to participate in the podcast, and although it is an apostolate of the school, it is a Regnum Christi apostolate, which helps the students value what they have received and launches them from the school out into the world.

 

“We aren’t isolated verses; we are all members of the same poem. Everyone here is united in the same mission, those who make the recordings, edit them, put together the podcast, parents and students.” –Memo Buenabad

 

Congratulations to the whole team at Cumbres International School Aguascalientes. Let’s pray that God may bless them with many fruits for this new apostolate.

 

Translated from the original Spanish publication.

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Divine Mercy University Honors Senior Scholar and Founding Member, Dr. Paul Vitz, at This Year’s Commencement Exercises

Divine Mercy University (DMU) celebrated 151 graduates this year at its 22nd Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises on May 20th, 2023, at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Ashburn, Virginia.

Mass was celebrated by Very Reverend Jamie R. Workman, J.C.L., Vicar General of Arlington Diocese, who encouraged the graduates to be fearlessly open to the transformative power of Christ’s love. “Love is a powerful force, and divine love all the more – it can captivate the human mind and will, it can invite, and it can transform lives,” he said in his homily. “Accompanying those who are seeking great healing themselves, we first have to recognize the healing that we need in Christ, and to not be afraid of the transforming aspects of his divine life that can take place within it, if we let it.”

Following the Mass, Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL, who has served as the president of Divine Mercy University for 16 years, provided the opening remarks of the commencement exercises. “In a world where so many are searching desperately for meaning and existential clarity, few paths provide for the good than the one that you have chosen,” said Fr. Sikorsky. “While this may seem like a daunting task, and one well beyond your capabilities, be not afraid, because you’ll never be working alone. Keep always open the doors of your hearts to Jesus Christ and his presence so that through your lives, the doors of so many other hearts will be open to his love, his mercy, and a new life that only he can give.”

This year’s commencement address was presented by Dr. Paul C. Vitz, Ph.D, senior scholar and one of the founders of Divine Mercy University. After 60 years of service to the psychological sciences, including 24 years at Divine Mercy University, Dr. Vitz will be retiring this year, and in honor of his contributions to the school and to the field of psychology and mental health, he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Dr. Vitz is an internationally recognized psychologist who has devoted his life to an integrated approach to psychology and the human person from a uniquely Catholic Christian perspective, and is one of the founding members of the Institute for Psychological Sciences, now Divine Mercy University. Throughout his long career, Dr. Vitz has made major contributions to the integration of Catholic Christian theology and anthropology with the psychological sciences and mental health practice. Most notably, he has published, with two colleagues, A Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person, which blends the insights of three wisdom traditions – the psychological sciences, philosophy, and theology – to provide a framework for the whole person, and provides an integrative approach to understanding the human experience.

In his commencement address, Dr. Vitz reflected on his life dedicated to the field of psychology, which began nearly 70 years ago in 1953 when he was a psychology major in his freshman year at the University of Michigan. “Psychology has greatly improved since then,” said Dr. Vitz, “A lot of new changes have come in, and the nature of the human person has expanded. Each of these new schools found an important aspect of the human person that had been neglected.”

“Now, after the human person has been expanded, we come in with a meta-model, an  overarching representation of the nature of the person, in which the Christian faith is made clear, and we can allow redemption to be, in fact, the acceptance of Jesus in our life as our redeemer. So that’s where psychology has finally come to – it’s a new perspective, a large perspective, and a time to be explicit about our faith! Here at DMU, we are trying to make modern secular psychology something that will no longer be hostile to the faith, and that, in fact, can be used positively.”

Dr. Vitz concludes: “Of course, we can get very discouraged. Despite the conflicts and difficulties that come with being a psychologist or psychotherapist, we have to remember what our Lord said. Jesus said ‘I have overcome the world, be of good cheer. Don’t fear, be of good cheer.’”

Although he is retiring from Divine Mercy University, Dr. Vitz’ legacy of integrating the Catholic perspective with the understanding of the human experience will live on in the psychological sciences, in the school, and in the lives and mission of the students as they accompany those who are suffering, are present to those in need, and share the insights regarding the whole human person with everyone they encounter. “The Holy Spirit puts great men and women into society, especially when that society is crumbling, and he gave us Dr. Paul Vitz, to fit a very critical role in a very critical time in instituting the university,” said Thomas Cunningham, Chairman of the Board of Directors at DMU. “Now the Holy Spirit is looking to you, graduates, to fill that role.”

