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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Going Out
Regnum Christi members take the message of Christ’s redemption and reconciliation into cities throughout North America during Lent and Holy Week

Fr. Martin Connor on Mission
Fr. Martin Connor LC with a resident of one of the neighborhoods visited during the Atlanta missions

“You’ve got to go out.”

These words from a Legion of Christ brother (see Facebook video) in New York City describe well the goal of the Regnum Christi missionary activities that take place every year during Lent and Holy Week.  In 2013, Regnum Christi members mobilized to bring Jesus’ message of redemption and reconciliation to cities such as: Atlanta, Georgia; New York, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and other cities throughout North America.

Atlanta, Georgia

As the solemn Easter Triduum began, more than 300 missionaries from across the Atlanta area gathered at 10 different sites to spread the love of Christ.  Individuals and families of all ages participated.  As our new Pope Francis said, “Christians need to share the Gospel message with joy and courage because it will truly answer people´s deepest needs.”  With this missionary spirit, they set out to celebrate the sacred liturgies, while sharing the faith with others. 

Following is a summary of the various activities during Holy Week: 

More than 100 missionaries gathered on Palm Sunday at St. Brendan’s parish in Cumming, Georgia, for
Little Girl
One of the children shows off her creation during Atlanta missions
the “Kick-Off" Mass for the RC Atlanta mission activities. Click here to see the highlight video and here to see a photo gallery.

At the Domus Marie, home of the RC consecrated women in Atlanta, 17 girls (high school and college-age) attended a Holy Week Silent Retreat celebrating the major liturgies during the holy days.  In the Pinecrest Academy high school chapel, they had all-night Eucharistic adoration, in solidarity with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  They made a cross and crown of thorns that they carried through the Stations of the Cross trail. 

The consecrated women also organized Holy Week Mercy Mission events for girls in grades 8 and 9 and for girls in grades 10 through 12. 

Two silent retreats for boys in grades 10 through 12 took place during the solemn Triduum in northern Georgia. The 10th graders spent time together building a tabernacle for the Holy Eucharist, and during the weekend, eight young men incorporated into the RC movement.  The 11th and 12th graders built a cross that they each took turns carrying during the Stations of the Cross. 

Another retreat was organized for girls in grades 5 through 7 at Strong Rock Camp in Cleveland, Georgia.  There were team activities, sports, daily Mass, confession, spiritual guidance, Eucharistic adoration and more. 

Family missions in Hoschton, Georgia, were held for the second year at the Carmel Retreat Center.  The families spent the days visiting trailer parks and nursing homes in the area.

The Lammers Family Mission took place in Cleveland, Georgia.  Ten families and some RC Mission Corps missionaries spent the three days celebrating the Easter liturgies, visiting nursing homes, and residents of local trailer parks.  Several individuals at the nursing homes commented on how excited they were to see little children.  Another highlight was on Holy Thursday, when all attending took part in the Eucharistic procession outside under the stars.  The children dressed up on Good Friday and led a “live” Stations of the Cross that took place outside on the scenic grounds where they stayed during the weekend.

St. Brendan’s parish was the location for the Palm Sunday Mission Mass.  Participants visited nursing homes, local trailer parks, and neighborhoods, inviting people to Mass.  Each day they had catechetical children’s activities at the trailer parks, fellowship for the missionaries, and closed each day celebrating the liturgies of the Easter Triduum.  On Saturday, the missionaries organized an Easter Egg Hunt for the children. 

St. Brendan’s was also the location for a co-ed event for high school and middle school-aged young people.  The youth spent Friday at the parish celebrating the Good Friday liturgy and then joined together for dinner.  The evening culminated with a viewing of The Passion of the Christ movie for high schoolers, and the middle-school-aged children watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  On Saturday, both groups joined together for a family mission, collecting food for the St. Brendan’s food pantry, along with prayer intentions.

On Good Friday morning, 40 missionaries gathered for an inaugural mission in a small room at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  Church families, children, RC members, Legionaries, and students from different colleges joined together to spread the good news and share the love of Christ. By the end of the second mission day, after visiting several nursing homes, trailer parks, and local businesses, the group was united and many became friends.  During the mission, participants carried three wooden crosses, attaching to these the prayer intentions of the people they met on the journey.  The crosses and intentions were placed behind the altar during the Good Friday liturgy so the whole congregation could join in prayer.

