Regnum Christi

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Regnum Christi Members Walk the Path of St. Teresa of Avila

Regnum Christi Members in Spain walked 3 days between two key sites in the life of St. Teresa of Avila, growing spiritually through the experience.

Those walking were students from the Francisco de Vitoria University, the Major College at Francisco de Vitoria (a kind of dormitory that also provides formation an opportunities to live your faith in university), and young people from Regnum Christi. They walked from Avila to Alba de Tormes, from October 25-27, 2019. Paulina Núñez, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, and Fr. Gabriel Guajardo, LC, accompanied them. This pilgrimage has been an opportunity to put aside the routine, to approach Christ through nature, personal reflection, and relationships with other people who understand the desire to search for Christ, want to approach him, and are willing to make a pilgrimage.

Andrés Pou, a member of Regnum Christi and one of the ministry leaders at Francisco de Vitoria Major College, explains the role that this experience plays in the experience of faith of young university students: “It has been an opportunity to live the faith in a different way to what perhaps young people today are used to.” He continued, “We have been able to share our beliefs, our concerns, desires and fears in an environment of youth and friendship that is rarely achieved in normal life. For many it has also been a rediscovery of the experience of the faith, partly thanks to the incredible atmosphere that was formed, and also because the Lord makes use of these incredible experiences and the people around us to meet us.”

One of the most memorable moments of this pilgrimage was led by a group of young people who decided to get up at 5:00 in the morning and walk all the way to Alba de Tormes in one day, instead of just walking the 10km (6 miles) planned for that day. Andrés noted, “Along the way we had the opportunity to see the sunrise while traversing a landscape that we will surely never forget. The final touch of the day was to end the pilgrimage with the celebration of the Mass and, as some of us left early to walk longer, we arrived exactly at the beginning of Mass, presenting to the Lord our accumulated fatigue of more than 60 km [37 miles] and the joy of having reached the end accompanied by Him.”

On the other hand, Ana Flores, journalism student and team leader of an Encounter with Christ team in the Francisco de Vitoria Major College, explains, “The path of St. Teresa, as well as the other activities proposed by the Major College’s ministry, have been a great opportunity to live and strengthen my commitments as an incorporated member of Regnum Christi.” Specifically on this pilgrimage, she points out, “I could take advantage of moments of silence to speak with God, I reflected with him on all that leads me to be a Catholic and a member of Regnum Christi. The experience also allowed me to get to know other people of the Major College and Francisco de Vitoria University better.” Ana noted how this helps her as a team leader: “I was able to meet the girls from my Encounters with Christ in a more informal way on the pilgrimage, really see them as friends, discover their personalities, and what I can do for them as team leader. It was an experience of feeling accompanied by faith, of remembering that need to be a Community and of having an ever-greater desire to bring God to every corner of the world.”

You can read the original on the Spanish language Regnum Christi site.

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Spiritual Weekend Getaway for Moms and Adult Daughters

The Regnum Christi young woman’s section of Almagro (in South-East Madrid, Spain) organized an event for young women to have a weekend away with their moms.

Thirteen young women between 18 and 29 signed up to spend the weekend with their mothers in Avila, Spain, home of St. Theresa. Paty López, age 29, who runs an event agency, spoke about it. She concluded, “I recommend this event to all mothers and daughters, and encourage them to leave their fears aside and launch into this adventure of getting to know each other more, sharing, forgiving, and spending quality time and many laughs together.”

Paty explained the history, “This new spiritual adventure getaway began five years ago with two Regnum Christi consecrated women who have been accompanying young people for a long time, Tere Rodríguez and Cecilia Ruiloba. They began to consider the possibility of a weekend with mothers and daughters. After much prayer, trusting in God to know that He was going to choose the right moment, and with enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; they decided to do it.”

