3. Apostolate: the Third Element in the Life of Lay Members of Regnum Christi
Being an apostle
9. 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:
1.seek to encounter Christ daily in prayer, and to witness to him in the various circumstances of life;
2. 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;
3. 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;
4. 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.
5. start and participate in apostolic initiatives and works, according to their possibilities;
6. seek to participate in parish and diocesan life, contributing the Regnum Christi charism to the local Church;
7. 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.
8.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.
A way of self-giving
- The personal experience of Christ’s love produces an interior urging in our hearts that impels us to passionate self-giving in order to make his Kingdom present: “caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Corinthians 5:14). This passion moves us to take on a way of living that is characterized by:
1. accepting that following Christ includes spiritual combat, the struggle marked by perseverance and trust in the Lord in the face of the reality of evil and sin in one’s own life and in society, moved by the power of love to the extreme;
2. undertaking with a magnanimous, enthusiastic, and creative heart the actions that make the Kingdom present in greater depth and extent;
3. going out to address the most pressing needs of the world and the Church;
4. facing challenges with courage and boldness in our personal lives and in the apostolate;
5. making the most of the opportunities that arise in life to proclaim the love of Christ with Christian audacity;
6. fulfilling the responsibilities we assumed and striving to give the best of ourselves both in our formation and in our work.
Our Apostolic Activity
11.Seeking to respond effectively to the principal needs of evangelization in our own sphere of life and without excluding any type of apostolic activity, we undertake initiatives and establish apostolic works directed especially at proclaiming the faith and spreading Catholic doctrine; at the Christian formation and education of children, adolescents and young adults; at the promotion of marriage and the family; at vocation ministry; at the evangelization of the professions, of culture and of the media; and at the promotion of social justice and the practice of the works of mercy.
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.
1. Fr Thomas Vendetti, LC, gives a two part overview on the Program of Life – this part focuses on the vocation statement.
2. Fr Thomas Vendetti, LC, gives a two part overview on the Program of Life – this part focuses on the obstacles and program.
3. Dr. Brian and Valerie Doran talk about living family life as a community of apostles in Regnum Christi.
A Conversation with Donna Garrett about the Mission of Regnum Christi Members
Donna Garrett is an RC member from Omaha Nebraska, the director of the RC Life Department, and she and her husband Jeff have four young adult children.
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 Legionary of Christ or Consecrated Women’s community. Most the growth of the Regnum Christi 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 Regnum Christi’s charism at work by seeing all the vocations living communion and mission together.
Leadership roles of lay members in the sections
We do not currently have Legionaries or Consecrated Women in section leadership roles. We fulfill those roles ourselves as lay members. From the very beginning we were encouraged to appoint lay members to leadership roles and then form them. The lessons we learned are invaluable, leaders are not born, they are formed.
Why are you in Regnum Christi, and how has it affected your family life?
God wants me to be here. When I met Regnum Christi, I did some research, 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 Regnum Christi and serving the parishes in our local Church. The obvious place for apostolates was the parish. We are members of the parish, and as apostles we serve the larger Church in the dioceses.
When I entered Regnum Christi in 1999 I was in a brand new parish in a fast-growing area. My pastor was not overly supportive of the Legionaries of Christ, but recognized the need for lay apostles. He admired the tenacity of the members, and even if there was tension, he knew that if he asked an 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 lay movements. 12 years into my vocation in the Regnum Christi, doors opened and our 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.
What in this experience serving in your dioceses has enriched your vocation to 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 whatever we do with our charism.
I believe, you can never over communicate with your 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? 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… We can’t expect people to be super human, because they aren’t. They can be super spiritual, but not super human. Another point that is important in forming leaders 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.
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 or Consecrated Woman coming in to a lay led locality should expect that the lay leader will do everything he or she can to help them live their mission. We should expect and demand that from our priests and consecrated 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 vocations, our spiritual family and the communities we work in.
RC IMPACT is a 36-page digital booklet highlighting the evangelizing mission of Regnum Christi Members from around the North American territory and sharing the dynamic impact that lay members have on the world through their vocation. It includes letters from the territorial directors, and a directory of Regnum Christi locations, vocations, and ways to get involved in our mission.
This short booklet is a reflection on what it means to live a mystery of the life of Christ and make it present in the world, and about the particular mystery in Christ’s life that the Regnum Christi identity springs from. It also contains three concept maps, and an infographic.
It was created by the Life and Mission Division of the General Directorate of the Regnum Christi Federation, with the intention of helping us to go deeper in understanding the charism while praying with the Word of God, and it was originally published in Spanish. It is available in English in PDF form here.
What is Regnum Christi? by Fr. John Bartunek, LC
For current Regnum Christi members in every state of life, as well for inquirers and future members, the Statutes of the Federation are a firm reference point as we journey forward together serving the Church. To that end, What Is Regnum Christi? is a short essay that explores the critical concepts found in the Statutes and, by the grace of God, will open new doors for living out the Regnum Christi vocation.