Regnum Christi

Legion of Christ

Five Legionaries Make First Vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

On September 5th, 2020, on the Feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta, five novices at the Legionaries of Christ’s Novitiate and College of Humanities in Cheshire, Connecticut, made their first professions of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. For Br. Ricardo Gurrola, LC, Br. John Wilson, LC, Br. Eduardo Urdaneta, LC, Br. Elijah McLellan, LC, and Br. Raul Espinoza, LC,  Saturday’s profession marked the end of their two-year journey as novices who had left the path of the world and embarked on a new way of growing closer to Christ while discerning the next steps in God’s plan for them. As brothers who have made their professions, they are now officially considered members of the congregation in the eyes of the Church, and continue their journey of formation and preparation for the priesthood as humanists.

“During the novitiate the novices discern and delve into their vocation, they form a passionate love for Christ, and as time goes by, they acquire the virtues necessary for religious life.” Explains Fr. Joseph Brickner, LC, novice director, “Novitiate is like the three years that the apostles spent with Christ; listening to him, observing him, praying with him, and yes – even being challenged by him.  The first profession of temporal vows is the leaving of the boat and nets on the shore and responding to Christ who is saying, ‘Come, follow me.’”

Fr. Timothy Walsh, LC, rector of the Novitiate and College of Humanities, explains the meaning of the step the brothers have taken, “Professions is the day on which the young man commits his life entirely to God in an act of self-giving love. By professing the evangelical counsels (vows) of poverty, chastity, and obedience, he publicly expresses his desire to follow Christ more closely and be his disciple in a more committed way. In this sense, professions are the door into religious life in the Catholic Church.”

The brothers finished their two years of preparation for professions with an eight-day silent retreat, which was directed and preached this year by Fr. Emilio Diaz-Torre, LC, who lived and worked in the United States for many years before taking on a new assignment as territorial director in Monterrey, Mexico. He now lives and works in the newly established diocese of Cancun, Mexico.

On a practical level, the newly professed brothers will now be considered “humanists,” and will begin college level studies of humanities, including classical and modern languages, history, art, literature, and science. Fr. Timothy explained that within this context, they will each strive to become a man for the mission, and this will lead them along a path of discovering the human heart, starting with their own, especially by growing in self-knowledge. They will strive to put Christ at the center of their lives and the world around them by searching for the Lord’s presence in new ways and places. They will live out their mission through an ever-deepening identification with their individual religious and Legionary identity. This journey is made together, in company of the community of his fellow professed.

Explaining the link between professions and the preparation for the priesthood, Fr. Timothy states that “Through priestly ordination, a man is configured to Christ at the deepest level; he thus becomes an alter Christus, another Christ. Professions is a sort of “tilling the soil” of a young man’s soul which helps prepare him to receive this incredible gift.”

Number 18 of the Constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ explains it this way:

Legionaries, through the profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience by public vow,

1° consecrate themselves to God more intimately, following Christ who, virgin and poor, redeemed and sanctified the world by his obedience to the Father, even to the death of the cross;

2° seek to conform their hearts to Christ’s and make the Kingdom of God present in the world;

3° dedicate their entire lives consciously and eagerly to serve the Lord, the Church, the Congregation, Regnum Christi and all God’s children.

For each of the five brothers, all between the ages of 19 and 20 years old, the call of God that brought them to become professed brothers of the Legionaries of Christ is something they began to hear long ago.

Br. Ricardo Gurrola, LC from Los Angeles, California, shares that, “I don’t think there’s a moment in my life when I didn’t want to be a priest and I didn’t feel God’s call to be a priest. I always felt God calling me in simple little ways. When I was 12, I decided to join the apostolic school and really I kept saying my yes to God and taking the little steps he wanted me to take.”  For him, the act of professing the evangelical counsels is all encompassing.  He explains, “By making the vow of poverty I am telling God he is my only treasure. He is all that I want from this world. By making the vow of chastity I am telling him that he is my only love. By making the vow of obedience I am telling him that His will is my will, and it’s all I want to do in this life.”

Br. Raul Espinoza, LC,  of Paris, California, first heard God’s call through social media. “I ran into the Legionaries of Christ on YouTube, watching a Legionary priest talking about Mary.  The next suggested video was a Legionary priest speaking to married couples with such deep joy and depth of faith.”  Br. Raul started researching the order, and got in contact with Fr. John Curran, the Legionaries vocations director at the time.  A couple of months later, in 2018, he visited the seminary in Cheshire for a Test Your Call retreat, which was life changing for him, and he entered the candidacy program that summer. He explains his experience of making his profession of vows by sharing, “I found a treasure in the Legionaries of Christ, and now I am selling all that I have in order to take this treasure for myself.”