Divine Mercy University (DMU) is a Catholic graduate institution of higher education offering degree programs in psychology and counseling, founded in 1999 as the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. The university is dedicated to the scientific study of psychology with a Catholic understanding of the human person, marriage, and the family. The university offers Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in Psychology and Counseling, and a Doctoral (Psy.D.) degree in Clinical Psychology.

Divine Mercy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award masters and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Divine Mercy University.

The IPS doctoral program in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA). *Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 1st Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 Phone (202)-336-5979 / Email: [email protected] / Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

For more information about the degree programs at Divine Mercy University, contact 703-416-8300 or visit www.divinemercy.edu or [email protected].

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Pinecrest Students Donate Close to 11,000 Items to Parish Food Pantry

For the past six years, Pinecrest Academy has hosted the annual “Elves for Shelves” food drive, a service initiative that began years prior but gained momentum in 2017 when the lower, middle and high schools began competing to see who could stock the most shelves! Each year, the campaign begins just after Thanksgiving and runs through mid-December. The St. Joseph’s Food Pantry at St. Brendan Catholic Church has been the beneficiary of this annual school campaign for several years now.

  This year, close to 11,000 food items were collected by families, faculty, and staff. Students were encouraged to be actively engaged, with some going door-to-door in their neighborhoods, where they encountered many who wanted to help.

“We started doing the Elves for Shelves Food Drive several years ago to meet a need at St. Brendan’s St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, but it has turned into a fun tradition that our students and parents look forward to each year,” said Emily Roman, Director of Campus Ministry at Pinecrest Academy.  “Campus Ministry collaborates with the Deans in each building to make this event a fun contest that serves others. PreK3-8th grade Dean of Students, Jay Lynch, makes animated announcements that include singing each morning of the food drive, giving updates on which class is winning the contest so far.”

Besides the friendly collection competition between schools and classes, at the end of the drive, middle school students make sculptures with their donated goods before sending them to the food pantry.  One class created a stadium this year!

“Our Campus Ministry Coordinator, Karen Gann, organizes high school volunteers to deliver the collected goods periodically throughout the contest because they don’t fit inside the buildings! A total of 11 truckloads of goods had been delivered to St. Brendan by the close of the campaign,” continued Roman.

“Food donations we receive from Pinecrest’s drive will help provide free food assistance for families in need until next Summer,” commented Barbara Gordon, Director of the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry.  “The number of families is increasing weekly.  We are fortunate and grateful for the support at Pinecrest Academy.”

Pinecrest Academy’s mission is to form Christian leaders who will transform society, and giving students the opportunity to put Christian service into action is an important part of the school’s overall educational philosophy.

“All in all, this has become a tradition for our school community, which teaches our students that serving others can be a lot of fun! The team at St. Brendan has told us repeatedly that this drive supplies their food pantry with goods that last for most of the year!  What a blessing to be a part of this great effort,” said Roman.

Pinecrest Academy is an independent PreK3 through 12, college preparatory Catholic school, located in Forsyth County, a suburb of Atlanta, just minutes from Alpharetta, Milton, Johns Creek, Duluth, and Suwanee. Their mission is to form Christian leaders who will transform society. For more information about Pinecrest, to schedule a tour, or to attend their open house on January 29th, 2023, contact the admissions office.

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The Path is Made as You Walk: Melicia Antonio Celebrates Twenty-Five Years of Consecrated Life

For Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Melicia Antonio, the choice had always been clear: from a very young age, she already knew she wanted to be nun or missionary.

Growing up, Melicia found inspiration in reading the lives of the saints, especially those of the Jesuit martyrs. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Melicia was raised in a large military family, with parents who were incredibly supportive of her and consistently encouraged her to explore all her interests to see where they might lead. In 1996, when Melicia was 17 years old, she went on a Youth for the Third Millennium (now called Mission Youth) evangelization mission in the Bahamas, and it was here where she first met the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi. Immediately, she knew not only that she had found her spiritual home in Regnum Christi, but also that God was calling her to spend the rest of her life consecrated to him.

Just a few years later, in a gymnasium in Mexico, Melicia made her final vows, becoming a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi. Since then, her vocation as has taken her around the world to numerous countries like the United States, Mexico, and Italy. And this summer, on August 27th, Melicia found herself in another gymnasium, this one at Everest Academy and Collegiate, a Regnum Christi school in Clarkston, Michigan, where she celebrated twenty-five years of consecrated life.

