Convención Internacional

Second phase begins

From May 30th to June 3rd, 64 delegates elected by the territorial conventions and 16 participants of the Legion and the consecrated members gathered in Rome to celebrate the RC International Convention. It is another milestone in the renewal process of the Movement.

Today, Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil sent a letter to Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi to share what was lived during the Convention as well as some of its highlights. He also explains in a succinct manner the steps ahead in the process of renewal. Here is the full text of the letter:

Thy Kingdom Come!

Prot. DG-RC 101-2016

Clas. II.1.2

Rome. June 4th, 2016.

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


To the members and friends of Regnum Christi

Dear friends in Christ,

Yesterday, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Jubilee Year marking the 75th anniversary of our founding came to a close, as did the Regnum Christi International Convention. Both events served as special times of grace, helping us discover the hand of God acting in our lives and in the life of our spiritual family. They gave us the chance to thank the Lord for that infinite mercy of his that allows us to continue on the journey filled with hope.

From May 30th to June 3rd, 64 delegates elected at the territorial conventions and 16 participants from the Legion and the consecrated branches gathered in Rome to celebrate the International Convention. This was another important step in the Regnum Christi’s renewal process, which is helping us to delve more deeply into our charism, renew our passion for the mission and find an appropriate canonical configuration for the Movement. Our pontifical advisor, Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, was present at the convention, and on Tuesday the Secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Msgr. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, celebrated the Eucharist for the group. On Wednesday Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, CS, joined us, presiding at Mass, and that same day we also had the chance to participate on the general audience with the Holy Father in the Plaza of Saint Peter’s.

I wanted to share with you some of the experiences of these days and the most important results of the convention. I also wanted to lay out briefly the steps we will have to take in the upcoming months.

  1. “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim 1:6).

This text from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy was read in the Mass last Wednesday. I think it expresses well the spirit with which we worked during these days.

Our discussions were guided by a Working Document prepared by the Central Commission that included the recommendations from the territorial conventions. We worked in plenary sessions and in small groups made up of members of various ages, backgrounds and countries of origin, trying to discern well and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

In the working sessions and during breaks we spoke to each other quite a bit and shared what we thought, at times passionately, due to the love and appreciation we all have for our charism. We have also had the chance to listen to points of view that differed from our own. Through this we experienced firsthand that diversity is in no way a threat to Regnum Christi’s unity but rather an expression of its richness and its capacity to adapt to different cultural and ecclesial contexts.

The essential elements of our spiritual patrimony (see Code of Canon Law, c. 578), common to all the vocations which form part of Regnum Christi, resounded in our hearts and were reaffirmed. We looked at those characteristics particular to the identity and mission of the lay members, which were summarized in the following way: “The lay members of the Regnum Christi Movement are Christian faithful who personally accept a divine vocation to live their baptismal commitments in the midst of temporal realities according to the charism of Regnum Christi.”

Among the essential elements of our spiritual patrimony, the ones that stood out most were Christ-centeredness and the mission to form apostles and help them develop their leadership to better serve the Kingdom of God in the state of life to which they are called. We also felt again how important love for the Church and for Christ’s vicar on earth are for us, as well as fidelity to the bishops, successors of the apostles. We allowed ourselves to be challenged by the love of Christ who came to set the earth on fire and wishes it were already blazing (see Luke 12:49).

We recalled that our membership in Regnum Christi is based on a vocation. It is a free and loving response to Christ’s personal invitation to live the Gospel for the good of his Kingdom and of society in a specific way. It was evident that we need to continue deepening in our spiritual life, understood as the ongoing development of the life of the Trinity within us leading to configuration with Christ. We have to give grace pride of place and see our apostolate and our efforts to practice virtue in that light, as a response to God’s initiative.

We also saw that some guidelines are necessary to be able to offer a truly integral formation to Movement members, as well as to those who benefit from our apostolic works and those who participate actively in them. The Statutes are obviously not the place to trace out a formation program, which has to be adapted to the needs and characteristics of different cultures and of the local Churches. At the same time it seems necessary to offer some general guidelines in the Statutes regarding the formation we want to offer Movement members.

Another aspect evident to all is the sense that we belong to a single spiritual family in which the one charism can be lived out within different vocations. The lay members of Regnum Christi expressed their desire to live in communion with Legionaries, consecrated women and lay consecrated men. We also confirmed that we share in a common mission and that each person is called to make their own distinctive contribution.

The lay members almost unanimously confirmed that they preferred not to form an association exclusive to themselves, but rather to be a part of the Movement as a whole on an individual basis. This was in line with what all the territorial conventions had previously expressed. At the same time the lay members clearly indicated they want to participate in the leadership of Regnum Christi, whatever form the governing structure will have in the Statutes, and be involved in decisions which affect the common mission of the Movement.