Paty explained the goal and planning a little more: “The weekend was intended for young women from the Almagro section, between 18 and 29 years old, so that we could have some time with our mothers. The relationship with a mother is fundamental and, many times, it can be wounded by both parties, so it is an important thing to work on. Deepening in this relationship and addressing these hurts is something that is not often done, and it has a very positive impact since it gives a deeper personal security, spiritual and personal growth, and also helps to bring forgiveness.”

Paty noted that her team of RC young women got the ball rolling, “With great enthusiasm, we signed up 13 young women who, in turn, invited their mothers to spend the weekend with us. Some of the mothers traveled to Avila from their areas of residence: Barcelona, ​​Madrid, and Córdoba. It has been two and a half days squeezed to the fullest. We have been able to share, mothers and daughters have gotten to know each other better, we toured Ávila, played team games, had times of prayer and encounters with Christ, and had the opportunity to meet other mothers and others young women from the Almagro section.”

Paty continued, “It has been a joy to see our mothers so excited, and to see the entire team so enthusiastic and enjoying every moment, every activity. It is incredible to see how, in just one weekend, you can create so much deep unity with each other, where people who were complete strangers have ended up having a beautiful friendship and wanting to continue keeping in touch. We have had a true  atmosphere of trust, joy, and fun times.”

She noted, “The daughters were very happy to be able to teach our mothers about the charism of Regnum Christi, what we do in our section of Almagro, what an Encounter with Christ is, how we enjoy our Regnum Christi family, and the joy we feel from keep Christ present in our lives.”

Paty when on to explain how Regnum Christi had helped her, “It has personally helped me make a break in the week and in my life, to see everything with a spiritual perspective and to share it with Jesus. It has also been a gift to be able to live it with my mother, Isabel. We love spending time together but, in the end because of the whirlwind of day to day life, we do not often have the opportunity to enjoy moments like these. I loved that my mother met the Consecrated Women, my friends and their mothers. My family is Catholic but, except for my cousin, no one else belongs to Regnum Christi, so I am happy that my mother was able to know a bit about what RC is.”

Paty concluded, “Without a doubt, I recommend to all mothers and daughters who are considering making this weekend that they leave their fears aside and launch into this adventure of knowing each other more deeply, sharing, and forgiving.”

The original is on the Regnum Christi site of Spain.

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A Consecrated Woman’s Magdalene Mission

I have heard it said that God has a way of fulfilling your dreams.  Three of my childhood dreams were to travel the world, be a missionary in a foreign country, and write a book.  God fulfilled that and much more when He sent me to Ancient Magdala in the Holy Land!


Jennifer Ristine got an unanticipated phone call in May of 2014.  “We are looking for consecrated women to form a community in Magdala in the Holy Land.  What do you think about going?”  Having happily taught in the RC Consecrated Women’s formation center, Mater Ecclesiae College, in Greenville, Rhode Island for 12 years, she was not anticipating such a drastic change of assignment.

Discernment and obedience took her halfway across the world to mission in a foreign land for the next four years.  She had always been moved by Jesus’ words to his disciples on the sea of Galilee, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  In Magdala, she walked and prayed on that very beach where Jesus called the first disciples.  Ancient Magdala is located on the western shores of the sea of Galilee, just north of the Jewish city of Tiberias. 

What sort of mission work would a consecrated woman do in Ancient Magdala?  In September 2014, when she arrived, the place was being run by a handful of volunteers and bursting at the seams with potential to touch thousands of people.  The project began through the initiative of the Legionary of Christ, Fr Juan Solana.  In his efforts to build a guest house on the Sea of Galilee, land was purchased next to a Franciscan owned site identified as the ancient town of Magdala, associated with Mary Magdalene.  God’s providence led them to discover a first-century synagogue in 2009, a synagogue in use during Jesus’ public life.  Visitors began flocking to the site.  Upon arrival in 2014, Jennifer’s task was to ensure hospitality for the increasing number of visitors requesting tours, as well as train tour guides on the historical, cultural, and spiritual aspects of the site, be a spokesperson for media requests, and begin the Magdalena Institute to promote the dignity of the human person with an emphasis on women.  There was no shortage of work to be done!

