Apostolate: The Mission of Regnum Christi Members
- 2 part video series from Fr. Thomas Vendetti LC on our mission of growth as an apostle in our spiritual lives and our vocation
- Video Conference by Fr John Bartunek LC on living the apostolic life of a complete Christian
- The Mission of Regnum Christi
- Interview with Donna Garrett on the mission of Regnum Christi Members
- Recommended Reading
Mission of the Lay Members
“To fulfill our mission, we seek to make present the mystery of Christ who goes out to people, reveals the love of his heart to them, gathers them together and forms them as apostles and Christian leaders, sends them out and accompanies them as they collaborate in the evangelization of people and of society.”
Lay members of Regnum Christi ardently seek to establish and extend the Kingdom of Christ among all people. They let themselves be permeated by Christ’s charity towards humanity and bring their apostolic zeal to life through intimate contact with him. They long for Christ to conquer their own souls and the souls of all those around them. Impelled by the Holy Spirit and in the style of St. Paul, they endeavor to be supernatural in their aspirations, magnanimous of heart, audacious in self-giving, tenacious in the face of difficulties, and practical and effective in action. They seek to transform the world in Christ. Their motto is, “Christ our King. Thy Kingdom Come!” Therefore, the lay members of Regnum Christi:
- seek to encounter Christ daily in prayer, and to witness to him in the various circumstances of life;
- in living their lay vocation, they make it their first priority to live their family life and the duties of their state in life, enlightened by the Word of God and Church teaching;
- seek to engage others in the concrete realities of their lives to proclaim the Gospel to them and invite them to participate in Christ’s mission;
- take on their responsibility as lay faithful to bring the light of the Gospel into the public, cultural, economic, political, academic and social arenas of life. They also seek to awaken the apostolic commitment of different kinds of leaders in the world, so they live their ethical and religious convictions more coherently.
- start and participate in apostolic initiatives and works, according to their possibilities;
- seek to participate in parish and diocesan life, contributing the Regnum Christi charism to the local Church;
- desire to share with others the gift of God they have discovered in Regnum Christi. So they introduce and invite others to Regnum Christi, and accompany those who show an interest in getting to know it, or in participating in its spirituality and mission.
The mission of a Regnum Christi member covers all aspects of our lives. It begins with building my own relationship with God, living my God-given vocation as my path to holiness, and then impacting the world around me through a life lived in union with God and by reaching out to others in apostolic action.
In the following videos we are going to look at the mission of developing our spiritual lives with the help of tools called the program of life and vocation statement, and we will also look at living a generous self-giving as apostles of Christ in the world.
- Fr Thomas Vendetti gives a two part overview on the Program of Life – this part focuses on the vocation statement.
2. Fr Thomas Vendetti gives a two part overview on the Program of Life – this part focuses on the obstacles and program.
3. Fr John Bartunek LC talks practically about the courageous living and giving every Christian is called to by baptism, bringing Christ to the world through our way, our words and our works.
3. Apostolate & the RC Mission – from the Regnum Christi Section leadership training course- Download this document here
- Where does the mission of RC come from?
- Who are we called to reach?
- How are we called to Evangelize?
- Supporting RC apostles in the section
Meditation: Acts 2:1-11
Painting: Pentecost by Jean Restout
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven
staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
For Pentecost, Three Words: “Newness, Harmony, and Mission”
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
ST PETER’S SQUARE
19 MAY 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.
But what happened on that day, so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts? Luke gives us the answer in the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we have heard (2:1-11). The evangelist brings us back to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the apostles were gathered. The first element which draws our attention is the sound which suddenly came from heaven “like the rush of a violent wind”, and filled the house; then the “tongues as of fire” which divided and came to rest on each of the apostles. Sound and tongues of fire: these are clear, concrete signs which touch the apostles not only from without but also within: deep in their minds and hearts. As a result, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit”, who unleashed his irresistible power with amazing consequences: they all “began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability”. A completely unexpected scene opens up before our eyes: a great crowd gathers, astonished because each one heard the apostles speaking in his own language. They all experience something new, something which had never happened before: “We hear them, each of us, speaking our own language”. And what is it that they are they speaking about? “God’s deeds of power”.
In the light of this passage from Acts, I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission.
1. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness and change, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of novelty for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day. The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new?
2. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – “Ipse harmonia est”. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community, and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn 9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?