For Melicia, one of the best things that consecrated life has given her is the gift of time to pray. “I remember thinking when I was young, ‘If I want lots of time to pray, I should probably be consecrated,’” recalls Melicia. “Life is busy, obligations are many, and I find comfort in knowing that one of my principal life commitments is having ample time to pray and intercede for others.”

Another thing Melicia loves about her vocation to consecrated life is the sense of unity she feels with fellow Consecrated Women, Legionary priests, and Regnum Christi members. “I love that we are a spiritual family working together in the mission,” says Melicia. “I believe that there is a special synergy and grace at work when we face the same challenges and together draw upon our charism to make Christ present in the world. Working with other groups and institutions is also very exciting, but there is something distinct in me that comes out when I’m with other consecrated women and Regnum Christi members.”

Regina Doyle, Melicia Antonio, Lucy Honner, Rose Weiber, Teresa Maziarz at the celebration of their anniversaries of consecration.

Melicia was able to celebrate her twenty-fifth anniversary of consecrated life with some of her Regnum Christi family at the Mass and reception at Everest Academy. Fellow Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi Lucy Honner and Regina Doyle also celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary, while Rose Wieber and Teresa Maziarz celebrated twenty years of consecrated life. Deacon Aaron Poyer, the Archdiocesan Delegate for Consecrated Life and Priestly Mission, assisted the Mass, which was concelebrated by six Legionaries of Christ from Detroit, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Chicago, including Regina’s brother, Fr. John Doyle, LC, who gave the homily. “I just loved spending time with the Regnum Christi family,” says Melicia, “with the Consecrated Women, the Legionaries, the families, and all our friends.”

While Melicia’s vocation seemed laid out for her early in her life, there is nothing she wishes she would have known twenty-five years ago when she first joined the consecrated life, and nothing that she would change. “I honestly think I knew everything I needed to know twenty-five years ago. God knows what we need to know, and reveals it in the present moment, so we just need to live fully in every moment. As they say in Spanish, al andar, se hace camino – the path is made as you walk.”

Melicia currently resides in South Bend, Indiana while she pursues her PhD in Moral Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Having taught in various capacities for most of her consecrated life, Melicia is looking forward to being able to teach and conduct research in political theology, Catholic social doctrine, and virtue ethics at a professional level. “I really enjoy this mission and I find special joy in exploring the faith and sharing it with others.”

 

 

 

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Meet the Consecrated Women Building the Future in Mexico\’s Mano Amiga Schools

Education is one of the key pillars in the development of individuals, families, and society. For that reason, the act of bringing the opportunity for education to the poorest sectors of society is indispensable in the search for social justice.  This is the mission of the Mano Amiga Schools, a network of educational centers run by Regnum Christi that has offered a quality, Catholic values-based education designed to break the cycle of poverty since 1963. The goal is to transform society by providing a high level of education to children who otherwise couldn’t afford it. There are currently 20 locations in the country of Mexico with 12,250 students from preschool to high school.

Many Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi live their mission in these schools, offering an integral formation according to the four dimensions of the person: spiritual, intellectual, human, and social.

Working for the mission of the schools

Rosario Guerra, who recently celebrated 40 years of consecration, collaborates with the Mano Amiga Mexico national ministry team and is in charge of ensuring that each location lives the Catholic faith and the charism of Regnum Christi. She carries out this work in collaboration with a large team of individuals.

They look at aspects of formation and training, in addition to everything related to the connections among the Mano Amiga schools, the Regnum Christi localities, and the local Church.

Our schools cannot be understood without the mission and vision of integral Catholic formation and values, achieved through the pastoral activity which Pope Francis frequently speaks about to us.”

Rosario Guerra, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi

Rosario shares that one of the keys to being able to fulfill the mission that the schools have is offering personal attention to each student, to their family and circumstances, in order to achieve their integral formation.

Impacting the Community

Bertha del Toro is in charge of advising and accompanying the executive and academic teams of three schools, in order to the help them to improve in their professional work and overcome the daily challenges that present themselves.

She sees her work as laying a path to facilitate the growth of the Kingdom of Christ in the hearts of others.

As part of her doctoral studies in the direction of education centers, Bertha carried out a collaborative project to respond to specific situations that arise inside and outside the Mano Amiga Conkal School in Merida, Mexico, forming a team from different sectors of the school, involving students, professors, and school staff.