Br. John Wilson, LC, of Orr, Ontario, credits the parish priest he had growing up as a defining influence on his vocation through the way he reached young people with sports, joy, fun, and holiness. At 15, he visited Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, and recalled that “while I was there, I had this powerful experience. Kneeling in the chapel before our Lord, I felt him almost drawing me towards the tabernacle with a simple, but profound call: Follow me.”  He entered the apostolic school and finished his high school there before entering the novitiate.

Born in Venezuela, then moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as a teenager, Br. Eduardo Urdaneta, LC, found the desire to become a priest take root in him at 15, after being on retreat with the Legionaries of Christ. The retreat ignited a new life of prayer in him.  A month later he and his family moved to the United States. He remembers one night, not long after, when he was praying his rosary in the kitchen, reflecting on his life and thanking God for all his gifts. He felt the deep interior desire to give back to God, and experienced the call to give God his life as a priest. He feels a deep certainty about his decision to become a Legionary of Christ, stating “I grew up with this spirituality and I am passionate about the mission.”

Growing up in New Hampshire, Br. Elijah McLellan, LC, always thought he would join the army like his father. At one point, his parish priest asked him if he had ever considered the priesthood, and that opened him up to thinking about it. He visited the novitiate in Cheshire, and after a week of prayer and discernment, away from technology and distractions, he says he “felt a sure call to follow God in the priesthood.” To Br. Elijah, making his first profession of vows means, “to give my life to God, to totally abandon everything to God, and to hand my whole life and my total self to him.”

The current pandemic prevented the Legionaries of Christ from inviting all friends and family to join them in person for the Professions Mass at the Seminary, but the live-stream of the Mass on the Legionaries of Christ Facebook page allowed about 8,800 people to watch and pray with the brothers as they made their vows.

Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC, territorial director for the Legionaries of Christ in the Territory of North America, presided at the Mass and gave the homily.  His words were directed at the next steps that the brothers will take as they journey on in religious life.

Referring to the first reading from the book of Samuel, chapter 3:1-10, he told them, “There is a strange little phrase in the first reading, ‘Samuel was not yet familiar with the Lord.’ In a particular way from this point forward, everyone who encounters you must discover a certain hallmark in you of someone who is familiar with the Lord. They must encounter in you someone that they know has a relationship with the Lord, that listens to his voice, ponders his word, and adjusts according to his step”

Continuing with a reflection on the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 3:8-14, he stated that “when we are familiar with the Lord it allows us to discern the value of things correctly.  Like St. Paul said, ‘I have considered all things and none of them compare to the surpassing glory of Christ, of knowing him, but more importantly of being known by him. He has grasped me. I am in his hands and he will never let me go.’” He wanted the brothers to clearly know that they will not earn heaven, that it is not a righteousness of their own making, but it is a righteousness, a holiness, that comes from faith in the Lord, from a particular way of setting their hearts on him alone,  and being conformed to his resurrection by way of being conformed to his death.

Concluding with words about the Gospel passage which described how a grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die in order to live and bear fruit, Fr. Shawn said that in being familiar with the Lord, being conformed to him, and being particularly conformed to Him in his death, a death that is an expression of love, and therefore a fruitful death, Legionaries must die daily to themselves. “In religious life, the fathers and brothers have to learn to say yes to things they don’t to say yes to, and how to say no to things they don’t want to say no to.” He echoed St. Paul’s words that “I learn how to let go of all things,” going on to explain that this means “not just the good things, but you even need to let go of the weaknesses and imperfections in yourself and in those around you.  In case you haven’t noticed, the Legion is not perfect, but it is an instrument of God. The Lord will work through it. I have to let go of the imperfections that I will sometimes see, knowing he is leading me to himself, even by way of the imperfect in me and around me. Because I have hope in the power of the resurrection I can die, because there’s a force that’s even more powerful at work by which Our Lord rose from the dead.  There is a love stronger than death. His death is the surrender of love. Love engulfs death, and because it does, it is fruitful.”

The Legionaries prayerfully invite all who would like to give a gift to support the newly professed brothers, and all of the Legionaries of Christ in formation for the priesthood, to consider doing so through a donation to the Novitiate and College of Humanities.

Anyone who would like to get to know the Legionaries of Christ and start discerning a potential vocation is invited to explore their discernment website and contact the congregation by email.

The full video of the Professions Mass is available here, and a collection of photos can be found here.

Below is a brief interview with the five brothers just before they made their professions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Legionaries Make First Vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience Read More »

The Ministry of Building Community at Holy Spirit Prep

Father Juan José Hernández, LC, has been eager for the new school year to start. Beginning his seventh year as the Head Chaplain at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta, Georgia, he’s part of a campus ministry team that includes two other chaplains, as well as teachers and lay people, all working together to minister to the spiritual needs of the school’s students, staff, faculty, and parents. And, according to Father Juan José, one of the main spiritual needs of all those he serves is the longing for community.

