Regnum Christi

December 14, 2023

LCCheshire 40th Anniversary

The Legionaries of Christ Seminary in Cheshire Celebrates 40 years

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Legionaries of Christ Novitiate and College of Humanities in Cheshire, Connecticut, and Regnum Christi members, family, and friends gathered from all over North America and beyond to celebrate.

The seminary in Cheshire had its humble beginnings in 1957 as over a hundred acres of farmland that consisted of nothing more than a farmhouse, a barn, a silo, and a dilapidated shed. At that time, the land belonged to the La Salette Missionaries, a Catholic religious order based in Massachusetts, who, after outgrowing their high school seminary in Hartford, would go on to build a new seminary on the site. On August 15, 1957, the property and accompanying residence was blessed by Rev. Jean Roux, MS, who had come to the United States from France as a missionary in 1895. Construction began in the summer of 1959, and the new La Salette seminary was dedicated, and welcomed its first students, in September of 1961.


After over 15 years of ministry, due to increasing operating costs and a decreasing number of vocations, La Salette Seminary High School closed its doors in June of 1970. The seminary became a School of Christian Leadership and Service for students interested in active lay involvement in the Church, offering education, formation, prayer groups, healing services, and professional counseling.


At this time, the Legionaries of Christ had already outgrown the first seminary house they had established in Woodmont, Connecticut, in 1965, and by 1971, had moved to a slightly larger property in the nearby town of Orange. In 1976, Fr. Anthony Bannon, LC, who had been ordained just a few months earlier, arrived to help develop the order, which at the time had foundations in Hamden, NJ, Detroit, MI, New York City, and Washington, DC, serving as the Apostolate Director for the Legionaries in the United States and the rector of the Novitiate for the Legionaries of Christ in Orange, CT. In 1977, under the guidance of Mons. John Whealon, Archbishop of Hartford at the time, the Legionaries of Christ leased half of the La Salette building as their novitiate, and, as the numbers of Legionary novices continued to grow, they eventually purchased the property. On June 4th, 1982, the seminary moved from Orange to their current location in Cheshire.


That summer, thirty seven seminarians moved from Orange to Cheshire, many of whom are Legionary priests today, including Fr. Kevin Meehan, Fr. Kermit Syren, Fr. Peter Hopkins, Fr. James Mulford, Fr. David Steffy, Fr. Gabriel Sotres, and Fr. Barry O’Toole. In addition, 25 young men visited the seminary that first summer, and 21 of them began the novitiate that fall, including Legionary priests Fr. Dana Lundburg, Fr. Steven Reilly, and Fr. Walter Shu.


As vocations to the Legionaries of Christ continued to increase, a new wing was added to the building in 1992, and today, the seminary is home to 47 young men from 14 different countries who are discerning the call to the priesthood in an environment that makes space to hear God’s call and lays the foundation of a solid interior life crucial to the apostolic life. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class of the Cheshire seminary.


To celebrate the occasion, over 300 Legionary priests, Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, Regnum Christi members, friends, and family, gathered on September 1-3 of this year. The anniversary weekend included Mass, family-style cookouts, adoration, talks from Legionary priests, a video presentation chronicling the seminary’s 40-year history, and even a fun-filled trivia game.


The celebrations began on Friday afternoon with a Mass of gratitude, presided by North American Territorial Director and Cheshire alumni, Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC. This was followed by 40 Hours of Adoration, in thanksgiving for Cheshire’s 40 years, and for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.


Saturday began with Mass, celebrated by Fr. Markus Stehmer, LC, who was just ordained in Rome in April of this year. An afternoon picnic provided an opportunity to share and hear stories and experiences about life in the novitiate over the past 40 years. Fr. Shawn Aaron and Fr. John Bartunek, LC, who is the Territorial Vicar of North America, gave talks about what their time at Cheshire meant to them. Fr. Shawn shared his memories of both the blessings and the hardships that he experienced throughout his years of formation at the novitiate, and how, through it all, the brothers in Cheshire always had a deep spirit of joy, one that he witnessed alive in the seminarians today. Fr. John spoke of the novitiate as a turning point in his life and in the lives of so many other young men. He had originally visited Cheshire as a guest, but in seeing the life of the brothers, and witnessing their deep Eucharistic life, he immediately knew that Cheshire, and ultimately the Legionaries of Christ, were to become his spiritual home. This visit, and his time in the novitiate, became a decisive point for him in his own discernment, as it was for many other young men.


