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Regnum Christi.

Regnum Christi is an international Catholic movement, a lay apostolate at the service of the universal Church. "Regnum Christi" is Latin for "the reign of Christ", and indeed its motto is "Thy Kingdom Come". It began about sixty years ago and now has 50,000 members in 30 countries, mostly laity, but also a few diocesan priests as well as a branch of consecrated women.

The increasing growth of Catholic "movements" is a recent phenomenon. They are a source of great hope for renewal in the Church, an important factor in carrying out Pope John Paul II's "new evangelization". In fact, during Pentecost 1998, the Holy Father held a massive gathering in Rome of representatives from 53 of these movements, almost a half a million people. In his message to the throng overflowing St. Peter's Square, the pope described a movement "as a way of being Christian and giving witness to Christ, which bases its own pedagogical method on a precise charism given to the person of the founder."

The founder of Regnum Christi is Fr. Marcial Maciel. At age sixteen in Mexico, he experienced God's call to evangelize contemporary society and to found a new congregation of priests, the Legionaries of Christ, to equip the laity for this task. Few took him seriously. After four years of continuous struggle and repeated failures including serious charges against him at a seminary in the United States which caused his expulsion, a Mexican bishop gave him permission to begin his work if he could find the young men and a building.

In 1941 Fr. Maciel opened his first seminary in the basement of a clothing store with thirteen recruits. He was twenty years old and still four years away from his own ordination, for which he received private tutoring. This religious order was created precisely to serve the needs of the Church through focused development of lay apostles who would bring Christ to every level of society. It now has one seminary in Canada for French-speaking Legionaries in Cornwall, Ontario.

Regnum Christi's contribution and charism

Regnum Christi is engaged in a range of works: education, catechetics, missions, youth work, campus ministry. It is characterized by a keen sense of missionary zeal, as well as a sense of freedom, joyful faith, and personal conviction in its members. It encourages their initiative and reminds them of their responsibility, rooted in their Baptism, to make their faith the active principle of every aspect of every day, in its personal, professional, social, and family dimensions.

To practise this spirituality and to persevere in a genuine Christian life, Regnum Christi members rely on a personal commitment to daily prayer, regular spiritual direction, days of retreat and recollection, and frequent reception of the sacraments in a profound communion with Christ, his Church, and his vicar, the Holy Father. Devotion to Mary is highlighted as well. They also benefit from a weekly meeting with other members where they reflect on the Gospel, apply it to concrete circumstances, and review the progress of their apostolic activities. Legionarie priests will usually provide spiritual and apostolic direction for the members.

Membership

Membership in Regnum Christi is an answer to a call, a particular way of responding to Christ's call to every Catholic to be holy and to engage in apostolate. It is a commitment to dedicate oneself body and soul to bring all people to know and to love Jesus Christ. It means becoming an active participant in a dynamic organization made up of men and women, married or single, young or old, mostly lay, who share the desire to see Christ reign in the hearts of all people, and to seek to imbue to every facet of contemporary society with the principles and ideals of Christ's life and mission.

Regnum Christi is one way of living the Catholic faith, one movement among many in the Church. It is part of and an aid to the local Church, not a substitute for it. It is a movement of apostolic activity, not a Catholic "club". It is a commitment to use the most effective means of evangelization, not necessarily the easiest or the least taxing. The rewards are many and fruitful for family, social and personal life. (+)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:the reign of Christ, catholic organization
Author:D'Ettore, Deborah
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Words:704
Previous Article:Lay movements: Part X; The Legion of Mary.
Next Article:"No peace without justice" "No justice without forgiveness". (Vatican).
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