At Holy Spirit Solidarity School near Atlanta, Father Javier Fayos celebrated Holy Thursday liturgy and heard confessions.  Missionaries did some outdoor work in the area Thursday, and then came together for Stations of the Cross on Friday.

Click here to see a gallery of photos of the Atlanta Holy Week Missions. 

New York, New York 

On March 23, 2013, eight legionaries and several Regnum Christi members participated in their fourth annual Pilgrimage of New York City.  Starting at the top of the island on St Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine, pilgrims walked a total of 13.5 miles in 10 hours all the way to the bottom of the island, passing through four churches and finishing with Mass on the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine.  

Mario Bruschi, the Regnum Christi member in Manhattan who organized the pilgrimage, said the event was
The Pilgrimage of New York
The Pilgrimage of New York
inspired by a former pilgrim who walked the legendary Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to the burial place of the apostle St. James. 

“In 2009, we decided to give (the idea) a chance,” said Mario. “In conjunction with other Catholic young adult groups, we organized a walking pilgrimage to visit the five major Catholic sites in Manhattan.” The sites included the St Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine, St Patrick’s Cathedral, St Peter’s Church (the oldest Catholic parish in the city), the Basilica of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral (the first Cathedral in New York City), and the St Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine.

Mario said, “People experience a lot of joy when they reach the end of the journey.  They cannot believe that they walked 13.5 miles! And they enjoy visiting the churches because they learn something new about their faith in New York City, and they also learn about their relationship with Jesus…At the end of the day, people feel that they have done a wonderful thing for God, and that is a great feeling.”

“We cannot convert everyone we see on the streets in New York, but we can plant seeds of faith by our presence and example.” 

To learn more about the pilgrimage go to

More activities took place during Holy Week in New York, including the re-enactment of Christ’s Way of the Cross in the Manhattan streets.  Click the link below to watch the YouTube video.

Young RC missionaries symbolically carried a wooden cross through Times Square.  Click the link below.

Missionaries on the street working near St. Patick’s old cathedral shared their emotional experiences of evangelization on their website blog.  To read the details, click the blog link at the New York RC website

Detroit, Michigan

Serving the homeless in the city of Detroit was the goal of much of the missionary work there.

“It was moving to see them coming
Missionaries with Sister Judie
Detroit missionaries prepare food for the homeless with Sister Judie Ann
out of abandoned homes with no heat to get their lunch from Sister Judie Ann Ruggirello (Sisters of Christian Love), a very dedicated nun who feeds them every day, and to think about how much they rely on her kindness,” said RC consecrated woman Renee Pomarico.

“It was great experience to prepare the meal ourselves, to go out and give it to the homeless, and come to the realization of how much they need us,” said missionary  Bethany Hernstein from California. “It made me see how much more I can serve.”

“It was amazing to see the joy of the people we gave the food to,” said Anna Richart from Indiana.  “Many would respond ‘God Bless’ or ‘We’re praying for you.’ It was beautiful and inspiring.” 

On Good Friday, the group prayed the Stations of the Cross outside, and then reflected on how Christ is the “light of the world” while sitting around a bonfire.

“This whole experience of Holy Week has really helped me to encounter Christ in a very personal way and grow in my friendship with Him,” said Jennifer Hettrick from Canada.

The group also prayed outside an abortion clinic on Holy Saturday, and helped to feed patrons at the Grace Center of Hope in Pontiac, Michigan.

Cincinnati, Ohio

For the first time in Cincinnati history, Regnum Christi held a full-fledged Holy Week Mission in the city.  Events included service projects, liturgies at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, workshops, and evangelization efforts on the street.  One highlight was the Good Friday “Cross Walk” from the Cathedral to Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams.  Three groups of
Cross Walk in Cincinnati
The Cross Walk in Cincinnati
young missionaries together with families carried the wooden crosses through downtown Cincinnati to Mt. Adams, where Catholics from all over the metro-area gather to pray the “Holy Steps” on Good Friday.

Following are some quotes from young missionaries who participated.

