Brasilia, December 15, 2008. On December 14, Cardinal Franc
Rodé gave a talk to the participants in the 4th
Youth and Family Encounter in Brazil. The Encounter was
held in the city of Brasilia. The following text
is an English translation of the cardinal’s talk, which was
originally given in Portuguese.
Dear Legionaries, and members
and friends of the Regnum Christi Movement:
is with great joy that I participate in these Youth
and Family events, because I know how they communicate
the family spirit of the Movement, and how they
encourage your apostolic commitment. These are very special moments of
grace. Use them to grow in your personal commitment
to Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, and to
delve more deeply into your charism of service to the
I come from Rome to tell you
that I appreciate you very much and that I hold
you in high esteem. In this new springtime of
the Church, God has made the Legion of Christ
and Regnum Christi flourish as the work of his own
hands, and this fills us with hope and gratitude.
Like any work of God, you have to grow
and flourish, because the Church needs your living strength to
take on the great challenge of the New Evangelization.
You have to be very thankful to Jesus for
the gift he gave you when he called you to
follow him more closely, even more intimately in the
Regnum Christi Movement. Persevere in your self-giving. Know that
you can always count on the Pope’s esteem and support,
as well as on mine.
I am so glad
to see Father Álvaro Corcuera here, who carries on
his shoulders the responsibility of guiding this evangelizing movement.
I know that he wants all of Regnum Christi’s missionary
efforts to be oriented to the service of the
Church and the good of society. Help him with
your generous collaboration.
We are celebrating the feast of Our Lady
of Guadalupe, a very special devotion for you, who
were born at her feet and in her arms. Let
us place the fruits of this Encounter in her
hands. I want to ask you especially for one
fruit: a personal commitment to evangelization.
The Church, today
more than ever, needs evangelizers: men and women who are
ready to dedicate their lives, wherever they are or
wherever Providence leads them, to preach the name of
Christ, to expand his Kingdom. The Church needs people
to our brothers and sister that Christ is the Savior,
and that the Church is their home, their family.
Now more than ever, Regnum Christi has to be
a Movement that stands out for its evangelizing strength, for
its drive to bring the revealed truth to all
mankind, to draw them to God’s grace, to sow
peace in the hearts, the peace of intimate union with
a Father who has loved us to the point
of giving his Son in reparation for our sins.
Ever since I
met Regnum Christi, I have seen this evangelizing lifestyle in
its members. It is part of its charism, and
it is something that the Church needs to stay
alive and to fulfill the mission Christ entrusted to her.[i] It is a personal commitment to
Christ and to the Church to share the Good
News of the Gospel with the world.
of my normal work days at the Vatican, I received
a visit from a Regnum Christi member I had
met during a trip to Mexico. He wanted to ask
for my blessing because he was going to found
a hospital in Chad, Africa, dedicated especially to AIDS
patients. The priest who accompanied him told him that Chad
was in a state of war, and he responded:
“That’s why I have to go now.” This is
the spirit of Regnum Christi members: to act because it
is needed, because the mission is not a whim
or a personal initiative to fill one’s time, but a
way to meet a vital need of our brothers
and sisters, and something that pleases God. The world
needs this evangelization in this time when a profound secularization
and a strong hedonistic materialism hold sway in society.
We have to evangelize our brothers and sisters, we
have to evangelize families,[ii] we have
to evangelize businesses, we have to evangelize the culture.[iii] We are not trying to
impose an ideology or a doctrine. We are presenting Christ
as the ideal of the human person, and as
the Savior to humanize and save our brothers and
sisters and our societies.
We are celebrating the Year of
Saint Paul—the Apostle, not the city. [I am certain
that we have many Paulistas here: you have a great
patron.] Saint Paul was a man who lived only
for the good of souls, without thinking of himself.
He was a man with a fighting spirit, a man
who experienced tiredness, persecution, loss, lashes, several shipwrecks, failure,
and betrayal. And yet, he was a man whose
every word and action were aimed at one goal: to
evangelize: “Woe is me if I do not preach
Evangelizing is an act
of service done out of love, like parents when they
teach their children to pray. They are giving their
children the best they have. They are giving them
the foundations of their faith. This is the reason that
should impel the growth of Regnum Christi: to grow
more so as to evangelize more; to grow in
holiness so as to be better witnesses of Christ in
the world. To grow in holiness, to grow in
love, to grow in hope so as to bring others
to faith, love, and hope.
What would Saint
Paul tell us today if he came to see us?
What would he ask of us? What would he
pass on to us? Certainly, he would remind us of
the words he once wrote to the community in
Corinth: “Do you not know that in a race all
the runners run, but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the
With the example of the
races (this is a country of great Formula One racers
and soccer players), he invites us to fight for
a prize that will never decay[vi]:
holiness. This is the foundation. Holiness of life is
the foundation of testimony and apostolate.
