|Fr. Martin Connor LC with a resident of one of the neighborhoods visited during the Atlanta missions|
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.
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
More than 100 missionaries gathered on
Palm Sunday at St. Brendan’s parish in Cumming, Georgia, for
the “Kick-Off" Mass for the RC Atlanta mission activities. Click
here to see the highlight video and here
to see a photo gallery.
|One of the children shows off her creation during Atlanta missions|
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
|The Pilgrimage of New York|
“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
To learn more about the pilgrimage go
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 http://www.loveyourmission.org.
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
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.
|Detroit missionaries prepare food for the homeless with Sister Judie Ann|
“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.
group also prayed outside an abortion clinic on Holy Saturday,
and helped to feed patrons at the Grace Center of
Hope in Pontiac, Michigan.
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
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
|The Cross Walk in Cincinnati|
Following are some quotes from young missionaries who participated.
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.”
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
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
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
“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.
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.
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.”
|Missionaries in Chicago spread Christ's message of love|
more about the participants’ experiences, click here.
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
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 crowd watching the live stations in downtown Philadelphia nearly doubled by the time it reached Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral.|