She often laughed at the irony of her mission in Magdala.  Jesus preached, “Go out to the whole world and tell the good news!”  But there in Magdala, the world came to her.  In her four years serving on site, over 400,000 visitors entered Magdala from over 85 countries.  Her interactions with people of various religious and cultural backgrounds increased a desire to share the good news through the figure of Mary Magdalene.  On the saint’s feast day, July 22, 2018, Magdala released the first publication of Jennifer’s book entitled Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala

Shortly afterwards, she transferred to Washington DC, where she made the most of an increasing interest in this enigmatic and popular saint, offering conferences and retreats based on a creative reflection of her life story, pieced together from archaeology, scripture, historical tradition, and spiritual theology.  Since her time in Magdala, she has travelled the states, offering these insights to approximately 30 parish groups.  As an RC Spirituality contributor she wrote their first Meditation Novena, Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.  In addition, her focus in DC has been to offer support for spiritual and faith formation of adults.  This has led to a variety of projects, from assisting in RCIA at her local parish, to engagement with Divine Mercy University’s Spiritual Direction certificate program, assisting women through the spiritual exercises retreats with conferences on the spiritual life and spiritual direction, and offering conferences on theology of the body related topics.  While her childhood dreams were fulfilled in Magdala, God always has bigger dreams than we can imagine.  She confesses,

Magdala was a mission assignment that I never would have dreamt of for myself, but it fulfilled the desires of my heart to reach out to many people and share the good news.  The experience also taught me that the Christian journey is an entry into the Paschal mystery of Christ, involving the cross and the resurrection.  Magdala was a beautiful, yet purifying mission; one in which I discovered the virtue of hope. Hope is like the light of Christ shining in the darkness, and giving light to all those in need.  For me hope was nurtured and offered not only through preaching and hearing the good news, but from experiences of touching the living Christ: Jesus: our Good News in person.   The Holy Land was an amazing place to encounter Jesus, crucified and risen, my only hope.

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Pray with Regnum Christi Daily Meditations on your Smart Speaker

Praying with Regnum Christi Daily Meditations just got easier!  Daily meditations on the day’s Gospel, written by priests of the Legionaries of Christ, are available in a written format and in a podcast through a daily email sent directly to your inbox. 

In addition, the podcast version is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and other streaming platforms, perfect for praying in the car or at home! The new streaming podcasts, which average about seven minutes long, also make it possible for you to get your meditations simply by asking Siri, Alexa or Google for them.

Regnum Christi Daily Meditations are a great way to begin your day in conversation with Christ, and in communion with the Church as you pray with the Gospel that will be proclaimed in every mass around the world that day.  The meditations have been a long-standing service of the Legionaries of Christ, and are written by a team of priests. Each one includes the Gospel from the day’s mass, an introductory prayer and petition, three points to reflect on, and a resolution to help you go deeper in your relationship with Christ and live out the Gospel’s message in the day ahead.  

Regnum Christi Daily Meditations currently go out to over 16,000 people around the world by email, every day.

How to get your Daily Meditation Podcast

Amazon Alexa: When you tell your Alexa enabled device “Alexa, play Regnum Christi Daily Meditations on Apple Podcasts,” your smart speaker will automatically play the current day’s podcast meditation.

Google Home: “Hey Google, play Regnum Christi Daily Meditations Podcast”

Apple Devices: “Hey Siri, play Regnum Christi Daily Meditation Podcast”

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How About a Minute with Mary?

Fifty-five percent of American adults pray daily, according to the Pew Research Center. 

To the credit of Catholics, their daily prayer rate is higher: 59 percent. But before you puff up with pride, the Catholic rate is well below the daily prayer rate for Evangelicals is 79 percent; for Mormons, 85 percent; for Muslims, 69 percent; for Jehovah’s Witness, 90 percent. 