As a small college prep school with students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, Holy Spirit Prep strives to create a close-knit faith community dedicated to Catholic values and education, and it’s this caring, communal environment that Father Juan José believes is so important to the development of young people today. Normally, he would start his days on campus with morning Mass for the students, teachers and parents that arrive early, and spend the rest of his time building personal relationships with each and every student, having conversations, hearing confessions, attending after-school activities and sporting events or visiting with families. “I try to see as many kids as I can, with the intention of seeing everybody,” says Father Juan José. “Some students will definitely come by on a regular basis, be it for confession, or just to talk, and I like to be available, but also very intentional, to make sure that I’m at least trying to reach out to everybody.”

Building relationship with every student in the school through personal contact and communication can be challenging at the best of times, but the COVID-19 crisis, and the sudden closure of Holy Spirit Prep in the spring, made Father Juan José’s job of cultivating community that much harder. “The greatest issue facing the students, in the context of the pandemic, is not having that communication, those relationships with the other students,” says Father Juan José. “With the campus ministry team, and with the chaplains in a special way, it’s very natural there at school for the students to stop by, for confession or just to catch up, to talk about life, a moral question, difficulties they’re having at home. Just not having that… that isolation is very difficult.”

However, Father Juan José didn’t let the COVID pandemic – or the school closure – stop him from continually reaching out to try to create spaces of encounter and relationship with the current and past students and families of Holy Spirit Prep. During the first weeks of the pandemic, when the school initially sent its students home, Father Juan José spent much of his time performing house blessings for the families who were now suddenly self-isolating. And during the summer, he was busy continuing the relationships he had been building before the school had shut down. “I’ve spent a lot of my time this summer meeting up with alumni, reaching out, phone calls, or just getting together for dinner – finding ways to visit families, and creating opportunities for parents and students to come together,” says Father Juan José. One of those opportunities was an in-person graduation that the school was able to hold at the end of the school year, while still maintaining the social-distancing restrictions in place. “It’s a small enough school that we were able to get everybody together, something the students really wanted,” says Father Juan José. “They did not want another virtual ceremony, another virtual class. They wanted to do it in-person, and it was great that everybody came together, being able to keep the restrictions that we were given, and actually have an in-person graduation that was very meaningful for the students. It was a great witness to the importance that they give to our community.”

Father Juan José credits his own upbringing for helping him understand, and minister to, the universal longing for community that he encounters in his students. The third of four children, Father Juan José grew up in a faithful Catholic family in Puerto Rico, and it was in this domestic church that he cultivated an awareness of and appreciation for the importance of community. “Just coming from a good Catholic home, just seeing what family life is like, it’s been a blessing,” says Father Juan José. “I’ve seen a lot of suffering of families… and just having that experience of my own family life that, although it wasn’t perfect, was persevering helps gives perspective to the students.”

But perhaps what helps Father Juan José connect most with the young people to whom he ministers is his own experience as a young adult and university student. Before becoming a Legionary, Father Juan José was enrolled at Georgia Tech, where he was pursuing a degree in engineering. Part way through his studies, he realized that God was calling him towards a different path, and he left the school and his aspirations for a career in engineering to enter the Legion of Christ. This experience – of having been accepted into an extremely competitive field at a highly-ranked school, and instead, choosing to enter the religious life – is one that provides Father Juan José with insight into his students’ own dreams of success, as well as a perspective on what truly matters. “I explain that there are things that are beyond success and money… being an engineer and creating the latest technology. All these things, sooner or later, they fade,” says Father Juan José. “I’ve been where they are, had those experiences, and yet I see something that’s more important. I think it helps kind of open a door of conversation where I can connect with them, so even if they do continue to get that engineering job or go to medical school, or whatever it is, they are at least going knowing that that’s just a means, and not an end. So that particular college experience, and my own reason for leaving that and entering religious life, has always been helpful, year after year, when I share that with the students.”

And for Father Juan José, it’s through those personal and genuine conversations with his students where he really gets to know who they truly are as well. “They’re so authentic in many ways, and you can get an insight into what’s in their hearts. It’s amazing to see that beneath all the masks of their Instagram posts, their TikTok videos, and their concern for what people think, deep down, as you talk to them, you discover that they long to live for others, to live sacrifice, to be courageous, and they’ll say it in as many words if you stick around long enough to have that conversation,” says Father Juan José. “And in those conversations, to see that and hear that over and over, the goodness that’s in people – despite their failings, despite their current problems, despite the trouble they’re getting in at school or at home – deep down, everybody is good, and everybody desires something good. And you can see the mark of God in the soul of each one of those students.”

