The Regnum Christi Spirituality Center just released a new book by Fr. John Bartunek, LC, on formation in Regnum Christi. Our Formation Pathway outlines Regnum Christi’s concept of integral formation.
Integral Formation refers to both the integrated way Regnum Christi offers formation and how Regnum Christi members should form themselves integrally. The book is part of a series produced by RC Spirituality called RC Essays. We spoke to Fr. John about the book and about Regnum Christi formation, and we got feedback from a few Regnum Christi members.
A “Formation Pathway”
Integral formation is about forming the whole person in their various dimensions: it avoids tendencies to reduce formation just to one style or area of content. To reach the whole person, integral formation is divided into four areas: apostolic, intellectual, spiritual and human. The latter half of Fr. John’s book focuses on these parts and how they interact.
The first part of Our Formation Pathway has two sections. First, it shows the relationship between how Regnum Christi sees integral formation and how the Church suggests formation should happen. Second, it covers the stages of formation in Regnum Christi.
When asked about formation as a pathway, Fr. John referred back to our recent renewal and how we saw formation as one of the five elements of life in Regnum Christi: spiritual life, personal accompaniment, formation, team life, and apostolate. He continued, “In Regnum Christi, we have always talked about formation, but we haven’t always talked about a ‘formation pathway’ – that’s a new phrase, and I believe it is a fruit of our renewal. What I mean by that is that Regnum Christ’s vision of formation has matured as a result of our reform and renewal. We understand better that formation isn’t just something we receive from others… it is an ongoing journey of discovery and transformation that each one of us experiences in a personal way.”
Fr. John doesn’t see this essay as a new program of formation for Regnum Christi but “an expression of our renewed vision for integral formation.” He hopes this new vision leads to personalized programs for formation.
Fr. John noted that although he is the listed author, he got a lot of help from participating in many of the renewal activities and from contributions of members in every branch of Regnum Christi.
New and Old
Fr. John found a balance between what we had in the past and the fruit of our renewal in this essay. He pointed out two points from the past and four from the renewal.
Regarding our past, he noted that Regnum Christi has always seen formation as transformation centered in Christ: “[Regnum Christi has always held that] the idea of formation as transformation in Christ, as centered on our relationship with Christ, animated by his grace, and propelled by his love for us and our love for him.” Then he noted that we have always followed the four areas of integral formation.
Regarding the renewal, he first noted how we are more aware of certain issues than before, such as apostolic burnout or emotional integration in human formation. Second, he noted that we have tried to find a balance between systematic formation for all and personalized formation. He notes that now we can outline four stages of formation all Regnum Christi members should receive. Third, Fr. John notes, “Our renewal has helped us clarify the basic characteristics of a mature Regnum Christi apostle. The Formation Pathway presents these as the ‘family traits’ of our spiritual family.” Finally, he notes that he thinks our understanding of the agents and means of formation has improved significantly in recent years.
RC Member Reactions
Jim Demboski, a member in Northeast Ohio suggested that every Regnum Christi section would benefit from doing a formation day centered on this essay: “The Essay is very good. We would like all members to get a copy of the Essay and are hoping to have a day of formation on this topic.”
An anonymous member gave a full, in-depth review: “I found it [the essay] extremely helpful in defining all the aspects of Integral Formation with a clarity that I had not heard before. Having been a member of Regnum Christi for over 20 years, I have to admit I wondered if I would learn anything new in this essay. However, Fr. John brought out points in each of the areas of formation that I had never thought of.” This member then pointed out the two lessons they got from the essay. First, they learned that apostolate should be a response to an experience of Christ, not simply what pops up. Second, they noted how Fr John “tied our intellectual formation to the treasures of our faith, and the development of a solid intellectual formation as something foundational for a Regnum Christi Member.” This member concluded, “I really believe that it [Our Formation Pathway] brings clarity and understanding to our mission in Regnum Christi.”