Of course, the only thing these numbers show is how often people report that they pray. It doesn’t give a qualitative evaluation of the depth of their prayer. Of course, these statistics might make some readers feel a bit uneasy. Maybe you fall into the nearly one-fourth of adults who seldom or never pray. 

Whether you pray daily or have suffered from prayer avoidance syndrome, you may find a moment of peace in the daily practice of the Marian Minute. 

The Marian Minute is a project of The Marian Center of Dallas, which has the mission to assist young professionals in leading people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ through our mother Mary reflected in activities that promote prayer campaigns and pilgrimages to Catholic shrines and destinations around the world. 

The Marian Center of Dallas was founded 1989. A group of young professionals founded Marian Minute in 2011 and assumed direction of the center after that year’s World Youth day in Dallas, Texas who wanted a simple way to foster devotion to Mary and help others build a relationship with her through a consistent life of prayer. 

From the beginning, the mission was to explore creative means and new technology to increase Marian devotion not only among the youth but to anyone seeking a deeper friendship with Our Blessed Mother. 

The first campaign was inspired by recognizing that young people are often too absorbed by the distractions of daily life to dedicate even one minute to pray. The founders set to launch an innovative campaign during World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain on the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. With one simple mission: to promote Mary and daily prayer. They distributed thousands of rosary wristbands inviting people to devote one daily Marian minute. The campaign quickly drew response from thousands of people from over 100 countries. 

Inspired by the first words spoken by Pope Francis from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica when he invited people from around the world to pray for Bishop Emeritus Benedict the XVI saying “Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him” before adding, “Pray for me” asking the faithful to pray that the Lord might bless him. The Marian Minute team set to launch its second campaign by distributing thousands of “prayer coins” featuring a portrait of Pope Francis meant to be passed along to friends after sharing a Marian minute of prayer for the pope, building a global prayer chain. Once again, the campaign drew great response from thousands of people all over the world. 

Other apostolates are on the horizon such as Marian pilgrimages and for our local community we have a speaker series centered on Marian spirituality and theology. 

Regnum Christi members Karla Alfaro and Horacio Gomez are two of the key people who founded and continue to lead the Marian Center and Marian Minute. 

“Since launching Marian Minute, my relationship with Our Lady has simply grown and grown,” Karla said. She was raised Catholic in a Mexican family and met Regnum Christi in Dallas. She was impressed with the apostolic zeal of the people she met in Dallas and wanted to be a part of it. “I really wanted to do something to bring people closer to Mary.”  

Horacio was born and raised is Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to the United States for college. He attended Regnum Christi schools and the charism has been a part of his experience in a professional job that has taken him to many parts of the world. 

When Marian Minute was launched, the idea online prayer was new and one of the “techies” among the RC young professionals mentioned a website that challenged viewers to “do nothing” for two minutes.  

“We thought if someone can promote the idea of doing nothing for a couple minutes we ought to be able to attract people to pray for a minute,” Horacio said. “We especially wanted to reach out to millennials.” 

“The idea is to help young people build a habit of prayer,” Karla said. “Mary wants to keep it simple.” 

And simple it is. Go to the Marian Minute site, click on start, and pray for a minute. WARNING: Mary wants you to pay attention for a full minute, so if you move your computer mouse, the timer starts over. 

Karla said that they believed they had a good idea and in 2011 they were ahead of the “technology” curve. She was right; the first month of the Marian Minute website it had 100,000 visitors from 120 countries. Today, it has 500-1000 visitors a day and is offered in 10 languages. 

The group had another campaign for World Youth Day in Rio: Rosary stickers that are affixed to a cell phone. They are a reminder to pray – and of what is really important in life. 

They also decided to have a pilgrimage to that event, which grew to other pilgrimages – Marian Steps — to various Catholic destinations around the world – nearly a dozen to date – including Rome, Greece, France, and Spain. 

Horacio said he envisions the future of their apostolate including the growth of both branches: Marian Minute and Marian Steps pilgrimages. And he is looking for some help. 