3. A final point. The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?
Today’s liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift. Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out:“Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!” Amen.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on the New Evangelization (December 2000)
Human life cannot be realized by itself. Our life is an open question, an incomplete project, still to be brought to fruition and realized. Each man’s fundamental question is: How will this be realized—becoming man? How does one learn the art of living? Which is the path toward happiness?
To evangelize means: to show this path—to teach the art of living. At the beginning of his public life Jesus says: I have come to evangelize the poor (Luke 4:18); this means: I have the response to your fundamental question; I will show you the path of life, the path toward happiness—rather: I am that path.
The deepest poverty is the inability of joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today, in very different forms in the materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and produces the inability to love, produces jealousy, avarice—all defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world.
This is why we are in need of a new evangelization—if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science—this art can only be communicated by [one] who has life—he who is the Gospel personified.
The Greek word for converting means: to rethink—to question one’s own and common way of living; to allow God to enter into the criteria of one’s life; to not merely judge according to the current opinions. Thereby, to convert means: not to live as all the others live, not do what all do, not feel justified in dubious, ambiguous, evil actions just because others do the same; begin to see one’s life through the eyes of God; thereby looking for the good, even if uncomfortable; not aiming at the judgment of the majority, of men, but on the justice of God—in other words: to look for a new style of life, a new life.
All of this does not imply moralism; reducing Christianity to morality loses sight of the essence of Christ’s message: the gift of a new friendship, the gift of communion with Jesus and thereby with God. Whoever converts to Christ does not mean to create his own moral autarchy for himself, does not intend to build his own goodness through his own strengths.
Conversion” (metanoia) means exactly the opposite: to come out of self-sufficiency to discover and accept our indigence—the indigence of others and of the Other, his forgiveness, his friendship. Unconverted life is self-justification (I am not worse than the others); conversion is humility in entrusting oneself to the love of the Other, a love that becomes the measure and the criteria of my own life.
Here we must also bear in mind the social aspect of conversion. Certainly, conversion is above all a very personal act, it is personalization. I separate myself from the formula “to live as all others” (I do not feel justified anymore by the fact that everyone does what I do) and I find my own person in front of God, my own personal responsibility.
But true personalization is always also a new and more profound socialization. The “I” opens itself once again to the “you,” in all its depths, and thus a new “We” is born. If the lifestyle spread throughout the world implies the danger of de-personalization, of not living one’s own life but the life of all the others, in conversion a new “We,” of the common path of God, must be achieved.
In proclaiming conversion we must also offer a community of life, a common space for the new style of life. We cannot evangelize with words alone; the Gospel creates life, creates communities of progress; a merely individual conversion has no consistency….
WHO WE ARE
Regnum Christi is a spiritual family made up of consecrated men and women, Legionary of Christ priests and aspirants to the priesthood, diocesan priests and lay people. We seek to make Jesus Christ reign in the hearts of all men and women and in society through our own striving for holiness, by giving witness to Christ’s merciful love, and in working apostolically for the new evangelization
(see revised Constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ (CLC) 1.2, 2, and 3; Statutes of the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi (SLCMRC) 1.2, 2, and 4; Statute of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi (SCWRC)
1.2, 2 and 4.
WHAT WE DO
Caritas Christi urget nos! Impelled by Christ’s love for us and all souls, we seek to bring others to experience Christ’s love and become apostles – Christian leaders at the service of the Church. We work as Jesus Christ did: He drew the apostles to himself, showed them his love, formed them and then sent them out to the whole world. By inspiring them to fall in love with Jesus Christ, helping them come to know better the truths of the faith, and inviting them to participate actively in the new evangelization, we awaken people to their mission in life and in the Church
(see CLC 2.2, 4, SLCMRC 5, 7, SCWRC 5,6) .
The mission is rooted in the charism, and is an overflow of the spirituality and communion in the Movement
Why is it vital now? An example of the need for this New Evangelization that teaches the art of living, helps people steps out of cultural behaviors and embraces true community is seen in this video:
How do we evangelize?
In a survey of 1500 RC Members in 2011 and 2013, and according to independent research done by the firm “Aspire Up” in 2013:
The spiritual family of Regnum Christi is particularly effective with people beginning to go deeper in their faith, especially those who want to get serious about being fully Catholic, an unmet need in the Church. People who are at a life inflection point are most often seeking to go deeper in their faith.