Holy Spirit Prep is returning to in-person instruction this August, and Father Juan José, along with the faculty, staff, and the rest of the campus ministry team, can’t wait to see the students face-to-face once again. “We’re making great efforts to actually have in-person classes, because we all share the same mission. It’s not just the chaplain, but the teachers, the administrators, see the value of being able to form our students with that personal contact,” says Father Juan José. “Not having that has been hard, but what we’re hoping is that we can restart some of these things, and think of smaller, spontaneous things that we can do, so we continue building up that community. It’s so important, especially for young people, to have that community, to find other people who think like they think, who long for the same things, who can build each other up, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

The Ministry of Building Community at Holy Spirit Prep Read More »

#GivingTuesdayNow For Seminary in Cheshire

#GivingTuesdayNow May 5th, is a global day of giving as an emergency response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Legionaries of Christ are on the frontline during this pandemic spiritually nourishing their flock, anointing the sick and consoling families. Help us support the Seminary in Cheshire so that we can have more of these dedicated priests. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to support our young men as they discern their call to the priesthood. 

Starting at 1pm EDT on Tuesday, May 5, we will be hosting “Fireside Chats” with several of our priests throughout the day on the Legionaries of Christ Facebook page. They will be answering questions from our seminarians as well as from all of you LIVE! Tune in to hear their vocation stories, pivotal moments in their call to the priesthood, favorite memories from their time at the Seminary in Cheshire and simply get to know these Holy priests and the work they do building Christ’s Kingdom.

We will be sharing our progress toward our $50,000 goal for the seminary throughout the day with you. A link to donate will be available in the comments section of each Fireside Chat. If you’re not able to make it but would still like to participate in this #GivingTuesdayNow initiative for the seminarians you may donate at this link.

#GivingTuesdayNow Fireside Chat Lineup: 

1:00 – 1:30 pm EDT  |  Fr. Simon Devereux and Fr. Matthew Schmitz – West Coast

2:00 – 2:30 pm EDT  |  Fr. Nathaniel Haslam and Fr. Jorge Obregon – Houston

4:00 – 4:30 pm EDT  |  Fr. Daniel Brandenburg and Fr. Patrick O’Loughlin – Atlanta

5:00 – 5:30 pm EDT  |  Fr. Michael Sliney and Fr. Andrew Gronotte – DC

6:00 – 7:00 pm EDT |  Rosary and Fireside chat Fr. Jason Smith and Fr. Mark Haydu – NYC

7:00 – 7:30 pm EDT  |  End your day with Fr. Nicholas Sheehy and one of our seminarians live from our Seminary in Cheshire!

#GivingTuesdayNow For Seminary in Cheshire Read More »

POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE TO REGNUM CHRISTI: A new stage on a journey that must continue

February 29, 2020

 

POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE TO REGNUM CHRISTI

A new stage on a journey that must continue

 

  • The members of the General Directive College of Regnum Christi thank Pope Francis for the confidence to continue to walk the path of renewal with determination in order to overcome the legacy of Father Maciel.

 

The Pope’s Message to Regnum Christi (original italian)

The Pope’s Message to Regnum Christi (English, unofficial translation)

 

Rome, February 29, 2020 – This Saturday, February 29, an audience that was scheduled for Pope Francis with the participants in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ and the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi did not take place because for the third consecutive day there were cancellations on the Holy Father’s agenda. The Holy See has published the message that the Pope wanted to address to the attendees, and it has been read in the Assemblies and the Chapter this morning.

A change of mentality to overcome self-referentiality

In his message, the Pope recalled that the criminal life of the founder “had to some extent tainted the charism that the Spirit had originally given to the Church,” affecting the norms, the exercise of government and the life “of all of Regnum Christi.” Regnum Christi, hand in hand with the Church, has travelled a path leading to a real “change of mentality” which has been reflected in the new Constitutions and Statutes, which are “truly new,” says the Pope, “because they reflect a new spirit” and a vision “consistent with the Second Vatican Council,” the result of a work in which “all of your communities have been involved.” The Pope says in his message that “this was possible because you have been docile to the help and support that the Church has offered you,” and because you have realized “the real need for a renewal that would bring you out of the self-referentiality in which you had been enclosed.”

“The words of Pope Francis fill us with gratitude and encourage us to follow the path of discernment and renewal with commitment and docility to the Spirit,” said Nancy Nohrden, General Director of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi. “The fact that he has confirmed the steps we have taken in recent years strengthens our desire to address with courage and humility the errors of the past, and to walk in truth in order to make the kingdom of Christ present,” she said.

For his part, Félix Gómez Rueda, General Director of the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi, was grateful “to hear from the Holy Father that the work of these years has allowed us to manifest the charism originally given by the Holy Spirit and truly inserted in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.”

“We are grateful for the message of the Holy Father and the close accompaniment of the Holy See,” said Father John Connor, LC, recently elected General Director of the Legionaries of Christ. “Aware of what we have learned, recognizing and purifying the painful aspects of our past, we look to the future with hope, seeing a new stage in the journey of renewal that must continue,” he said.

