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Territorial Directors´ letter summarizes the last year for the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi

Sunset over Mountains

Following is a letter which summarizes the fiscal year 2011 through 2012 for the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, issued by Fr. Luis Garza, LC, Territorial Director for the Legion of Christ, and Monica Treviño, Territorial Director for Regnum Christi consecrated women, and Matthew Reinhardt, Territorial Director for the Regnum Christi consecrated men.

Thy Kingdom Come!

REGNUM CHRISTI

MOVEMENT

_______

                                                                                                                        July 3, 2012

To all Legionaries and Consecrated Members of Regnum Christi in North America

Dear Fathers, Brothers, and Consecrated Women and Men, pax Christi,

As we come to the end of this school year and some of you head off to vacation and others to summer ministries, we want to recall some of the important developments of this past year, provide perspective on what we have achieved and share with you some upcoming changes. This is the first of what we hope will be regular reports on our progress in North America. [1] 

The renewal of the Legionaries, which was very challenging at its start, is bearing many positive fruits thanks to the spirit of openness, dedication and mutual cooperation among the priests and religious. The consecrated members, confronting concerns and difficulties of their own and supported by the prayers of our spiritual family, have confidently begun their review process under the guidance of the Holy See. We are very happy and satisfied that they have their own functioning governing bodies as they move forward.

We began the last school year with a clearer awareness of the specific challenges before us. Last summer, we conducted a survey among our members and created with your input and editing the North American Action Plan for the Mission which aimed to address these challenges. This action plan spawned many fruitful local discussions which continue to enrich us and sharpened our focus on improving and bettering ourselves and our service to the Church. On the territorial level, we have been working on carrying out the imperatives derived from the action plan:

1. Improve the spiritual support and formation so that it is consistent and excellent: One of our principal efforts this year has been to strengthen our communities. Fewer men and women have entered our communities over the past couple of years. Some others have discerned God’s call to other paths.  We are hopeful that the Lord will continue blessing us with vocations to serve the Church. That is why, for the most part, there has been a renewed effort in our prayer and dedication to vocational promotion. The Legionaries look forward to the new group of candidates entering the novitiate this September, the consecrated women and men look forward to receiving new candidates who will begin their year of formation. However, current personnel shortage is making it difficult to fill needed positions in the apostolate. 

Taking this into consideration and responding to the needs and concerns of our members, we have put a greater emphasis on the quality of our community life beginning by consolidating smaller communities while, at the same time, establishing official communities in some places where previously we had only residences. And so, with the approval of the Papal Delegate, we have made these recent changes:  In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we are now formally establishing Legionary and consecrated women’s communities in order to better provide for our members.  We have been sending personnel from Chicago and Indiana to support Regnum Christi and the apostolates in the area for many years but without formal communities.

  • In the Diocese of Sacramento, we will be handing over the administration of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a diocesan pastor.  We have enjoyed many years of service in different capacities in the diocese. Unfortunately, we do not have the personnel to continue to adequately serve the parish, nor to provide a larger community to support our priests. 
  • In the Diocese of St Augustine, it was decided to close the Domus Mariae of Jacksonville due to the limitations of personnel. Closing this center is very sad, as the team has been doing such great work in Jacksonville and the Regnum Christi members of Florida will sorely miss them.
  • Another step along these same lines is the upcoming move of Immaculate Conception Academy from Wakefield, Rhode Island, to Oxford, Michigan. Although this move had been planned since last year, a change like this is always difficult. Yet we believe that this move will improve the program in the long run. Overall, from the comments we have received, there seems to have been a great deal of support for this decision and enthusiasm about the long-term possibilities for growth in this location and the new horizons it opens for the formation of the high school girls.

We know some may find certain changes in these past years difficult. However, they are necessary to better fulfill our mission. Continuing to stretch both personnel and resources is not fair to any of you.

Another effort in fulfilling this imperative is that we are seeking ways to improve the formation and mentoring we offer our members from the first stages onwards. Our formation teams have met throughout the year as we seek to analyze steps we can take to provide our members with the tools they need to undertake the mission that the Legion and the Movement entrusts to them. 

2. Clarify and transmit the specific identity, vision and mission of the Legion and Regnum Christi: In conjunction with our formal renewal process, there has been an effort to further discuss and study our charism. As a personal initiative, Fr Owen Kearns and Fr Patrick Langan have been holding discussions in the different localities on the core elements of our charism. This is helping each to go to the essence of who we are, rekindle enthusiasm and recall what attracted them to the Legion or to the consecrated life in Regnum Christi.  The feedback is also helping all of us to personally express better our charism.

3. Stabilize our economic situation: Our economic situation has not been good due to the understandable fundraising difficulties following revelations of scandal, the general financial crisis and, as well, lack of good judgment in some past decisions. We have had to reduce our staff on the territorial and local levels and put some properties on the market in an effort to live within our means. We are looking for ways to improve our decision-making process by having a greater participation of our members in them.

As well, with the meetings at the beginning of this year, the National Development Office is seeking better ways to help support the Legion and Regnum Christi, especially the formation centers. We are implementing a regional fundraising model in some localities and hope to be able to fully implement this throughout North America very soon. This way our growth will be dictated from the base where we are serving and evangelizing.

As all of you know, we reached the decision to sell the Thornwood property. This was mainly due to the financial commitments.  However, we also realized that in the near term an additional center for Philosophy was not necessary as the Center for Higher Studies in Rome has room for these philosophy students.  This decision has been embraced with much faith by all the Legionaries. We are in the early stages of that process, so there really is not anything additional to report.  You will be kept informed as we move forward.

