“Walk with confidence knowing that the Church will help you when you need it” said Monsignor José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M., titular archbishop of Belcastro and secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, who presided over the opening Mass for the extraordinary general assembly of Regnum Christi in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Filippo Martire in Rome, Italy.
91 delegates from Germany, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Italy, Mexico, El Salvador, Spain, the United States, the Philippines, France and Venezuela are participating in the extraordinary general assembly of Regnum Christi in order to discern and approve the canonical configuration of the Regnum Christi Movement as a whole.
The first day began with the Holy Mass presided over by Monsignor José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M.. During the homily, he referenced the Solemnity of the Annunciation and reflected on three points. The first one was based on the words of Mary to the angel: “Here I am.” He said that “The incarnation is motivated by the unconditional love of God for man. God looked for a house and found it in Mary.” He invited those present to live an unconditional faith that accepts life’s difficulties but, in the end, bows before the immensity of the mystery of God.
The second reflection focused on discernment. He encouraged the delegates to keep two things in mind while discerning during this assembly: the first being the Gospel and the second being the sign of the times. “The Gospel is the supreme rule of all consecrated persons,” he said, quoting Pope Francis. He added “The rules of each institute must be based on this. The Gospel is not an ideology because Jesus is not a person. The Gospel is a way of life because Jesus is a person. Referring to the signs of the times, he commented “We live not in a time of change, but in a change of times […] It is a moment that I consider to be a grace. Reading the signs of the times forces us to be awake.” He then said: “Dear brothers and sisters, during this assembly we must ask ourselves, what does the Lord ask of me at this moment? Not fifty years ago, not fifty years from today. Now. The past is no longer ours, the future we do not know if it will be ours. It is here and now that we are asked to be faithful […] The charism is fluid, otherwise it would not respond to the signs of the times. Our God is the God of history so our faith must be historical.”
Later, he considered the greeting that the angel sent to Mary: Rejoice. “The Lord loves us as we are, with our sins, and grace abounds […] The joy for a consecrated person is not a possibility, it is a responsibility […] I ask that you always have joy in your heart […] Sometimes the heart bleeds but others have the right to see a resurrected face when they look at us […]
Finally, he commented “Difficult times help us […] may the assembly be a moment to reignite, refound in a sense, the charism. To discern together, to discern the will of God. And, please, do not be afraid. Fear is lack of faith. Sometimes we justify it with many beautiful words, but deep down, fear is lack of faith.” He invited those present to remember the words Our Lady said to Juan Diego: “Why are you afraid? I am your mother, I am here, how beautiful it is to walk along by the hand of Our Lady. May she accompany you during this assembly and in all the ways, that from today, you will begin to travel.” He offered gratitude and reminded those present to walk with confidence, with the Church, on this journey. He said “Pope Francis follows the Regnum Christi process very closely and prays for you […] Let us ask the Lord to continue giving vocations to the Movement.”
Fr. Sylvester Heereman, L.C., reviewed the renewal process that we have experienced so far, highlighting the accompaniment that the Church has provided Regnum Christi.
The delegates had some time to greet one another and then started the sessions for the day. They reviewed the conclusions of the extraordinary general chapter of the Legion of Christ and the extraordinary general assembly of the consecrated women as well as the communiqué from the lay consecrated men to the delegates of the extraordinary general assembly of Regnum Christi. They had moments of prayer and communion throughout the first day.