LEGIONARIES 60TH ANNIVERSARY IN VATICAN
Your Kingdom Come!
Dear Mr. Salbato, Christ's peace.
I have just returned from a most blessed time celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi in Rome. Our group of some 15,000 was blessed to receive strong encouragement from Cardinal Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, during an evening rosary in the Vatican Gardens. In an audience with us in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II urged us to "set the world ablaze" by fulfilling our commitment to evangelization. We seek to do just that. During the ordination of 37 new Legionary priests from around the world, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, described Fr. Maciel as a "man who is in love with the Church," who has suffered persecution and calumny to leave "a rich legacy of cooperation with Christ in salvation."
It has come to my attention that some of our friends in the movement have written you emails and received the impression these would be posted on your website. Dr. Gladys Sweeney, founding dean of the Institute for Psychological Sciences, sent me an email she wrote to you:
"I too have known Fr. Maciel for a number of years and rarely have I met anyone with a more sound psychology. The behaviors that he has been accused of can only be the result of severe psychopathology. People suffering from these pathologies cannot "fool" others consistently, year after year. Sooner or later, the pathology gets out of control, and ends up in a disaster. Fr. Maciel, after many years of dedicated service and sacrifice, has continued to give more and more to the Church, and maintained an extremely fruitful life. This is psychologically inconsistent with a severe pathology. Also hundreds and hundreds of holy priests have followed his leadership and example. A person with a severe pathology may be able to "fool" a few dozen people, for a few years, but certainly not countless intelligent and balanced Legionaries that have dedicated their life to the Church, for nearly 60 years. Among the many supporters of Fr. Maciel, is our Holy Father, who certainly is very wise and most learned about the psychology of people."
My friend Libbie Sellors, a dogged apostle for the Church, sent me a copy of the following, which she sent to you some time ago:
Knowing of my association with the Regnum Christi movement, a friend introduced me to your WebPage and the enquiry regarding the Legionaries of Christ. I read through it with great interest and commend you for presenting both sides. Please allow me to share my story.
Before I was married I converted to Catholicism, not out of conviction but rather for convenience and family unity. For many years I was strictly a "Sunday go to meeting" Catholic. However, by the grace of God, that all changed when I met the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. Through formation I was able to identify those elements of sin which had blinded me for so many years, including; human respect, rash judgement and materialism. The formation of which I speak was not a narrow, confined bias reflecting the "insights" of an individual but rather a search for the Truth.
Where did this quest take me? In spiritual direction the Legionaries encouraged me to seek out the writings of the early Church fathers, the saints, the documents of the magisterium and the popes. Above all, my formation was centered on Gospel values and the traditions of 2000 years of Catholic faith, something each and every Catholic is called to do. Driven home time and time again was the principle that if we desire to be Christ's apostles we must first know and love Him.
Just as you have been called to create this web site for His honor and glory so I too have been called to do His will. God has inspired many beautiful movements in the Church including L'Arche, Communion and Liberation and Focolare but the means He has chosen to enrich my faith and to sustain me as I work as His instrument is Regnum Christi. Would that many more movements would arise and blossom within the Church such as this. As you have identified, many fruitful initiatives have come from this God-inspired gift, not for praise or profit but simply to do God's will. Are we not told that, "By their fruits you shall know them"?
By virtue of our Baptism, all Catholics are called to live a life of prayer and the Sacraments and to build up and support the Church. Regnum Christi is simply living these commitments to the fullest. In the words of the Holy Father John Paul II in New York's Central Park in October of 1995, "Regnum Christi, we are all, all Regnum Christ, the Kingdom of Christ."
May God bless you abundantly.
Yours truly in Christ and His Church,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Jay Dunlap - Communications - Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi
FROM ZENIT. Org.
JOHN PAUL II RECEIVES LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST AND "REGNUM
Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Their Foundation
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2001 John Paul II celebrated the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Legionaries of Christ by receiving 20,000 priests, religious, and "Regnum Christi" members on January 4.
The meeting was transferred at the last minute from Paul VI Hall to St. Peter's Square because of the number of participants. The Holy Father praised Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of this ecclesial reality, for his service to the Church, and expressed his gratitude for the affection of the Legionaries and "Regnum Christi" members for Peter's successor.
In the presence of pilgrims of all ages, countries, and social classes, the Holy Father recalled the date of "January 3, 1941, when this work first emerged in Mexico City."
"You have realized how this little seed, which the Divine Sower planted in several youthful hearts, is now a full-grown tree that shelters within it numerous priests, consecrated persons, and lay people whose ideal is to give their life for the spread of the Kingdom of Christ in the world."
On January 2, within the framework of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Legionaries of Christ, 37 deacons of this congregation were ordained by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. The new deacons represent a wide array of countries: 10 from Spain, 10 from the United States, 9 from Mexico, 2 from Germany, 2 from France, and one each from Brazil, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Italy.
At noon on Sunday, December 31, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, blessed and inaugurated the new headquarters of the Pontifical Athenaeum "Regina Apostolorum", the Legionaries'
university in Rome, which also has a campus in New York.
There are about 500 priests in this Congregation, and 2,500 seminarians, working in a total of 20 countries. All together, 40 nationalities are represented. At present, 500 students are studying philosophy and theology in Rome. The "Regnum Christi" lay movement has some 50,000 members worldwide.
According to the latest Spanish edition of L'Osservatore Romano, "in the climate of religious persecution that still prevailed in some Mexican states, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the year 1936, Marcial Maciel, a 16-year old Mexican seminarian, perceived with extraordinary clarity the call of God to form a group of priests who would be dedicated with enthusiasm and generosity to spreading the Kingdom of Christ among men."
"Three attempts were necessary before the plan crystallized into reality," the article goes on. "On January 3, 1941, the first Friday of the month, young Marcial Maciel, who was then a 20-year-old seminarian of the diocese of Cuernavaca, founded the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ with 13 adolescents, in the basement of a house in Mexico City charitably loaned by a friendly family."
The Holy See approved the Legion of Christ with the "Decretum laudis" [Decree of Praise, the Vatican document that raises a congregation to Pontifical right] in 1965. In 1970, Pope Paul VI entrusted to the
Congregation the prelature of Chetumal (present day diocese of Cancún-Chetumal), in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which has a high percentage of inhabitants decended from the Mayans. In this territory, which is virtually the size of Switzerland, 10% of the Congregation's priests carry out their pastoral ministry, assisted by
several lay members of the "Regnum Christi." Over the past 30 years, the Congregation's missionaries have constructed close to 230 churches and oratories.
At present the Legionaries of Christ and "Regnum Christi" members direct 145 schools, 21 higher institutes of education, and 9 universities.
Since the early 60s, the Legionaries have fostered the apostolic participation of the laity, particularly through the "Regnum Christi" movement. Members of this Movement have worked to produce magazines,
newspapers, radio and television programs, and to intensify the Christian presence in politics, business, and professional life. In addition, they have been involved in numerous social works, especially to help the neediest, with institutions like "Helping Hand," which founds schools for needy people.
During the audience, John Paul II described the aspects of spirituality that most characterize this religious family, which is centered on evangelical charity, love for Christ, and intense love for the Church.
The Holy Father encouraged his listeners, saying: "Continue to spread, as you have done until now, and with renewed zeal, the Magisterium and doctrine of the Church, both through the numerous initiatives that have arisen for this purpose among you over the 60 years of existence, as well as the many others that your apostolic fervor will have the boldness to inspire for the good of souls."
Finally, John Paul II reiterated the words he expressed to the more than 2 million youths who participated in the Jubilee's World Youth Day: "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"