In addition to closing the Center for Higher Studies in Thornwood, another step we were forced to take was ceding the administration of the Rolling Hills Academy in San Antonio, Texas. The Legion and Regnum Christi, unable to fund the continued deficit with which the school was operating, needed to either close or sell the school. In order to continue the mission of the school, the Archdiocese of San Antonio took control of the school on June 1. We thank Archbishop García-Siller for ensuring the school continues to touch the lives of the students, faculty members and their families.

4. Implementing working localities in accord with our identity and mission: In the past year we have sought to help localities to build team work among Legionaries, consecrated men and women and first and second-degree members by meeting, analyzing problems and planning together. We are hoping to help the local coordinators of apostolate to create boards to help them with decisions facing the locality as well as providing greater involvement. We have also included the local coordinators for apostolate in decisions such as personnel assignment in order to better understand and meet local needs. As well, in April, several LCAs were invited to take part in the yearly territorial planning meetings held in Atlanta. 

As part of this effort, we have worked hard in the last few years to restore trust and improve communication between local clergy, other Church organizations and Legionaries and Regnum Christi members. In the past, our limited personnel meant that we were covering large areas with road teams. Our work in dioceses, not being stable, at times caused concerns among local pastors and bishops. Because we were not part of the diocesan programs and were not based locally, miscommunication happened regarding our intentions.  In some cases, we violated established diocesan procedures.  This resulted in some restrictions and even prohibitions on our work.

It is important that our work be aligned with the needs of the dioceses where we work.  In fact, since 2006, we have sought to ensure that our members really take an active part in the life of their local churches, for the Legion and Regnum Christi only find meaning in the Church and in the service of the Church. In this renewal process, the Legion and Regnum Christi remain committed to living out our charism in communion with dioceses, parishes and already established diocesan programs or by helping other groups within the Church so as to work together for the New Evangelization.

5. Reach out to new circles of potential apostles: We have sought new ways to reach out and evangelize people while maintaining strong communities and teams.

And so we have accepted two parishes in cities where we already had large Legionary communities:

  • In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, we agreed to administer St. Brendan the Navigator’s Parish, located near our Legionary and consecrated communities and Pinecrest Academy.  Fr Mathew Van Smoorenburg is the parish administrator. A consecrated woman had already been helping at the parish as the Youth Minister. We are grateful to Archbishop Gregory for this opportunity to serve to the local Church.
  •  In the Archdiocese of New York, we have accepted St Peter´s Parish in Yonkers.  Fr Lino Otero will be the parish priest, and we look forward to working with Cardinal Dolan, his priests and the Catholic community of New York.

Another part of this imperative was to revitalize our vocation work. We have sought ways to improve our work with those who feel called to the Legion or the consecrated life to aid them in their discernment. That is why we are providing ongoing formation on spiritual direction. As well, our Legionary vocation directors are members of the National Council of Diocesan Vocation Directors and participate in the yearly conventions. 

Also, there have been various initiatives of how to use the new media to spread Christ’s message effectively in the world of today. Some examples are the blog Legionarybrothers.com, Biltrix.com, an increased presence in social networks especially by our consecrated women and men and recent launches of local Regnum Christi websites.

At the beginning of the year, Legionaries and consecrated women who work in schools, along with school directors, met to find ways of revamping the identity of our schools and better define the role of Legionaries and consecrated in our schools as the first phase. As we go forward, the educational committee will be making recommendations on how to go ahead with our educational apostolate. Then it will supervise the implementation of that strategy and the correct governance of those efforts.

In our effort to foster the growth of ECYD, Legionaries and consecrated women have received initial training to renew our method of working with youth and connect with them in a more effective manner. The new ECYD material has been produced. This material will hopefully be a practical tool to help us present ECYD with greater clarity and offer it to more people. In some localities, steps have been taken for greater teamwork and collaboration between both ECYD branches. Challenge and Conquest have grown to 195 clubs with close to 5700 participants led by over 300 volunteers. 70% of these clubs are parish-based and directed by pastors or parishioners.

Other examples of how we are striving to reach out more are:

·        Understanding the key importance that the family has for the future of the Church, a group of Regnum Christi members are re-launching initiatives for families especially with the Cana Family Institute. The institute will offer various programs for couples on marriage and parenting and, for priests, training on marriage counseling.  In addition to the programs, various retreats and conventions will be offered.    

·         In addition to Guadalupe Radio 88.7, Hombre Nuevo continues its outreach, now beginning its first steps in digital TV, channel 54.3 in Los Angeles.

·         Our consecrated men and women and Legionaries are leading humanitarian missions in which literally hundreds of young people are working with those in need.  In fact, for the first time, we have had missions operating simultaneously on three continents:  South America, Africa and Asia.

·         We are offering over 40 summer camps for boys and girls throughout Canada and the United States.

·         The ECYD Mission Corps will have over 150 boys and girls serving this summer.

·         The Regnum Christi Mission Corps will also have over 40 young men and women preparing themselves for a year of volunteer service to the Church.

We are well on the way to a real and fruitful renewal. As we continue to learn from our mistakes, let us build on the good things that many generous and noble members quietly make happen each day. These are signs of God’s presence among us.  Let us continue to let Christ work in our lives, in the Legion and Regnum Christi and in those the Lord places in our path.

While we must correct our errors and always seek to improve, authentic institutional reform is only accomplished through the personal renewal of each member. We see that all of us are very committed to strive with God’s grace, to be closer followers of Christ. And this brings a lot of hope.                

We are very grateful for your daily dedication and witness. We keep you and your summer activities in my prayers and ask for your prayers.

          

Yours in Christ,

 

Fr Luis Garza, LC

Mónica Treviño

Matthew Reinhardt

Territorial Director of the Legionaries of Christ

Territorial Director of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi

Territorial Director of the Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi

 

 

 

 

 


PUBLICATION DATE: 2012-07-05


 
 


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