One of the actions consisted in developing a campaign to motivate the inhabitants of Conkal to take preventative actions to try to eradicate mosquitos causing the transmission of ZIKA virus.

By means of surveys, house to house visits, and promoting preventative actions, the team lead by Bertha documented that the commitment of the visited communities increased, and they were able to implement practices that reduced the population of the mosquitos transmitting the ZIKA virus by 40%.

In another of the projects that Bertha directed, a team made up of high school students analyzed various situations that they could improve in the school. Parents, staff, and teachers joined the effort, and together they set the goal of building a roofed cafeteria that would allow them to socialize and avoid the intense heat .

By presentations on the projects and the filming of a video, they began a campaign to raise money. After three months of work they were able to build the dining room.

This process convinced the students and the education community that they can make a difference and have an impact where they are, with their own actions. They can contribute collectively and effectively to social change. This left a mark on their professional and social future.”

Bertha del Toro, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi

Experience at the service of others

Michelle Gow works in the Mano Amiga Santa Catarina School in Nuevo Leon in pastoral ministry, giving Catholic formation classes and formation classes about love to high school girls.

She has 23 years of experience working in schools in Brazil, the United States, and Mexico. This has lead her to develop the necessary empathy for accompanying teachers and leadership teams.

Through a specialization in school catechesis, her career allows her to contribute to the meaning and importance of academic professionalism while teaching the faith.

If the academic foundation is covered, catechesis and pastoral activities develop with greater depth and spontaneity. It is a natural path, going from learning about God to wanting to commit oneself to Him.”

Michelle Gow, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi

Michelle has gotten to know people who give themselves fully to the mission in the Mano Amiga Schools, living their professional lives like missionaries, with great love and commitment to the students and their families. In them she finds part of the inspiration to continue giving herself to God and to work to establish his Kingdom.

In Mexico she has met students with a great desire to study and succeed in life. Those desires were blocked by a lack of opportunities, due to the economic situation of each person. She sincerely believes that we have to find the ways to bring about equality of opportunity, for all those students who want to try and make their contribution to the world.

Helping people encounter Christ

Lourdes Olvera began her work in Mano Amiga Conkal, Mérida, in 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, where she began spiritually accompanying the elementary and high school girls, in addition to promoting, organizing, and running ECYD.

Her responsibility is looking after the formation of the ECYD team leaders and involving moms in the activities. As part of the pastoral ministry team of the school, she also promotes and organizes retreats and spiritual formation.

She remembers one activity she organized in particular. It was a pilgrimage of all the school personnel to the Sanctuary of Our Lady Undoer of Knots in Cancun. The experiences and the way everyone was involved in the organization helped to strengthen them as one heart and one body. During the pilgrimage they were able to contemplate their past, reflect on the present, and define what they wanted for the future.  Times of conversation, prayer, meditation, and mass – these encouraged the participants to share their own experience with Our Lady and the reflections made in prayer.

We should help our teachers to connect with the needs of the students, with their reality. They should accompany them on this journey with its many challenges. They should discover their ideals and keep growing in their capacity to dream, to rise up to be men and women of truth and goodness.”

Lourdes Olvera, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi

Accompanying in every moment

Paula Errazuriz works at Mano Amiga Lerma, in the state of Mexico. As part of her work in the pastoral ministry of the school, she offers guidance to the school personel and families on personal, human, and spiritual topics through one-on-one meetings.

She also works in organizing and developing the spiritual retreats and school spirit talks. She is also part of the Pastoral Council of the school network.

Through accompaniment Paula works every day to help the people who work at Mano Amiga to encounter God, to not lose themselves among the activities and duties of their work, and to live well in a fast-pace society filled with distractions.

She knows very well that in God we have the best companion and confidant to give us rest amid the overwhelming stress.

In my work I can touch the dreams that people have, the pains and suffering that they face every day, which are many, and in which they need to find strength and meaning.”

Paula Errazuriz, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi

She works with the personnel who work in administration and has seen how they have developed and grown as people, in their faith and in their work, thanks to the formation that the school offers them.

Paula has also been a witness to the work of the teachers. She called them “true heroes” when she saw how the pandemic presented them with enormous challenges and demanded creativity to continue giving classes and keep the students active.

Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic

Guadalupe Prince works on the Mano Amiga development team, securing scholarships and creating partnerships with individuals and institutions to meet the concrete necessities of the students and schools.

All the work that Mano Amiga and the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi carry out would not be possible without the support of benefactors who support this cause so that more children and families of very limited  resources can access a quality education and Christian values formation.

Despite the fact that her work in Mano Amiga was obstructed by the beginning of the pandemic and the financial impact on the companies and individuals who support the educational institution, she found many people who were willing to help the cause. She witnessed how much people value education for the poorest in society.

One concrete challenge was furnishing each of the students with a mobile device so that they could have classes during the health crisis. In addition to the challenge of converting curricula and schedules to a virtual environment, Mano Amiga faced the challenge of the families’ inability to buy a computer or tablet to continue their classes from home.

They launched a fundraising campaign for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even cell phones that would allow the students to connect and be able to take their classes virtually.

Little by little the campaign raised the necessary money and thanks to God and the support of benefactors, the students received their devices.

We must try to make education more accessible to all children and achieve a lower rate of school dropouts.”

Guadalupe Prince, Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi

Thousands of children and families have passed through the classrooms of Mano Amiga schools, a network that opens doors to them to find opportunities for authentic human, social, professional, and spiritual development. In this field of action, in this missionary territory, this group of Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi live their charism and their apostolic mission every day, bringing future generations to an encounter with Christ.

To support this mission with financial help, tax deductible donations can be made here.

Translated from the original Spanish article, which can be read here.

Meet the Consecrated Women Building the Future in Mexico\’s Mano Amiga Schools Read More »

Bringing Faith to the Football Field: Fr. Ryan Richardson at Benedictine College

""With over 2000 undergraduate students, three daily Masses, and three priests hearing confessions for one hour every day, Benedictine College, a Catholic liberal arts college on the banks of the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas, has a dynamic and thriving campus faith life. And Fr. Ryan Richardson, LC, who serves as the school’s full-time chaplain, believes that he gets to work at the best Catholic college in America.

Fr. Ryan’s chaplaincy role at Benedictine College is a diverse one; besides offering the sacraments to the students, faculty and staff, he also provides a general pastoral presence on campus. Benedictine College also has an active Regnum Christi section that runs as an official college-affiliated club, and was formed over five years ago by a group of former RC Mission Corps members. Over the past year, Fr. Ryan, along with Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, Tammy Grady and Mary Schwarz, have accompanied the section throughout their various events and activities, such as weekly Encounters, street missions, spiritual exercises, the Christ the King Mass and Association ceremony, and regular spiritual direction.

But one of Fr. Ryan’s favorite duties as the chaplain of Benedictine College is ministering to the school’s various sports teams. Growing up, sports had always been a big part of Fr. Ryan’s life: he was"" the captain of his high school football team and has always had a love for the game. This past year, Fr. Ryan had the opportunity to give a weekly virtue talk to the entire team on the football field after practice, and provide a blessing before the games. He also celebrated a team Mass before every home game, and led the football team through a Bible study. And this presence that Fr. Ryan has been able to have in team life can have a profound impact on the players’ faith lives:

“These moments with the team have really allowed me to get to know the guys. I stay after practice, and they come up to me and have questions. Some ask me to hear their confession, others have questions about the faith. It allows me to step into their daily lives and bring faith to the field. Their response to this initiative has been super positive!”

This year, Fr. Ryan also attended the national championship game for the women’s lacrosse team, held in Southfield, Michigan. The team won the championship, and the first thing they all did when they got back to the hotel was to celebrate with a Mass of thanksgiving! “It has really been a joy to serve a fantastic group of students!”

""This commitment to spend time with students both on and off the field is, for Fr. Ryan, a pastoral response to one of the greatest needs of young adults today: the need for accompaniment. “Students today are seeking guidance and direction, they are seeking spiritual fathers who can point them in the right direction,” says Fr. Ryan of the diverse and integral role of the campus chaplain, which he has found to involve much more than saying Mass and hearing confessions. “The students are also seeking real relationship – they seek to be listened to, to be loved, and to be known. They not only seek the sacraments from their chaplain, but they also seek his attention and affirmation.” For this reason, Fr. Ryan considers one of the most important skills of the chaplaincy job is to be a good listener; it’s the key to making the students feel known and heard.

