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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Fulfilling our apostolic mission
A Letter from Fr. Sylvester Heereman, L.C. to the First and Second Degree Members of the Regnum Christi Movement

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Thy Kingdom Come!

November 25, 2013

To the First and Second Degree Members of the Regnum Christi Movement

Dear friends in Christ:

We are approaching days of special grace for the Regnum Christi movement, as we celebrate the general assemblies of the consecrated members, and are just a few weeks away from the general chapter of the Legionaries of Christ. All of you, as members of the first and second degrees, participate in these events not only through your representatives, but also through your prayers and the communion that unites us in the Lord and in one spirit.

In this letter I want to bring you up to speed about some steps which we have taken over the past few months in Regnum Christi’s path of renewal.

In October 2012, the papal delegate approved and published the draft of the Principles of the Regnum Christi Charism, as a fruit of the various previous stages of consultation and reflection.  As was explained at the time, this is a provisional expression of what all the members of Regnum Christi share.

In addition, as you may recall, this past April the members of the first and second degree were invited to participate more directly in the process of renewal within Regnum Christi. They were asked to write, through a group of representatives, a text that reflected in a few pages their identity, their own way of understanding and living Regnum Christi’s charism, the different ways of being a member of Regnum Christi, their acceptance of the commitments they took on when they joined, and the relationships of cooperation with the other branches of Regnum Christi.

In June there was a follow-up meeting of representatives of the first and second degree from the different territories, with the goal of continuing to advance in the reflection process. That meeting was held in Rome. Before concluding the meeting, the participants established a four-member commission, which would represent the first and second degrees in a dialogue with the papal delegate and with the central governments of the Legion of Christ and the branches of consecrated life within Regnum Christi. In September, members of the second degree, third level from different countries met in Mexico. As a result of this meeting a member of the third level was added to the commission of representatives of the first and second degree.   

After this, with the assemblies and the general chapter close at hand, the commission of first and second degree members determined that more time and a wider participation from the members were necessary in order to continue reflecting about their specific vocation within the Regnum Christi family. For these reasons the commission asked the papal delegate to extend the period of reflection about the vocation to the first and second degree. The papal delegate accepted this request. Therefore the first and second degree members will continue to follow the Statutes of Regnum Christi that the Holy See approved on November 25, 2004, while they continue this process.

In addition to this, the central governments of the Legion and of the consecrated members, along with the commission of first and second degree members, met in July and September of this past year to try to clarify the relationship between the different branches of Regnum Christi and work out an initial draft of the General Statutes of Regnum Christi.[1] After careful study, and under the direction of the papal delegate, it has been decided that it is not the right moment to propose a text for approval, due to various questions that can only be answered after greater reflection.  

In light of this situation, the participants in those meetings proposed a draft for a charter which, in the present circumstances, would define the relationship and the forms of cooperation between the different members of Regnum Christi in the upcoming years. It is important to point out that this charter is only a temporary and provisional step on the path we are following under the authority and guidance of the papal delegate.

The draft charter proposes to adopt a shared governance of apostolate and of administration, respecting, at the same time, the legitimate autonomy in the internal life of the branches of consecrated life and of the Legion. The new element that we propose consists primarily in the participation of all of the vocations of Regnum Christi in the central, territorial, and local government of the shared apostolate and of the sections, according to the forms that the charter specifies. In this manner, we believe that over the next six years we can garner valuable experience that will help us to find a definitive solution for the structure and organization of all of Regnum Christi. This period will facilitate the necessary evaluation of models and results before establishing definitive canonical structures.

We propose that, during the first years of this period, we primarily dedicate ourselves to reflection on the spirituality, and to living and acting apostolically according to the outline proposed in the charter. Later we will resume the process of reflection that will bring us to touch up, fine-tune, rephrase, or replace whatever might be necessary in order to finally elaborate the General Statutes of Regnum Christi. This proposal reflects our conviction that the focus must not be placed primarily on reorganizing structures, but on making the gifts received from God bear fruit, and on fulfilling our apostolic mission.

The text of the draft charter will be reviewed by each of the assemblies of consecrated members, and by the general chapter of the Legion. The papal delegate will then decide what steps are necessary to conclude and ratify the charter.

For your part all of you, the members of the first and second degree, will continue, supported by Legionaries, consecrated men, and consecrated women,  the process of reflection, dialogue, discernment, and feedback about the statutes that currently guide your lives as non-consecrated Regnum Christi members. This process is aimed at preparing a new statute that will guide the lives of the lay members of Regnum Christi who are not consecrated, and that will be presented to the Holy See for approval. As part of the process, it will be proposed to the new governments which will soon be elected that a period of illumination be initiated in the next few months which will help to know and go deeper in the teachings of the Church about the vocation of lay people, and about the role of ecclesial movements within the Church.

We expect that after the election of the new general governments of the Legion of Christ and the consecrated members, a commission composed of representatives of the different members of Regnum Christi will be set up in 2014. This commission will be in charge of enacting the steps mentioned above, until it is able to draft a proposal of the General Statutes of Regnum Christi.

We believe that these steps are in continuity with Regnum Christi as it has developed until now, but they also incorporate the papal delegate’s directives and recommendations and the results of the principle steps of the path we’ve followed over the last few years.

The part of the journey already completed has been an opportunity to renew and go deeper in our love for Regnum Christi and the responsibility to bring it to its fullness, guided by the Church. We have once again confirmed our conviction about the unity of the charism, the spirituality, and the mission of the different members of Regnum Christi. We have discovered the presence of Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the difficulties. We have seen a renewed love for Regnum Christi and its various vocations spring up in many hearts. We have grown in knowledge of - and esteem for - each other, and in our commitment to walk together in the mission of announcing and witnessing to the victory of God’s love. And from this experience, and from the conviction that God is faithful, we are filled with confidence that the upcoming years will be fruitful for our movement and its mission in the world.

I thank you all for your help, and I ask you to continue praying often for this journey of Regnum Christi. I remain yours in Jesus Christ and the movement,

Sylvester Heereman, L.C.

[1] The General Statues of Regnum Christi will delineate in general terms what each of the different vocations in Regnum Christi have in common, the role of each branch within the whole, and the cooperation among the different branches. At the same time, each of the consecrated branches will have a rule of life for its members.



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