For Francisco Gámez, a lay member who attends the General Directive College of Regnum Christi, “the Pope calls us to have a continuous attitude of spiritual renewal. We, the lay members of Regnum Christi, do not want to live a static charism, nor one that is exclusive to a few. We want to put our charism in contact with reality in a constant discernment, with those who do not know God, with the existential peripheries,” he assured.

 

Regnum Christi Federation

On June 12, 2019, the Holy See, through the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA), constituted the Regnum Christi Federation and approved its Statutes. The new Statutes express the consensus reached by the four vocations of the Regnum Christi during the process of renewal regarding their charism and common mission, spirituality, membership, organization and governance. It has been a participative and global process in which, since 2010, all the members of Regnum Christi from the four vocations that make up this ecclesial reality have been involved, some 22,000, including Legionaries of Christ, Consecrated Women, Lay Consecrated Men and lay members.

 

Collegial Government

Hand in hand with the Church, the mechanisms that regulate the exercise of government and authority have been reformed as indicated by the Holy See after the apostolic visit in 2010, “united to the truth, to respect conscience and to be exercised in the light of the Gospel as an authentic ecclesial service.” In addition to the changes in the particular constitutions of the three consecrated vocations, Regnum Christi has introduced a collegial mode of government for the Federation. In this way, it seeks to highlight the spirit of communion, co-responsibility and complementarity of the vocations while respecting the autonomy proper to each.

 

Regnum Christi by the Numbers

Worldwide, at the end of 2018, Regnum Christi had 22,652 lay members, 523 Consecrated Women, 59 Lay Consecrated Men and 1,501 Legionaries of Christ.

Regnum Christi’s educational institutions have 185,000 students including 14 civil universities in Mexico, Italy, Spain, Chile and the United States, and 154 schools (31 of which are Mano Amiga schools for children from marginalized areas of Mexico, Chile, Argentina, the Philippines, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil). In addition, Regnum Christi directs the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, the John Paul II Institute for the Family in Mexico, the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae in Rome and the Maria Mater Ecclesiae Seminary in Brazil.

 

Evangelization Missions

Thousands of families and young people put themselves completely at the service of collaborating in evangelization with diocesan parish priests, especially during Holy Week and summer months. There are missionaries from 30 countries: United States, El Salvador, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Ivory Coast, Poland, New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Hungary, Philippines, Canada, Belize, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, Ireland, Germany, Bosnia, Bahamas, Lebanon, England, Austria, Belgium and Lithuania.

POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE TO REGNUM CHRISTI: A new stage on a journey that must continue Read More »

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Regnum Christi Federation: Unofficial Translation from Italian Original

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

to the Regnum Christi Federation

February 29 2020

(Unofficial translation from the Italian original)

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to be able to meet with you as you are concluding a phase of your journey under the maternal guidance of the Church. You, Legionaries of Christ, have just concluded your General Chapter and you, both Consecrated Women and Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi, your General Assemblies. These were a chapter and assemblies which produced your new General Governments, concluding a phase in the journey you have undertaken. This means that the journey continues and is not yet completed.

The criminal behavior of your founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, which emerged in all its gravity, produced a deep crisis in the whole of Regnum Christi, both as an institution and individually. While, on the one hand, it cannot be denied that he was the “historical” founder of the entire reality you represent, on the other hand, he cannot be considered as an example of holiness to be imitated. He made himself the point of reference, through a false image that he created with his double life. Moreover, his long centralized government had, to some extent, tainted the charism that the Holy Spirit had originally given to the Church; and this was reflected in its norms, as well as in the practice of government and obedience, and in its style of life.

Faced with these revelations, the Church did not fail to show her motherly concern and reached out to you in various ways, placing alongside you people of great human and pastoral sensitivity and recognized juridical competence. Among them I wish to recall the late Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, Pontifical Delegate. The new Constitutions and the new Statutes are truly “new,” both because they reflect a new spirit and a new vision of religious life consistent with the Second Vatican Council and the guidelines of the Holy See, and because they are the product of three years’ work, in which all of your communities have been involved and which has led to a change of mentality. It was an event that brought about a real conversion of heart and mind. This was possible because you were docile to the help and support that the Church offered you, having realized the real need for a renewal that would bring you out of the self-referentiality in which you had been enclosed.  You opened yourselves with courage to the action of the Holy Spirit, thus entering the path of true discernment.

Accompanied by the Church, you have carried out with patience and willingness a demanding task to overcome even very strong tensions which sometimes arose. This prompted a further change of mentality, because it required a new vision in the mutual relations between the diverse realities that comprise Regnum Christi. I know well that it has not been easy, because what we are most strongly attached to are our own ideas. We often lack holy indifference, to which we must be open by an act of will, to allow the Holy Spirit to work within us. The Spirit leads us to detachment from ourselves in the search for God’s will, because only from God’s will can come the good for the whole Church and for each of us.