Life inflection points can be triggers, such as a change in life situation, personal challenges, sense of emptiness or incompleteness. The benefit of focusing the target as much as possible is that it will help Regnum Christi focus on people and situations where God is working most actively, and get the best spiritual fruit. Given our limited resources, this will help us achieve the strongest results toward accomplishing our mission.” – Research by Aspire Up 2013
We help people find their own apostolic “calling” by
….bringing God’s love to them
….inspiring people to fall in love with Jesus Christ especially through prayer and the sacramental life
….helping them come to know better the truths of the Catholic faith
….inviting them to participate actively in the life of the Church and apostolic work to evangelize culture and society. Regnum Christi awakens people to their mission in life and in the Church, forming apostles.
4. A Conversation with Donna Garrett about the Mission of Regnum Christi Members
How can Regnum Christi members fulfill the mission God has given them?
I think we have to be intentional in what we do, but also open to the calling of the Spirit. Intentional in that we are there to build apostles to extend the kingdom, but not in such a way that we leave out the Holy Spirit.
For me personally, I have lived in a locality where we do not have a LC (Legionary of Christ) or CRC (Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi) community. Most the growth of the Movement was organic, inspired and facilitated by the laity. We did that through the small group experience. We believe that our gift as Regnum Christi, the spirit to form apostles, would be fulfilled if we had groups of people to whom we could witness to. We created different groups from various ages through bible studies and family life studies and when a Legionary of Christ priest or Consecrated woman of Regnum Christi would come through, we would intentionally expose the participants to a fuller expression of the Movement’s charism at work
Leadership roles of lay members in the sections
I do not currently have a LC or CRC in leadership roles. We fulfill those roles ourselves. From the very beginning we were encouraged to appoint lay members to leadership roles and then form them. However, when the scandal happened, most of the members who left the movement were in leadership positions. In the months that followed, instead of seeking out other leaders, we look at the people we had, their talents, and encouraged them to take on this role, walking with them along the road. We did this knowing full well that sometimes the growth in a section might be impeded because a person wasn’t ready yet. We had to take some time to form that person and adjust the expectations to the reality of the people in the field. Now with the efforts in the renewal, we are more confident in inviting new people to experience the Movement. But the lessons we learned are invaluable, leaders are not born, they are formed.
I, as a lay person, believe 100% that I have a vocation to Regnum Christi and that through the Movement I have found the avenue that God has chosen for me to build his Church, and grow in holiness. But there is only so much that I can respond to in that invitation without the spiritual support my LC brothers and consecrated sisters can give to me and my people. In order to grow, we need a full participation of the rest of the spiritual family.
What do you need to find in LC or consecrated members who serve in your region?
I would like a territory to consider, before sending a LC or consecrated to come and provide spiritual formation… to ensure that they work with the current lay leadership and that there is respect for their leadership. When the current priest or consecrated are assigned a different mission, the lay leadership stays.
Whoever comes should do so in a spirit of self-giving, and not with an “I was assigned” attitude, as if just complying… People notice this and feel when member of the spiritual family is not invested. The laity can perceive that they are sometimes considered as an apostolate and not persons. A means to an end. In a lay run area, where there is limited interaction with LC and CRC, major evangelization events like retreats and camps are key to exposing new members to the charism. It is essential that the exposure to the consecrated and Legionaries of Christ be professional and inspiring. If they come in response to an assignment verses a desire to serve, it can be devastating to the members who facilitated the event.
When the right attitude is there, it is beautiful to see the members flourish, and to see our legionaries and consecrated experience the beauty of their self-giving slowly bearing fruit.
God wants me to be here. When I met RC, I collected info, brought it to my husband, and asked him if he would you support my involvement and he said: I think it is fine for you. In a few months, my husband recognized the joy God had given to me and responded to the call himself.
I feel very blessed in my marriage. When I became a member of Regnum Christi my children were very small… Thus, they were formed in ECYD. Now I have four beautiful young adults. Some people tell my husband and I when they see our kids that we must have been great parents. But I say, that their circle of friends, the camps, missions and the exposure to LC brothers and CRC was instrumental in their formation.
Service In the Church or just To the Church?
In Omaha I can say that there was no division between RC and serving the Parishes in our local Church. I did not have a RC school, centers, LC communities… Thus, the obvious place for my apostolates was the parish. We are members of the parish, and as apostles we serve the larger Church in the dioceses.