The final day of the weekend celebrations began with the conclusion of the 40 Hours of Adoration; the benediction included all the Legionary priests and brothers present. Afterwards, the Archbishop of Hartford, Archbishop Leonard Blair, celebrated the weekend’s closing Mass at St. Thomas Becket Church. In his homily, the archbishop preached about the Christian way of life, one that is challenging, but is indeed the path to heaven, and one on which we are never alone, accompanied always by Christ himself.


In addition to these events, Cheshire was also host to its 6th annual Vocation Summit, an event that brings together vocation promoters from all over the country, and an ECYD leadership training course. These gatherings provided valuable opportunities for growth, reflections, and deepening commitment to the mission.


Pam Brown, who has been a Regnum Christi member in the RCNY Tri-State locality for 15 years , and has been working for the Legionaries of Christ since 2009, is one of the many who gathered at Cheshire to participate in the weekend’s celebrations:

“Sitting in the chapel during Mass on Saturday, I had a smile on my face as I felt a sense of peace and belonging. I was with my family. We had shared so much in the last 15 years and now we were celebrating. The sun was streaming in, and everyone seemed on holiday – relaxed and joyful. After, on the grounds, you could hear greetings and laughter as we took a big family photo with all present. I was thrilled to be reunited with so many Legionaries and RC members I hadn’t seen in a while, and it was always fun to the see the Legionary priests interacting with the brothers, young men visiting, and Sacred Heart Apostolic School students. I will keep this day close to my heart as I return to the work God has given me to support the Legionaries and build the Kingdom of Christ!”


The anniversary weekend was such a beautiful opportunity for the RC family to gather and celebrate that Cheshire plans to host a Regnum Christi Friends and Family Day again next year on September 1, 2024.RC day 2024

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December 14, 2023 – A Kingdom for the Violent?






Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church


Matthew 11:11-15


Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your presence here with me as I humbly kneel before you to do you homage and praise you. I long for the reward you have promised to those who love you with undivided hearts. My heart is not at peace until it rests in you.


Petition: Lord, help me to long for and strive for the inexpressible joy of heaven.


  1. None Greater Than John: In a phrase tinged with admiration, Christ pays St. John the Baptist the highest of compliments: “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist.” And Christ reveals why: He is the last of the prophets, the one who brings the age of the law and the prophets to a close. But he is even more. He is Elijah, the one sent before the promised Messiah to prepare the way for him. Then comes an unexpected reversal: “Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Do not Christ’s words awaken in our hearts an ardent longing for heaven? What else could matter in life but to arrive there, where the least of us will be greater than the greatest one on this earth?


  1. Longing for Heaven: How much do we really desire to reach our final goal? Does our attitude sometimes reflect St. Augustine’s during the process of his conversion, before he received the final, definitive grace of entrusting his life entirely to God? Do we not have to confess that we often say to God, “Lord, please bring me to heaven—but not yet!”? St. Cyprian reflects on this phenomenon in one of his homilies: “How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will!”


  1. The Kingdom of Heaven Suffers Violence: A true longing for heaven is necessary, because it is not easy to arrive there. Christ assures us, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence.” What does Our Lord mean by this enigmatic affirmation? Surely he does not intend to contradict his own new commandment of love? The “violence” Christ speaks of must be done exclusively to ourselves. In order to ascend the heights of holiness we need to follow in the footsteps of St. John the Baptist, dying to our earthly tendencies. Am I prepared to renounce what often seems most intimately a part of me? Can I beg the Lord for humility? “That others may be more loved than I. That others may be called to occupy posts and I may be forgotten. That others may be preferred to me in everything. Lord Jesus, make this my prayer” (from the Litany of Humility, traditional prayer).


Conversation with Christ: Lord, you are showing me that heaven is not for the weak and the soft, but for those who are strong in dying to themselves and living for you and for souls. Help me to grow in fortitude in order to win heaven.


Resolution: Today, when I experience something painful or difficult, I will offer up the unpleasantness to God, knowing it is nothing in comparison to the reward of heaven that awaits me.


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Alex Kucera


Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!