This is the first
step: the holiness that is reached by being faithful to
grace; the holiness to which we are all called;
the holiness that is nourished by the sacraments; the
holiness that is to submit ourselves to God’s plan, following
his will for our lives. May holiness be the
first goal in our lives.
Saint Paul, with his powerful
language, would probably add: “Take the helmet of salvation and
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word
of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this
in mind, be alert and always keep on praying
for all the saints.”[vii]
is language that speaks of combat for the sake of
the Gospel of peace; it speaks of militancy, of
battle, which is something very proper to the spirituality
of the Movement. As Pope Paul VI once said to
the members of the Movement: “You are a Movement
that is not just watching how things happen, but you
are fighting to leave the mark of Christ in
the world.” You are committed to the cause of
Saint Paul insists very much on prayer. He
said: “Pray always.” Prayer is conversation with God; it
is the nourishment of the apostle, of the evangelizer. Today,
in these times when we live in such adverse
environments, prayer becomes even more important. Prayer shows us
that our commitment to evangelization comes from Christ. To
evangelize is to give what we have received; it is
to preach the Christ I have met in prayer.
Saint Paul began his work of evangelization after three
years of solitude and prayer in the deserts of Arabia.
Contemplation and apostolate always go hand in hand.
helps you “to know the love of Christ, which surpasses
all knowledge, that you may be filled to measure
of all the fullness of God”[viii]
and makes it so that “Christ may dwell in your
hearts through faith, so that you may be rooted
and established in love.”[ix]
of this Encounter is very beautiful: “Love more to serve
more.” Love was the cornerstone of Saint Paul’s life. He
was a man who lived his mission moved by
love, as a service to others, his brothers and sisters,
whom he loved in Christ. He was convinced that
he was nothing without love.[x] Without
love, we are nothing: we are not evangelizers, we
are not authentic Christians.
I know that love is
the center of your apostolic charism, and that you do
not cease to grow in the love of God
which “was poured out into our hearts through the
Holy Spirit whom he has given us.”[xi]Nothing can separate us from this love.[xii] This love will guide you in your life and
will lead you to live it with your brothers
and sisters, each day, in each minute. Love is the
distinctive mark of a Christian; it is by your
love that today’s men and women will know you are
Saint Paul repeats
to us today what he told the disciples in Corinth:
“Do everything with love”[xiv] or
to the Galatians: “Serve one another in love.”[xv]Let us be, then, imitators of God;
let us live in love just as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us.[xvi]
May the love of Christ always be the measure
of your love.
Dear Regnum Christi members, I know how
you are supporting the formation of priests through the
Mater Ecclesiae seminary and the “Bom Pastor” (Good Shepherd)
priestly center. This is a great service that you are
doing for the Church.[xvii] I also
know that you are working to found youth clubs,
missions, schools, “Sonhar Acordado” (Angel for a Day), “Gente
Nova” (New People), initiatives aimed at young people’s social
commitment and at service and care for the most needy.
Never stop working with the youth;[xviii] they are the springtime of the Church, the
future of the nations, and the ones who will be
able to build a more human, more Christian world.
forget that to evangelize is to serve; it is
to give others the personal and communitarian experience of
Christ. And to give is to give yourself; it
is to give your life at the service of the
Gospel, in the vocation to which God calls you.
Be generous. The Church needs committed evangelizers. Do not
be afraid: may the example of Saint Paul and the
love that exists in your hearts lead you to
give the Lord an open and sincere “yes.”
General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate
celebrated in Aparecida last year insisted very much on the
formation that is necessary for the mission.[xix] Your commitment to the mission of the Church
demands an excellent, quality integral formation.[xx] The Church needs men and women who are
very well prepared to be able to engage today’s men
and women in dialogue, and to be able to
share Christ with them. The Church knows that “the
new movements and communities are a gift of the Holy
Spirit for the Church. They offer the faithful the
means to form themselves in their faith and to grow
and commit themselves apostolically so that they can be
true missionary disciples.”[xxi] To live out
this apostolic commitment, formation is absolutely necessary. Today more
than ever, to be able to fulfill its mission,
the Church needs members who are well formed, and who
know how to give a reason for their faith
and offer answers to today’s men and women.
this reason, I ask you to form yourselves in
depth, without sparing any efforts. Live out the continual
effort to form yourselves as a service to Christ
and the Church. Your painstaking formation is the best guarantee
that you will be effective missionaries at the service
of Christ and the Church.