When I entered RC in 1999 I was in a brand new parish in a fast-growing area. My pastor was not overly supportive of the Legion, but recognized the need for apostles. He admired the tenacity of the members, and even if there was tension, he knew that if he asked a RC member to clean the church, fix the pews, lead a church festival or sit on the financial committee, things would get done. After the scandal, we had a new pastor, who had experience with the Charismatic renewal, and understood movements. 12 years into my vocation in the Movement, doors opened and our RC members could be more intentional disciples in their parishes. What we were bringing to that ecclesial support was the formation and apostolic heart of RC.
I recognize that there are many needs in the Church where we can serve. We should not limit ourselves to our programs, but also cooperate with others, enriching it with our style.
I believe, you can never over communicate with our bishop and pastor, regardless of the size of the apostolate. It is a common practice that we communicate what we do, as an expression of our being active members in the Church.
Training of future leaders is a great challenge. What recommendation would you make to those training others, especially legionaries and consecrated? What do you expect from those who are in formation?
I think that there is a practical aspect and a charismatic aspect. I believe we did not get into major problems when we were confident in who we were: we form apostles… With the scandal and the subsequent removal of writings and other elements that served to motivated us, we stopped accompanying others because we were not sure how. We lacked conviction in who we were. We lost track of our common lexicon which gave us a sense of cohesion. First and foremost, what a Legionary or a consecrated member can give to those they mentor or are forming, is confidence in who we are, and the fact that there is a place in the Church for the gift we have received. Second, we have to recognize that there is a grace of state which helps when you accept a position which stretches you, but it has to stretch you in line with your human capability and nature. We can’t expect people to be super human, because they can’t. They can be super spiritual, but not super human. Another point that is important in forming leaders is that you can assign a position to a leader even if he is not fully formed, but you cannot leave them there. He or she needs constant attention, ant that is why I think we have failed in some cases. We stopped accompanying and we just assumed that the Holy Spirit would give them the grace and they would be fine. They might do well during the first few months. When something major league happened in their human family or even within the spiritual life of these apostles, they felt abandoned.
What is your recommendation for someone entering the novitiate?
I would tell him that he is entering a very beautiful spiritual family and that he has very distinct role in it. By him authentically living his priesthood, he will empower the rest of the family to embrace their distinct roles. When all of us as Legionaries of Christ, consecrated men and women of Regnum Christi, the lay members and the members of ECYD all live out the charism within our own vocations, it is a beautiful thing.
Anything else you’d like to say?
One thing I would like to add. There is a mutual responsibility for the mission. A Legionary of Christ priest coming in to a lay led locality should expect that the lay leader will do everything he or she can to help him live his mission. We should expect and demand that from our priest as well. God wants us each to respond with total self-giving to our vocations. This takes, both clarity and charity but also accountability in our individual roles and our work as a spiritual family. We are called to build communion within our own branches, our spiritual family and within the communities we work.
5. Recommended Reading
- Learn about the programs Regnum Christi offers: http://www.regnumchristi.org/en/programs/
2. In this age of relentless activity it is easy for Christians, particularly those involved in good works, to fall into the pattern of the activist. But mere activity and material results are not sufficient for a successful apostolate.
In his classic work The Soul of the Apostolate, Dom Chautard demonstrates that the very foundation of all apostolic work must be the Interior Life. The apostle of Christ will grow to become an instrument and true channel of God’s graces to the world only through prayer, meditation and the cultivation of the Interior Life. When one is involved in works of spiritual or corporal charity, his work can only be truly efficacious when he anchors his Interior Life in Christ. Without Christ we can do nothing. Inside you’ll learn about the:
- Pre-eminence of the Interior Life over the Active Life
- Dangers of the Active Life: for you and your apostolate
- The Devil’s special temptations for those working for Our Lord
- Steps necessary in order to develop and grow in the Interior Life
- Necessity of the Interior Life to a successful and spiritually fruitful apostolate
- I Saw His Face: Powerful Moments of Christ’s Mercy is an inspiring collection of encounters with God’s mercy through service. Father Michael Mitchell LC shares his experiences of missionary work in Mexico and Haiti, revealing how Christ s Mercy is at work among those who serve and those who are being served. At the center each story is Christ the Merciful King: His Person, His Kingship, and His Mercy. Insightful reflections on Bible passages are interwoven throughout the book to shed light on Christ s mission of mercy. Seek a deeper understanding of Christ as the Merciful King and be inspired to see Him in others with I Saw His Face.