“People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him. True joy is a victory, something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle. Christ holds the secret of this victory.” — St John Paul II, World Youth Day 2002
There is no other organization quite like the Catholic Church.
The Church is hierarchal, with authority flowing from the Pope to the Bishops to the Parish Pastors to the lay faithful. The numbers of those with formal authority is substantial: The Pope, 222 Cardinals and 5,237 bishops. It is a vertical organization.
But the vertical quickly becomes horizontal. The Church comprises of roughly 415,792 priests, 44,566 permanent deacons, 682,729 woman religious and 1,272,000,000 lay members.
There is more – much more. Rome has its curia and each bishop heading a diocese has a staff. Parishes have teams of paid staff and volunteers, reaching out to the faithful and those looking for faith.
Catholics run hospitals, retirement homes, schools, colleges, universities, publishing houses, soup kitchens, summer camps, orphanages, homes for the disabled – just about anything that does good for people in need.
And there are the lay movements, more than 120. Regnum Christi is one.
Regnum Christi’s mission is to reveal Christ’s love, form apostles and send them out to help build the Kingdom of Christ. We awaken the individual and the family to their mission in life and in the Church.
How does this mission of Regnum Christi contribute to the overall mission of the Church – and how does it fit with all the other lay movements, dioceses, parishes and other Catholic activities and institutions?
It fits with everything else in the Church in joyful communion, in step with others in the great task of bringing Christi to all. That’s what makes the complementary vertical-horizontal nature of the Catholic Church so remarkable – and so effective.
Regnum Christi forms apostles, who serve in their dioceses and parishes, in other Catholic institutions and bring our spirituality into the secular world. To do this, we partner with all parts of the Church, which is the body of Christ.
Like a human body, the body of the Church has many parts that act in different ways to serve the good of the whole. Regnum Christi, like many parts of the human body, touches many parts of the Church – in Rome and in more than 20 countries across the globe.
You may find a Regnum Christi member leading the parish choir or leading a gospel reflection over lunch at the office. You may find a Regnum Christi team leading a project for a local bishop. You may find a Regnum Christi member stopping to talk to a homeless person, inviting them to pray in a nearby church.
Regnum Christi touches the Church in all parts of its holy body – and its members are enriched in return.
Most organizations structure themselves along geography, product lines or customer need. The Church does uses all those approaches. Dioceses and parishes serve specific geographic areas. Hospitals, schools and other institutions serve specific customer needs. And the lay movements offer a place for formation and service to Catholics with particular interests and attributes.
Catholics are everywhere, on all seven continents. (Yes, there are four Catholic churches in Antarctica.)
Regnum Christi is not everywhere, but is in many places. And where we aren’t, someone will be there to bring the Word.