One of the unique features of faith life at Benedictine College is that the campus ministry is almost entirely student led. There are approximately 50 student leaders who are part of the campus ministry team, and it’s the students themselves who serve at Mass, lector, and provide music for the liturgies. The students also organize the various faith activities and events on and off campus, such as retreats, mission trips, and service opportunities. While campus staff members, and Fr. Ryan as chaplain, provide the students with guidance and feedback, their main goal is to empower the students to lead themselves and others, and give them the important experiences that will help form them to be leaders of the Church well beyond graduation.

""Benedictine College is an academic community sponsored by the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey and the sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery, and offers over 50 academic programs, including architecture, engineering, theology, as well as a wide range of arts, humanities, STEM fields and sciences. Heir to the 1500 years of Benedictine dedication to learning, Benedictine College is ordered to the goal of wisdom lived out in responsible awareness of oneself, God and nature, family, and society. Its mission as a Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts, residential college is the education of men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.

To find out more about Benedictine College, visit their website at www.benedictine.edu. To get more information about the Regnum Christi section at Benedictine College, email [email protected].

 

 

 

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JOINT DIPLOMA IN WOMEN AND CHURCH

The Institute of Higher Studies on Women of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome is offering the 3rd edition of the Joint Diploma in “Women and Church: Women and men in a synodal community,” an online course, from June 18th – July 2nd, 2022.

The initiative, shared with other important Pontifical Universities and Catholic Institutes, explores the specific contribution of women in the life and mission of the Church.

It aims to activate processes of mutual collaboration between women and men in ecclesial spaces, taking on account the question of the lay faithful raised above all by the Second Vatican Council.  What is the role of women in this context? The reflection takes place on the horizon of a Church on the path of conversion and in the light of synodality. The Church needs the contribution of women, both in the decision-making sphere and to fully relive her own vocation through her feminine and maternal face.

 AUDIENCE

Priests, religious and laity (men and women) engaged in the ecclesial sphere at the curial, diocesan, academic level, or in formative roles in the different forms of consecrated or associative life, that want to raise awareness and activate processes in these areas, to promote greater and better collaboration between men and women within the Church.

COURSE STRUCTURE

36 hours of online classes to provide foundations, principles and criteria that must animate the promotion of women’s contribution in the Church and collaboration between men and women in ecclesial spaces.

The general program approach follows the dynamic of listening, discerning and acting.

Listening: as a missionary disciple to understand the current challenges, lights and shadows of the situation of women within the Church and the collaboration between clerics and laity, enlightened by the gaze of faith and taking into account, the fruitful examples of cooperation between men and women and the difficult recognition of women in different geographical contexts.

Discerning: understanding the causes of such challenges (cultural, historical, and anthropological factors), the foundations and criteria to be used to guide thought and action.

Acting: outline ways to go, tools on the identity and mission of women in the Church.

MODULES

Socio-historical: historical processes, problems and strengths underlying various cultural issues still in progress, including the the inculturation of the Catholic faith in its social dialogue, to suggest possible elements to proceed with a proactive spirit.

Anthropological (philosophical and theological): deepens the meaning of sexual difference in the human person and the complexity of elements that come into play in the formation of sexual identity, to enlighten how to express collaboration and reciprocity between men and women in ecclesial contexts.

Ecclesiological: salient points of the conciliar and post-conciliar Magisterium on the laity and on women to open paths of creative, faithful and prophetic application starting from the ecclesiology of communion.

Mariological: develops what the figure of Mary says about the identity and mission of women in the Church, presents status quaestionis, some critical points and ways to go.

Workshops: a space to explore and enhance aspects of themselves to foster the perception of their masculinity or femininity (listen), interpret the content received (discern), customize a new way of relating and collaborating as a woman or man for-with-in Christ in the Church (acting).

 

ADMISSIONS CRITERIA

Bachelor’s degree or be enrolled in a Pontifical Faculty.

Methods andTimes: online, from 18 June to 2 July 2022.

TIMETABLE16:00 – 20:00 CEST | 10:00 – 14:00 EDT

Registration: until June 16, 2022

COST: 300 euro | 250 euro (only for those enrolled in the Pontifical Universities adhering to the Joint Diploma).

Languages:Italian with translation into English and Spanish   

for registration and further details:

Page on the University website   Brochure   Admission form

 

FOR INFORMATION : Carlo Fattori – Tel.: +39 06 91689918 E-mail: [email protected]

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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!