This work has led to the establishment of the Federation of Regnum Christi, composed of the Religious Institute of the Legionaries of Christ, the Society of Apostolic Life of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and the Society of Apostolic Life of the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi. Numerous lay people, who do not profess the evangelical counsels, join this Federation individually, thus constituting a “Spiritual Family,” a broader reality than the Federation itself. The Federation is a canonically “new,” but also an “old” reality, because this unity and autonomy was already existent, in fact, since 2014. There remains a vast area which must be the subject of continued discernment on your part. Therefore, the journey must continue, looking forward, not backwards. Look back only to find confidence in God’s support, which has never been lacking.

At hand is the question of determining the concrete application of the Statutes of the Federation. This requires the discernment of both the collegial governing bodies, and the general and territorial governments of the three federated realities. The Statutes must always stimulate discernment. However, if discernment is not easy on a personal level, it is much less so on the level of  government. Discernment requires of everyone humility and prayer; the latter, nourished by contemplation of the mysteries of the life of Jesus, leads one to become more like Him and to see through His eyes. In this way, you can progress with objectivity, with a healthy detachment from your own ideas: this does not mean that you should not have your own evaluation of reality and the problems to be confronted, but it means submitting your personal opinion to the common good.

You have elected the new general superiors and their councils. Certainly, the first person responsible for the direction of the Legionaries of Christ or the Consecrated women or the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi are the directors, but the councils have a very important function, even if the counselors are not superiors.  In fact, the councils must be a valid help to the superiors in their government, but at the same time, they also have a responsibility to supervise the work of these superiors. In fact, they are called to govern with respect for persons and in keeping with the common law of the Church and the proper law of the Institute or of each Society. For this reason, canon law provides that when a matter is submitted to the consent of the council, the superior does not vote, precisely in order to leave the councilors with more freedom (cf. can. 627 §2; 127 CIC; Pont. Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, response of August 1, 1985, in AAS 77 [1985] 771).

I hope that your new governments will be aware that the journey of renewal is not over, because a change of mentality in individuals and in an institution requires a great deal of time for assimilation, and therefore a continuous conversion. It is a change that must continue in all members of the Federation. To return to the past would be dangerous and meaningless. The individual governments of the three federated institutes are called to follow this path with perseverance and patience, both with regard to their own Religious Institute or Society of Apostolic Life and with regard to the Federation and the laity associated to it. This requires that the three governments have a vision consistent with the will that the Church has shown in all these years by her closeness and by all the concrete means she has put at your disposition.

You, members of the new general governments, have received a mandate from the Church to continue the path of renewal, reaping and strengthening the fruits matured in these years. I exhort you to act fortiter et suaviter: energetically in the substance, and gently in the form, knowing how to grasp with courage, and at the same time with prudence, the other paths that must be taken, which have been outlined and approved by the Church. If you humbly place yourselves in the school of the Holy Spirit, you will not be overwhelmed by fear or doubt, which disturb the soul and prevent action. I entrust you to the motherly protection of the Virgin Mary; I accompany you with my affection and a sure place in my prayers, and from my heart I impart to you the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to the whole Family of Regnum Christi. And please do not forget to pray for me.

 

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Regnum Christi Federation: Unofficial Translation from Italian Original Read More »

Father John Connor, an American, is elected the new superior general of the Legionaries of Christ.

02.06.2020

  • Father John Connor, 51 years old, was born in Maryland (USA) where he has served in priestly ministry and has had governing responsibilities since 2001. Most recently he was the territorial superior of the Legionaries of Christ in the North American Territory. He has also lived in Germany, Italy, and Spain.
  • He is the first superior general of the Congregation that is not Mexican.
  • The General Chapter elected Father John after two weeks dedicated almost exclusively to dealing with the topic of sexual abuse so as “to bring justice to victims, change our mentality, our ways of acting, and the institutional culture that have made so much pain possible.”

The General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ has elected Father John Connor, LC, an American, as the new general director of the Congregation. The Chapter spent two weeks focused on sexual abuse, attention to victims, and clarifying next actions.  It has also made the commitment to “publicly releasing the results of its reflections and resolutions on this matter, when all its work is finished.”

The voting took place on February 6. With this election, Legionary Father Eduardo Robles-Gil’s term is concluded. In upcoming days the Chapter will elect the six members of the government that comprise the General Council, according to the Constitutions approved by the Holy See in 2014. These Constitutions are a result of  the renewal process the Legionaries underwent with the Church’s guidance. . The chapter will also elect the general administrator.

Father John Connor

Father John Connor, LC, is 51 years old. Since 2001 until the present he has exercised priestly ministry in the United States, mainly in New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. He holds a degree in finance from Loyola University (Baltimore). He has lived in Germany, Italy, and Spain. He studied philosophy and theology in Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood on January 2, 2001. From 2014 until his election as general director, he was the territorial director of the Legionaries of Christ in the North American Territory and a member of the Territorial Directive College of Regnum Christi in that territory.

