Report #6 on Recruiting in National Colleges in Rome
General Report on Recruiting in Several National Colleges in Rome perpared for superiors of the Legion of Christ.
To read the introduction, click here
North American College
In general we have made many contacts at the NAC and, thank God, have encountered no insurmountable difficulties. The activities which been very successful throughout the year have been sports: softball, soccer and basketball. There is always a very good atmosphere among all the participants and it provides a good opportunity for chatting with and recruiting seminarians.
The second activity was extending individual invitations to meals at CES. In fact this is a very common activity among the participants.
The third activity was a little more compromising: a study circle on Pastores Dabo Vobis. Attendance has been good, although it fluctuates between five to ten seminarians.
The fourth activity was the March 17 retreat. Actually, there was little interest owing to the fact that they have retreats in their own college.
A fifth activity (which we have not only done this year, but which could be very successful next year) was doing a holy hour in the olive groves at Termini and going for a walk on the following day.
With respect to Msgr. O’Brien, he is very diplomatic. He greets us and speaks with us from time to time, but I would not say that he has much interest in the Legion. I think the best we can hope for is that he does not disrupt relations.
Casa Santa María
The principal contacts are Fr. James Watkins, Fr. Charles Brown, Fr. Steve and Fr. Shawn Mahoney. Br. Matthew von Smoorenburg has given Fr. James orientation on Regnum Christi three times. His chief difficulty is that he feels a public relationship with us would be damaging to his career, and for this reason is not helping us with recruitment directly, but rather with some interesting contacts. Fr. Charles Brown has shown a lot of interest in Regnum Christi, since he helps the RC señoritas in the colleges where he is chaplain. Br. Patrick Murphy will invite him to be incorporated at the next available opportunity. Br. Patrick has contact with Fr. Shawn, a priest of many qualities.
This year in Rome we have worked in the various universities and seminary residences. We are in the process of forming a large group of Legion friends and sympathizers, but the number of incorporations this year has been less than projected. The work of recruitment in other countries has been significant, with the best results coming from Spain.
One of this year’s primary goals has been the continuing integration of incorporated diocesan priests. For this reason a permanent magazine devoted to formation has been established for them. We have exchanged written correspondence with them at various times throughout the year. Almost all the incorporated received copies in their own languages of the Directory for the Ministry and the Life of Presyteres by the Congregation for the Cleric. We have prepared Prayer Manuals for Diocesan Priests of Regnum Christi in Spanish, English and Italian.
During the first four months of this year, the office of priests has been able to offer various concrete means of formation for diocesan priests and seminarians who are members of Regnum Christi. In January we sent out invitations and an informational booklet to approximately fifty priests so that some could participate this summer in the ARA course. During this season we have made use of Nuestro Padre’s letter on evangelical charity (sent to Spanish speaking priests) and the pamphlet “Orienamenti.” We have communicated these treasures to the the incorporated who speak Spanish and English. We have offered retreats twice a year during Advent and Lent to the incorporated and those being recruited.
We are preparing maps (of the world, continents and nations) indicating those cities with diocesan priests who have incorporarted into Regnum Christi. We have given to Fr. Luis Garza so that might be able to be able to distribute them to each incorporated’s spiritual director in accordance with the Principles and Norms for the Diocesan Priests of Regnum Christ. We have attempted to assign spiritual directors to all the incorporated.
Please refer to the attached financial report. The proposed 1994-1995 budget has been promptly presented to the Territorial Administration.
The collection campaign has two thrusts. Each brother has been asked do make some effort at collecting. Fr. Ron Sciera of the United States gave us $10,000. The brothers charged with collections have begun looking into North American charitable foundations so that in the coming years we can count on the support of one or more of them.
Br. C. A. in cooperation with Fr. W. S. took the initiative to ask for contributions from some benefactors whom they both know. The goal has not been fully realized, but the effort is still in progress. This year Br. Caesar will also visit some aquaintances in England in order to ask for their financial support for this apostolate.
This year we have offered neither apostolates nor apostolic formation to the incorporated. This will not be the case in the coming year (refer to the Apostolic Program of Diocesan Priests for 1994-1995 and Beyond).
Report on the Recruitment in Universities and Seminary Residences in Rome.
Diocesan Priests of Regnum Christi
This is an English college. For the first time this year we have been able to establish semi-regular contact with the rector and seminarians of the BEDA Pontifical College. Two BEDA seminarians have come to CES for conferences, meals, two retreats for diocesan priests and the ordinations in March. (The have never come together.) Of the three visits to their college this year, two have been through invitations from the seminarians and another one from the rector. The two seminarians, Brian (from South Africa) and Luc (from London) are in the friendship/confidence stage.
The attitude of the rector has been quite negative; he does not want us working a lot with his seminarians (although has always been very cordial during our visits). We have spoken with the rector for several hours in private about the Legion. He explains (to his own seminarians) that the English bishops do not allow us to work within their dioceses, and for this reason he cannot allow us to spend much time with the seminarians. We will continue cultivating the rector and seminarians discreetly.
Von Balthazar House
This is a college intended for youths who are in the process of discerning a vocation.
We have not had many opportunities to increase our contacts with the youths of Balthazar House this year. They are laymen, but live like religious according to a demanding schedule. Blaze Berg, the only contact we have, cannot visit us very often for this reason. He invited some of us for a meal and to play soccer with his community once last year. Balthazar House runs a three year seminary program. It seems there are many opportunities to do apostolic work with them. Those who have already left from there have entered several religious congregations or diocesan seminaries, or have been ordained.
There are 15 Canadian priests studying in this college. He have had only very limited contact with the rector and the 15 priests. It is obvious they are not very interested in the Legion. In fact, they have shown a bit of indifference to us, which has made progress there difficult. But in time this will yield fruit. Meanwhile, we will continue trying to gain the friendship of the rector and the other priests.
Fr. Tom Lynch of the diocese of Petersburgh, Ontario has been of friend of the Legion for the past ten years. He has been studying in Rome for two years now. He is not prepared to commit to Regnum Christi, but he will help us at the college as well as on his trips around the world.
The work which has been done here since January of this year has consisted of cultivating friendships among the seminarians and priests who have shown an openness towards us. Fr. Alvaro invited the rector to dinner, but he was not able to come. We offered our help in organizing the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, and more recently a priest was invited to celebrate mass for the community. We give special importance to visits to the Irish College and legionaries from Ireland continue writing to clerics whom they know from their country of origen.
Disclaimer: ReGAIN and this site are neither endorsed by, nor sponsored by, nor affiliated with the Catholic congregation of priests and religious with the names Legion of Christ, and Legionaries of Christ, nor with the group called Regnum Christi.