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Legion’s Territorial Assembly Reviews Revised Constitutions
Important step in renewal of congregation

Mass at Legion Assembly

The draft constitutions of the Legion of Christ received a thorough vetting last week by the North American Territorial Assembly.

The Assembly, composed of 24 Legionaries (21 elected Fathers and 3 Brothers appointed as observers) from among those in the territory, met July 15 - 19 in Thornwood.  It was an important preparatory step for the general chapter that will be held at the beginning of 2014.

When Cardinal De Paolis received the charge to help the Legion revise its constitutions, he decided to involve the entire congregation in this process.  So, over the past three years all the Legionary communities have been meeting in an atmosphere of prayer and discernment to review the constitutional texts, express what they should say, what should be removed, what should change and what should be improved.

All the communities reported their findings to a territorial commission. The commission then looked at all the proposals, and made connections between the communities and highlighted the common themes. The results were sent to a general commission in Rome, over which the Cardinal presided. They took all the suggestions from around the world and came up with a draft document that will be presented at the general chapter.

However, the Cardinal felt it was important that going into the chapter, the delegates have feedback from all the Legionaries on this draft text.  So, the members of each territory voted for delegates to represent them at the territorial assembly – the group that met last week.  The assembly gathered all that feedback and, after spending a lot of time reflecting on the text and discussing it, sent their observations back to the general commission.  Each territory is going through a similar process.

The assembly participants issued a letter July 19, 2013, to all Legionaries in the North American Territory:

To all Legionaries of Christ
Territory of North America

Dear fathers and brothers in Christ,
This evening the territorial assembly ended. These last few days have been for us a cenacle-like experience: gathered together in prayer, we have discussed and discerned the draft proposal of the Constitutions.
We have pondered the responsibility placed in our hands upon being elected by you to represent each member of the territory in this historic task. It is a responsibility we have not taken lightly. We have tried our best to discover what Christ is asking of us and future generations.
Firstly, we would like to thank the general commission for their hard work to produce the draft. Many long hours and discussions have surely gone into preparing this document. We hope the feedback they have elicited from each of the territories helps the commission to prepare the final document that will be studied and approved by the general chapter next year as well as by the Holy Father.
There were many and varied topics to cover during these days. Along with our own reflections, we studied the proposals that were sent in. We took them to prayer and this produced discussions to
Legionaries at Assembly
discern what the Lord is asking of the Legion. Very importantly, we have experienced Christ’s promise that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” as his Spirit has brought about a unity and general consensus in all the discussions. This was especially noted when we discussed the themes essential to our identity and mission.
Time will tell if this moment of intense renewal that we are going through and the important milestone we have reached at this assembly will be made fruitful by God’s grace and our response to it. We recognize that, above all, even if on paper we have a “perfect” constitution, what matters is the way we live it out by a holy life and in our apostolate – what is important is that we be saints and apostles in the way God has called us to be.
As we leave this assembly, we want to thank you for accompanying us with your prayers and sacrifices during these days as well as to express our excitement as we renew our commitment to live out our vocation as Legionaries of Christ. As Blessed John Paul II challenged us, “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.” Let us move on to build the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement that will help to extend the Kingdom of Christ. 

We place the fruits of the assembly in the Blessed Virgin’s hands and ask her to continue to guide us as we prepare to celebrate the upcoming general chapter.

Yours in Christ, 

Fr Luis Garza, LC, Fr Lino Otero, Fr Andre LaSana, Fr Martin Connor, Fr Antonio Bailleres, Fr Owen Kearns, Fr Christopher Brackett, Fr Patrick Langan, Fr David Daly, Fr Peter Devereux, Fr Edward Hopkins, Fr Robert Presutti, Fr Guillermo Serra, Fr Scott Reilly, Fr John Connor, Fr Shawn Aaron, Fr. John Hopkins, Fr Steven Reilly, Fr José Félix Ortega, Fr Thomas Moylan, Fr Kevin Meehan, 
Br Adam Zettel, Br Kramer Cameron, Br James Cleary 

Fr David Daly -- I think the new constitutional text truly addresses what the Church has asked the Legion in this period of renewal.  The new text is more aligned with the current praxis of the Church for this type of document and some structural changes will assure greater participation and representation from all the members of the congregation.  This text include input, prayer and discussion from all current Legionary priests and religious and, thus, it is truly representative of the working of the Holy Spirit in the congregation. The new text will provide more space for spiritual and apostolic creativity.  It will renew the confidence of the members and the Church as a whole in the Legion of Christ.  It will be a new beginning, while safeguarding the benefits of our spiritual patrimony.

Fr Lino Otero -- I love the new draft for the constitutions.  I see that it is purged of its bend towards activism.  The Founder had appealed to the idealism of our youth so as to demand heroic sacrifices from us.  However, there was a lack of balance in the way he went about it.  To a great degree, the measure of our success had to do with externals.  Now it is different.  Our new draft puts everything in the perspective of grace without sacrificing the true meaning of our quest for the Kingdom of Christ.  I must confess that I have fought with the temptation of activism for years.  At times I could be described as a workaholic.  Our new constitutions bring about a new sense of balance.  This is why I love it.  It helps me remember what is most important in our lives: relationships. 

Fr Martin Connor -- We have definitely been able to synthesize the most important constitutional elements of the document, taking out unnecessary applications of the principles that guide our life, making this code of life more simple and to the point like most constitutions of religious orders.  Remember that one of the reasons we are doing this is that we had a lot of spirituality in the work that does not normally appear in a constitution of a community.  The Pope asked us to review and decide on the constitutional elements to help keep what is essential and more of the spirituality should go into another spiritual directory of the community.  There are still strong spiritual components to the work but much less than before.  The mere fact that we are taking so much time to reflect about something so important to us like our rule of consecrated life -- this alone is bringing a deep impact.  We all have treasured this time together in community these last years and are committed to continuing this beautiful exchange with each other.

Fr Christopher Brackett -- This draft of the Constitutions offers a succinct rule for our lives as Legionaries. It captures much of the beauty of our existing Constitutions but centers more on the principles and the basics that should be guiding all we are and do. There is still work to be done, particularly by the General Chapter that will work out the final text and send it to the Holy Father for approval. But I believe a great work is in progress. What will be most exciting and important for me will be how God works through the Constitutions to help me and future Legionaries put on Christ as a holy religious, priest and apostle called to bring the transforming love of Christ to the heart of our society and culture, one heart at a time. I thank my Legionary brothers that were at my side during this entire process, especially for their humbling spirit of faith, love, generosity and hope, as the Lord continues to do his work in and through us.

Br Kramer Cameron -- Being part of the assembly was a grace and a blessing.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I tried to come into it open to whatever the Holy Spirit wanted. The Holy Spirit was so present – so much so that there were moments when he really moved me. The main progress that I see will be simplicity and clarity and this, I believe is crucial. The assembly itself has already had a great impact on me. I really felt the Holy Spirit was working to clarify concepts and I believe he was able to do that – especially within my own heart and mind. I believe he really wants the Legion and the Movement, and this Assembly has solidified my belief that this charism is a gift from God. He is the author and trusts that we will cooperate for the good of the whole Church. Jesus needs and wants hands, feet, minds and hearts to live in and work through in our modern day, and I believe the Legion and Regnum Christi is one of the ways in which he wants to do this.



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