Resolution and transparency to deal with abuses

The new general director will have the responsibility, together with the rest of the government, to carry out the directives of the General Chapter now in session, which is the highest governing authority in the Congregation.

On January 24, the Chapter made the public resolution to deal decidedly with the topic of sexual abuse. They dedicated two weeks to this “with hearts and minds focused on the victims… to analyze the magnitude of the damage done, the intensity of the suffering inflicted, the causes, and the consequences; thus the Chapter will be able to validate measures already applied and to establish new measures.” The chapter has committed to “publicly releasing the results of its reflections and resolutions on this matter.” The Chapter Fathers have had the opportunity to listen to the testimony of two victims of sexual abuse, and to Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, who urged them to reach out to victims.

The upcoming days will be dedicated to finishing the election of the members of the General Council and the election of the general administrator. In upcoming weeks the Chapter will tackle other topics such as the apostolic mission of the Congregation and its relation with the other vocations in Regnum Christi, the formation of seminarians, living of poverty in the Congregation, community life, vocation promotion, and religious discipline in general.

Official Site

The official website of the Chapter is https://legionariosdecristo.org/capitulo2020/, where frequent summaries, photographs, and official communications are published. English translations of Chapter communications are offered on www.legionariesofchrist.org.

Father John Connor, an American, is elected the new superior general of the Legionaries of Christ. Read More »

37 Legionaries of Christ Ordained at the 2019 Priestly Ordinations

Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M., ordains 37 Legionaries of Christ.

1. The ceremony took place at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, in Rome, on May 4, 2019, at 10:00 a.m (4:00 am EST).

2. Approximately 2,000 people attended the ceremony in person and over 7,000 people tuned in to the livestreams available online, offered in both English and Spanish, on May 4, 2019.

3. Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., in speaking to the newly ordained priests, said “the priest, more than any other, must be considered a man of the people, for the people. Neither the lifestyle nor the language that he uses in the service of evangelization can separate him from the people…”

Read the full press release

37 Legionaries of Christ Ordained at the 2019 Priestly Ordinations Read More »

Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil: Letter about Venezuela

Rome, January 25, 2019

To the members of Regnum Christi

 

Dear friends in Christ,

 

I send you warm greetings, accompanied by my prayers and best wishes for each one of you.

I think we are all aware of the delicate situation that Venezuela is in and all that has been happening in that beloved country, particularly during the last few days.

I am writing to ask you that we continue being united in intense and confident prayer, asking that God grant special graces and gifts to the Venezuelan people and, in particular, to those who have in their hands the possibility of making the country recover constitutional order and take up once more the path of hope, justice, peace and progress.

To Venezuelans and all those who dedicate themselves daily to working on the apostolate in that country, I reiterate that, as a family, you can count on the support and prayers of all members of Regnum Christi. Do not lose hope and confidence that God will know how to move Venezuela forward. I send you my priestly blessing with heartfelt affection.

 

Placing us all once again under the care and protection of Mary Most Holy, I remain affectionately yours in Christ,

Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil, LC

Original Letter in Spanish

Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil: Letter about Venezuela Read More »

Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil Letter: Solemnity of Christ the King

Thy Kingdom Come!
November 13, 2018
TO THE MEMBERS OF REGNUM CHRISTI

 

Dear friends in Christ,

As we’re about to celebrate the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Lay Consecrated Men, and the General Assembly of Regnum Christi, I send you warm greetings. On behalf of the participants in these assemblies, I wanted to express my wholehearted gratitude for all of your prayers for the success of our work and for the future of Regnum Christi.

It’s providential that at this important moment we will be celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Church invites us, on this feast, to contemplate Jesus Christ the Lord and his Kingdom. We consider those elements essential to our vocation and mission that shed light on our life and our decisions. I therefore invite all of us to take advantage of this liturgical event to renew our love for the Lord who must reign in our personal lives and grow in the active and ardent desire that his Kingdom come among us.

The expression “Thy Kingdom Come!” springs from the lips of Jesus Christ our Teacher, forming part of the prayer he teaches his disciples. Undoubtedly this is the prayer that is most beloved, most repeated, and most commented upon by Christians in every age. The longing it expresses is proper to and deeply rooted in every Christian heart, namely, the desire that Christ reign and that his Kingdom come among us.

We should consider well and meditate together on what we ask with this prayer and what we commit ourselves to. This petition, which Christ himself taught us, is a program for us as individuals and for Regnum Christi as a whole. As we pray it, personally and as a group, it unites us in a spiritual family and an apostolic body that has been entrusted with a particular mission.

“My kingdom is not of this world”

This year the Gospel of the liturgy for the solemnity (John 18:33-37) presents us with Jesus Christ before Pilate, at a particularly dramatic moment in his earthly life. His death on the cross is approaching relentlessly. He is about to complete the work of redemption. In this context, standing before the man who represents temporal power, Jesus Christ affirms authoritatively that he is King and that his Kingdom is not of this world.