Pay special attention to the
formation of formators, so that the Regnum Christi members
can count on solid people to guide them in the
living of their own vocation. It should be a
priority to have good formators of formators for the
growth and formation of leaders so that they can effectively
I turn my gaze once again to Our
Lady of Guadalupe. I entrust the fruits of this
Encounter to her, and I pray to her for the
holiness of all Regnum Christi members. She, through her
messenger Juan Diego, said: “Am I not here, who am
your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am
I not your health? Are you not hidden under
my mantle? What else do you need?”[xxii] By these words, she invited him to trust
in her. Today as well, she invites us to trust
in her, to put our apostolic commitment under her
protection, and to be inspired by her love to
live out our vocation as evangelizers.
Thank you very
At the end of the talk, Cardinal Rodé
I would like to add a
few words in Spanish because, as you have been
able to see, my Portuguese is extremely deficient. To
speak freely, it is easier for me to express myself
in the language of Cervantes and not of Luis
Halfway through the
month of November, I was in an audience with
the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and I told him
at the end of the audience that I was
planning to come on a trip to Chile and Brazil,
in Latin America. I told the Holy Father that
I was going above all to meet the members
of the big Regnum Christi Movement. The Pope told me,
“Yes, I know them, I esteem them, I appreciate
them. And tell them that my blessing goes with
them.” So this is a moment for me to tell
you that I also bring you the blessing of
Pope Benedict XVI.
also like to tell you that on this trip
in Chile and Brazil, I have been extremely impressed by
the apostolic dynamism and the desire to evangelize that
I have found in the members of the Regnum
Christi Movement. For me, this is a promise of great
value for the future of the Church. You, “Vocês,”
as you say in Portuguese, “Vocês” are a great
chance, a great possibility, a great opportunity that the Church
has to make this great Brazilian people into a
nation that is really, integrally Catholic, faithful to the
Gospel and living out of love for Christ. You have
to be the ones who bring the word of
hope, the word of love for Christ to all
those you meet on your way through life.
And this mission of yours is the
noblest, greatest, most beautiful of all: to bring the
word of Christ, to bring the word of the
Gospel to all those you meet on your path. For
this, as we have said, for this it is
very necessary to have a clear Catholic identity. Be happy
and grateful to God for having called you to
be sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. It
is an immense grace that the Lord has given you,
of calling you to the holy Catholic Church. And
let this identity fill you with deep joy, with
continual thanksgiving to the Lord for the grace he has
I think that if you reflect
on this interior joy and this feeling of gratitude,
then you will really be witnesses of the Lord
and his Church. Credible witnesses, witnesses who will be convinced
and capable of convincing others. Thank you very much.
Fr Álvaro Corcuera,
LC, thanked the cardinal in these words: [i] Cf. Mt 28:19-20.
Your Eminence, we would like to thank you very
much. We thank you because you bring us what we
most love, which is the love of Christ. As
you know, wherever there is a Brazilian, there is
joy. And there is joy because they really love God.
That is what we read in St Paul’s second
reading today: rejoice, always rejoice in the Lord. And where
there is an apostle, there is joy. A Brazilian,
a Movement member, is always an apostle because he
cannot contain all the love of Christ in his heart.
We want to thank you very much, Your Eminence,
for your closeness, for your goodness, for the encouragement
you give us. We are very aware of the responsibility
that we have.
love Christ very much, and we love our Church
very much. And today, some people have also joined Regnum
Christi, and we want to congratulate them, too. We
want to congratulate them, thank them, and tell them
that we are all part of a wonderful family, a
family that is united in Christ, and that the
love and protection of the Blessed Virgin sustains us.
Thank you for having come. Thank you for being what
you are. Thank you for making us believe more
and more. May God bless you.
[ii] Cf. 5th General Conference of the Latin American
and Caribbean Episcopate: Aparecida, 432-437. Cf. Aparecida, Inaugural speech of
Pope Benedict XVI, May 13, 2007, V.
[iii] Cf. Aparecida, 476-480.
[iv] Cf. 1 Cor 9:16.
[v] Cf. 1 Cor 9:24.
[vi] Cf. 1 Cor 9:25.
[vii] Cf. Eph 6:17-18.
[viii] Cf. Eph. 3:19.
[ix] Cf. Eph 3:17.
[x] Cf. 1 Cor 13:2.
[xi] Cf. Rom 5:5.
[xii] Cf. Rom 8:35.
[xiii] Cf. Jn 13:35.
[xiv] Cf. 1 Cor 16:14.
[xv] Cf. Gal 5:13.
[xvi] Cf. Eph 5:1-2.
[xvii] Cf. Aparecida, Inaugural speech of Pope Benedict XVI,
May 13, 2007, V.
Aparecida, 446. Cf. Aparecida, Inaugural speech of Pope Benedict
XVI, May 13, 2007, V.
Cf Aparecida, 276-285.
Aparecida, 279 and ff. Cf Aparecida, 299, 337,
441 a), 456, 481.
[xxii] Cf. Nican Mopohua,