“I was deeply moved by… the young men during the cross walk,” said RC member Jane Nagel. “The cross that we had nailed everyone’s written prayer intentions to.  It was a very heavy log cross, and this had to be excruciating.  I am certain the thousands of people that saw them were moved as well.” 

“The missions really help to sharpen one´s supernatural vision, that is, our eyes of faith,” she said. “It is important to view everything that happens on missions as providential.  During the door to door missions, a man asked us to pray for his friend who had died just the day before.  So we prayed for this soul who had passed away. 

“During the Good Friday liturgy I felt compelled to pray for all those who have heavy crosses and accompany them with my prayers, to ask God to ease their suffering, to grant them graces to bear their suffering, and to draw all men to Himself.”

Jane said she was impressed that after the Holy Thursday Mass at the Cathedral that Archbishop Schnurr came out meet the missionaries personally, “to welcome us, shake our hands, and thank us for our work.”

Abby Kube, 15, from Indianapolis, Indiana, said, “I went to the Holy Week retreat in Rhode Island last year and it was an awesome experience, and I wanted to do more with my Holy Week this year. My favorite part was Holy Thursday Mass during the washing of the feet because everyone went up, and we all seemed like a big family.”

Cara Molulon, 17, from Cincinnati, said, “It breaks my heart to see that people don´t know where to look for help, and that they thirst for Christ but don´t know where to start.  Giving this Holy Week gave me a chance to help these people...maybe one day they will go out and help others too.”

9th grader Jack Brink said, “Before the time of the mission, I was simply going through the motions, especially during Mass.  Mass did not really stand out to me like it (does) now.  I now look at the consecration in Mass differently.  We are really lifting up His body during the consecration.  I feel more in tuned with the Mass now, and the other holy services like the Stations of the Cross.”

“Before I came to missions, everything I did was for me,” said 10th grader Isaac Chmiel. “All the service projects I did were because I wanted to have a good time with my friends or because it was a good thing to do and it was recommended.  As I was talking to people (at the Mercy Mission), I learned that our mission doesn’t mean much to us, but it means a lot for others.  We aren’t called to do things just because it is the right thing to do, but because it has an impact on the people we are reaching out to.”

The mission activities in Cincinnati made some local news. The Fox news outlet coverage included several shots of RC mission T-shirts, as well as the group finishing their “Cross Walk.” Sacred Heart Radio’s online news briefs, The Catholic Beat, also included a story.  To read it, click here.

Chicago, Illinois

Activities took place in several areas of Chicago, Illinois. Missionaries “walked alongside Christ” during a living stations presentation through the “Little Mexico” area.  From St. Bart’s parish, teenage missionaries visited residents door-to-door to invite them to Holy Week masses and sacraments.  They also served the homeless at a local soup kitchen, participated in the church celebration service of Our Lord’s Passion, and watched the movie The Passion of the Christ.

Sisters Megan (16) and Rebecca Luttinen (15) were among the group that traveled from Detroit to participate in the Chicago activities. “I had an incredible time on missions,” said Megan. “I met a little girl and her mother, and because of their thoughtfulness and kindness towards me, they really affected my Holy Week by showing me the real meaning of love.”

“This was my first mission trip away from home,” said Rebecca. “I had such a heartwarming experience at the parish where we stayed -- St.
Chicago Missionaries
Missionaries in Chicago spread Christ's message of love
Pius X (Stickney, Illinois). I could tell that our missionary work touched the lives of many, and God gave me the chance to see the value of each soul.”

To read more about the participants’ experiences, click here.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Regnum Christi members in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area held a cross walk through the city’s downtown. Young women missionaries asked passersby for prayer intentions, while the young men carried the cross and affixed the intentions to it. They also invited people to confession at St. Patrick’s Church, handing out schedules for local services and Easter Mass. 

A Live Stations of the Cross event -- a collaborative effort between Regnum Christi and The King’s Men organization -- was held on Good Friday, with some 100 people gathering outside St. Patrick’s in Rittenhouse Square.  The procession passed along 18th Street
Live Stations in Philadelphia
The crowd watching the live stations in downtown Philadelphia nearly doubled by the time it reached Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral.
to Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.  As the stations progressed, the crowd grew and nearly doubled in size by the last station in front of the Cathedral.



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