"All that work,
all that blood, sweat and tears, waking up in the
middle of the night...I changed that one life, and if
that´s all I did, it was completely worth it."
These are the words of
a young man who gave one year of his life
in the service to others, and that year ended up
giving him back more than he ever hoped.
He was among the young men and women who join
the Regnum Christi Mission Corps (RCMC).
His testimony and many others are in the
introductory video on the new RCMC website. In that video you will hear the following phrase
repeated again and again:
“It changed my life. It changed my life. It changed
members are Catholic missionaries, male and female ages 18 years
and older, who serve for 1-2 years in cities throughout
the US and abroad. Working with local parishes,
these young people are trained to lead service projects, spiritual
retreats, mission trips, and to serve in Regnum Christi apostolates.
Countless articles have
been published in recent years relating to the increased interest
and number of young people opting for a gap year
rather than heading directly into college or the work force.
These publications seem to be touching on how
young people are benefiting, not only spiritually, but academically and
professionally from participating in the gap year experience.
RCMC alumni and parents confirm
the benefits of donating a year in the lives of
young people before entering college and the work force.
“This program truly helps
you find yourself, and you
leave prepared for whatever your
next step in life is,” said one alumnus in the
Hurd, a parent of three former RCMC missionaries, said words
“cannot describe the impact that Christ, through RCMC, has made
on our 3 sons. Plain and simple, don’t
send your kids to college without it.”
MAJOR PROGRAM CHANGES
According to Helen Yalbir, a National Formation Director
of RCMC, the program has gone through major changes in
the last few years (particularly this year.) Previously, young men
and women participated in separately governed, gender-specific RCMC programs. Now there is one national program, with one operating
team which includes a new national coordinator, overseen by a
board of directors. The promotion, application and fundraising aspects of
the two separate programs have been streamlined and combined.
Missionaries still live in single-gender
teams and commit to being “single for a season,” but
some program aspects now involve a co-ed experience including the
summer training of missionaries. Another major change is a much-anticipated
end-of-year mission trip to Jerusalem, which starting this year will
be also be a co-ed experience.
“And the program in cities such as Chicago
and Atlanta, includes additional co-ed aspects, with young men and
women missionaries planning their Mission work, hosting activities, attending monthly
dinners at RC host family homes and receiving some of
their ongoing formation together,” said Helen.
“Our goal is to eventually have all assignment
cities include all aspects of the co-ed experience,” said Fr.
Martin Connor LC, a national formation director of the program.
“There is a great need to help the young people
today mature in many ways -- in their faith, self-worth
and sense of responsibility -- before sending them out into
the world, as well in learning how to develop healthy
male/female relationships, something this program is now better able to provide.”
RCMC planning team is also working to expand the program
to include more assignment cities. “We are hoping to eventually
offer a missionary experience in every city where Legionaries or
consecrated members live,” said Helen.
WHAT MAKES RCMC UNIQUE
RCMC is one of the only missionary experiences which
give participants the ability to live and work within communities
of priests and religious. Many RCMC missionaries say they particularly
benefit from this unique exposure.
Erin McCrory, the national coordinator of RCMC was
also a former missionary. She explains, “As a female living
with the consecrated women or for the male missionaries living
with the priest and brothers you see all aspects of
their life, you see their continuous charity not just during
work hours but even after and you get to see
first hand how their commitment to prayer is what fuels
Erin continued, “Pope
John Paul 2 said ‘the world is desperately in need
of authentic examples of Christ, and that is exactly what
this program provides in a very unique way.’”
Erin said, “that statistically more and
more Catholic youth are opting to take a “gap year”
of service and that the church as a whole is
responding by providing more unique opportunities to do so.” This
year RCMC led a collaboration with other national volunteer programs
such as NET, FOCUS, Mission Youth, Generation Life etc., to
highlight these opportunities and produced a promotional DVD for the
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) “that displayed the
many wonderful, opportunities available out there for youth to serve
the church” she said.
Thanks to efforts by the RCMC management team, alumni from
the program are now reuniting to remember their experiences. “We are working to develop communications modes to make
this possible,” said Helen. “Our Atlanta alumni have already organized
one reunion in May 2012 that was very successful. We hope to hold many more the future.”
Past missionaries can check out
the RCMC Facebook page to see if their service
year has formed an alumni group. Information is
also on the RCMC website.
HELP WITH FUNDING
The current cost of the program is $7,900, which according
to operating team’s research is one-third the price of similar
year actually costs twice what missionaries pay to participate,” said
Erin. “But thanks to donors who subsidize the cost, RCMC
can offer it for a reduced price, and we also
provide assistance to missionaries with fundraising for the portion they
do have to pay.”
“We are making this a priority so no young person,
as much as possible, is turned away from this experience
because of financial difficulty,” said Fr Martin. “Without our donors
we just couldn’t run this program.”
Donations can be made via the RCMC website,
Click here for a summary of RCMC
costs and application process. For further information, please contact our
National Office at (248)860-4369 or send an email to Erin@rcmissioncorps.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.