The delegates also said that the fragmentation of apostolic activity which can occur at the local level needs to be overcome. We have to coordinate our attempts to evangelize  better, and that will be the fruit of communion in the mission at the locality level.

We also shared what we think and what we have experienced concerning the apostolate of forming leaders at the service of the Church. We spoke of the need to delve deeper, purifying this aspect whenever necessary but maintaining those aspects rooted in the Gospel. The same principles have to be applied to other concepts such as, for example, efficaciousness. Rather than the product of techniques and strategies, they have to be the fruit of the docile collaboration with the Holy Spirit, where we put our whole being into play, with our talents and limitations. We have to avoid falling into worldly ways of thinking and acting that do not reflect the logic of the Kingdom as proclaimed by Christ in the Gospel.

Tensions and disagreements arose when we spoke about certain themes—some of them important—in which, despite moving ahead, we did not reach a consensus. For instance, the delegates acknowledged the existence of two types of lay membership in Regnum Christi which until now have been referred to as the “1st and 2nd degree”. The delegates felt we have to new names that better reflect the essence of the distinction and include these in the Statutes. The delegates asked the Central Commission to continue looking for an appropriate way to express the two types of membership, taking into account the proceedings from these days. In other areas the disagreements were more about terminology. Tension and disagreement did not disappear, but it was clear that what unites us is greater than the differences. We will have to praying about these topics and discussing them to find out what God wants from us.

The delegates agreed that we have to get to know the history of the Movement better, with its lights and shadows. We will then be able to look upon the past with gratitude and savor God’s mercy in a deeper way. We will be able to learn from our mistakes to avoid them in the future. Finally we will be better able to discover what the Lord is trying to say to us through these events from the past. Renewal cannot be complete if we do not remember what has happened in our history. This “remembering” is essential for allowing us to understand and develop our identity and mission in the Church.

In general there was a great fraternal and community spirit. We were not exactly sure how things would turn out, but trusted that the Holy Spirit would be active. Due to the atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, everyone was able to say what they thought. We were also able to transcend our personal experiences and discover the essential elements of God’s gift to us. We well realized that we not inventing the Movement but rather rediscovering it and embracing it with renewed enthusiasm.

  1. “Do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord… but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God” (2 Tim 1:8).

Through the international convention the lay members of Regnum Christi have expressed what they see as particular to their specific vocation and what is common to the Movement as a whole. The results of the discussions in the plenary hall will soon be available for consultation on the International Convention’s website.

In the upcoming months the Central Commission will work with the pontifical advisor to prepare a proposal for the canonical configuration of Regnum Christi as a whole. They will base themselves on what the lay members of the Movement discerned during the international convention, as well as the submissions from the General Chapter of the Legion of Christ and the General Assemblies of the consecrated branches of the Movement. What we have learned from the application of the Framework for Collaborative Governance in the past years will also be considered.

Following the steps laid out by the Central Commission, the Legionaries, consecrated members, and lay members, will then be asked to look over the draft of the Statutes before it is presented to the Holy See for approval. It is not exactly clear how this will be done but what is clear is that it will be in some kind of representative way.

These juridical elements are no doubt important, but beyond that we are now called to “bear our share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God”. We want to share the joy that comes from knowing that we belong to this family within the Church, that we have experienced God’s love and affection for us and that we have received this tremendous opportunity to renew and purify ourselves in order to serve others in a more Gospel-centered way.

During the time of renewal God has sown many graces in our hearts that we are called to share generously in our sections, works of apostolate, teams, and families. I trust that these graces will bear fruit in due time. With this in mind, let us once again hear Christ calling us to follow him and be his tireless apostles, to take up our cross and go forth to whole world, to preach his Kingdom of love and justice, mercy, reconciliation and peace.

And in light of all this I say to you—and to myself as well: “Let us move on! It is time to be on our way!” Let’s not let new and unexpected developments paralyze us. The journey is long and too much for us (see 1 Kings 19:7), but let us continue on this path knowing that we are not alone. Jesus accompanies us with the strength of his Spirit, with a good and merciful Heart that forgives everything, with a passionate love for all men and women, and the burning desire that his Father be loved by all.

Please pray for the delegates and participants in the International Convention, as well as for the members of the secretarial department who helped us make this event possible. We are very grateful to all those who supported us with their prayers during these days. May Our Lady bless you, your families, communities and teams.

Your brother in Christ and the Movement,

Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil, LC