In this way he clearly teaches us that his Kingdom is something hidden, interior. It begins in the deepest part of the soul. It is the very presence of God that needs to be received and kept in the intimacy of our hearts so that, like yeast, it can transform in turn all other realities (see Matthew 13:33). For this reason, meditating on the Kingdom makes us feel once again the call and invitation to interiority and holiness of life, the starting point and guarantee of all Christian witness and apostolate.

At this moment, faced with the work of the Assemblies and the General Chapter, we see once again that this always has to be our first priority, coming before any other activity or expediency.

“My kingdom is not of this world.” The preaching of the Kingdom of Christ is also an announcement of eternity and a reminder of the transience of earthly things. In the first reading, taken from the book of Daniel, it says: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:14).”

The pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council also reminds us of this:

For after we have obeyed the Lord, and in his Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the Father “a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace” (Preface of the Feast of Christ the King). On this earth that Kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower. (Guadium et Spes, 39)

As members of Regnum Christi I invite you always to keep in mind that following and imitating the Lord, in light of eternity, is the essential priority. Let him reign supreme in your lives and reject everything that is contrary to him and his Kingdom. Always choose whatever implies greater love and virtue so as to be credible and convincing witnesses to Jesus Christ and his teachings.

“Thy Kingdom Come!” means sanctifying our life through prayer, the sacraments, and the fulfillment of his will. “Thy Kingdom Come!” means sanctifying our family, work, and environment by the testimony of an attractive life rooted in the Gospel. “Thy Kingdom Come!” means sanctifying our culture and society, not falling into the consumerist ideology that makes us fix our eyes and heart on earthly things.

His Kingdom must be preached, made present, built up

At the same time the Kingdom of Christ is not merely something internal or for the future. The Kingdom is already present among us (see Luke 17:21). The preaching of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ himself began in this way: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Jesus Christ came among us to preach his Kingdom, to make it present.

The witness that the Lord gives of Himself and that Saint Luke gathered together in his Gospel—“I  must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43)—without doubt has enormous consequences, for it sums up the whole mission of Jesus: “That is what I was sent to do (ibid.).” (Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi, 6).

In the Gospel of the solemnity we find the same message: “For this I was born and for this I came to the world, to be a witness of the truth (John 18:37).”

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides (Matthew 6:33).” Jesus’ project is to establish his Father’s Kingdom; he asks his disciples to “make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’”(Matthew 10:7). He knows full well that this proclamation does not come without work and great sacrifice (see Matthew 11:12) but assures us he will provide all that we need.

From this arises that which we call ‘apostolic zeal,’ our joining in the effort of the whole Church to make known that Lord who shows himself in his message, his invitations, his commandments, our desire to fulfill his command to go to the whole world and preach the Gospel (see Matthew 28:19-20), which is Christ himself. Having found Christ engenders a permanent desire to make him known.

Pope Francis affirms this in the exhortation Evangelii gaudium:

Goodness always tends to spread. Every authentic experience of truth and goodness seeks by its very nature to grow within us, and any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops. If we wish to lead a dignified and fulfilling life, we have to reach out to others and seek their good. In this regard, several sayings of Saint Paul will not surprise us: “The love of Christ urges us on (2 Corinthians 5:14)”; “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16).” (Evangelii gaudium 9)

For the one who passes on the treasure he has found, the task of preaching the Gospel, of making Christ and his Kingdom known, is beautiful and filled with joy. That is why Pope Francis urges the whole Church:

Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow … And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ” (Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi 80). (Evangelii gaudium 10)

On the upcoming Solemnity of Christ the King, I invite you to renew the ardent desire to evangelize, that which characterizes the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi.

I am convinced this is the main reason Jesus Christ has raised up this work of his and entrusted us as a priestly people with a task, a mission. We read in the second reading for the day:

Jesus Christ [is] the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. He loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father (Revelation 1:5-6).

The certainty that he himself has called us together will guide us in these days of the Assemblies and the General Chapter. We know we have to aim all our efforts at being better apostles of Jesus Christ, better evangelizers, better witnesses to his Kingdom, that is, better witnesses to goodness, truth, and grace.

I ask you to always be apostles of Jesus Christ. As part of that mission continue praying intensely for those of us in the Chapter and Assemblies who will be finishing up the work of expressing together something of the gift we have received, certain that the Lord is accompanying us. I am grateful for the prayer initiatives at the local, territorial, and international level. I invite everyone to participate in a special Day of Prayer on November 16, the Friday before the beginning of the Chapter and General Assemblies, so the Lord might grant us the grace of doing whatever he envisages for Regnum Christi at this moment. You can find some materials for the Day of Prayer at this link.

I bid you farewell, assuring you of my prayers and asking for theirs.

 

Yours most sincerely in Jesus Christ,

 

Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.

Director General

Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil Letter: Solemnity of Christ the King Read More »

Scroll to Top

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!