No, this isn’t the place in the story where there is an appeal for money. Karla and Horacio are looking for ideas. 

Truth be told, in most Regnum Christi apostolates the ideas far outpace the resources. In the case of the Marian Center, there is seed money to fund ideas to increase prayer – especially by millennials.  So if you have entrepreneurial energy and a creative idea for promoting prayer, here is the place to contact. 

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 Encountering Jesus through Novenas 

novena

NOUN (in the Roman Catholic Church) a form of worship consisting of special prayers or services on nine successive days. Origin: Mid 19th century: from medieval Latin, from Latin novem ‘nine’. Pronunciation: novena /nə(ʊ)ˈviːnə/

– Oxford English Dictionary

 

“What I want is simply to help people to pray. We will only have the strength to cooperate with Jesus in building his Kingdom if we are people of prayer. Prayer, in all its many forms, is the central ‘activity’ of our lives because it puts us in direct contact with Jesus who is the central figure of our lives. If we pray, we will experience Jesus’ love, and if we experience his love, we will work with passion and zeal to spread his love. I see my novenas simply as one small way of helping those who feel called to pray them, to encounter Jesus in their hearts.” 

– Fr. Andre LaBudde, LC

 

In 2012, Fr. Andrew LaBudde LC, was a brother in Rome, preparing himself for the priesthood.  He noticed that a number of his fellow brothers were seeking deeper sources of spirituality in the wake of the problems with the founder.   Many of the Legionaries of Christ superiors and Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, who was leading the order through a renewal at the time,  had spoken about the need for Legionaries to write spirituality to share with their brothers. The idea came to him write his own novena for the Feast of the Sacred Heart. He composed a prayer and wrote a reflection for each of the nine days leading up to the solemnity. Knowing a few of his friends, fellow Legionary brothers, would benefit from the novena, he would simply print the prayers out and slip the novena reflection under their door each day, without saying anything. By the end of the nine days, they figured out that Fr. Andrew was the author.  Realizing that not only did he enjoy writing the prayers, but also that the other brothers wanted him to continue, he kept writing and sharing new reflections each day for the rest of that June, the month of the Sacred Heart.

Later that Summer, someone shared with Fr. Andrew that over the past month or so, prayer had been very difficult for him, and he had felt very much alone, but what helped him to get through that difficult time and find spiritual nourishment were Fr. Andrew’s daily reflections.  That testimony made Fr. Andrew decide to continue to write more prayers. He wrote more novenas for major feast days, as well as short reflections for different saints, and reflections for the Via Crucis (way of the cross).  He would give them to whoever wanted to receive them. Soon brothers were continuously approaching him, asking if they could be put on his list.

A novena can help with spiritual growth in many ways: it can be a way to pray for a grace one needs or wants; to go deeper into a specific theme, or to help prepare for the celebration of a particular feast day. Fr. Andrew tries to share the richness of a feast day through the novenas he writes because in his experience, “Often we celebrate a feast and the only idea we get from it is what the homilist preaches about that day, while normally there is still much more to learn and benefit from spiritually in that feast. If we are praying and reflecting over the feast for nine days, we will benefit more from the actual celebration of the feast day.”

After ordination in 2014, Fr. Andrew arrived at his first priestly mission as the assistant to the novice instructor at the Legionaries of Christ’s seminary in Cheshire, CT, and asked the novice instructor if he could offer the novenas and reflections to those novices who wanted them.   At this time he was also beginning to send the novenas to other people through email. Fr. Simon Devereux, LC, had the idea of offering them on the novitiate’s website so more people could subscribe to receive them.

“I try to get a novena out for all the major feast days,” shared Fr. Andrew, “and some popular saint days. Normally there is one and sometimes two novenas a month. I try as well, to make the novena in some way Christ-centered. Not every novena is centered on Jesus explicitly, but I try to do so.” Fr. Andrew’s novenas often incorporate Sacred Scripture, and quotes from saints and Church magisterium.

While sharing the inspiration and welcome reception for his novenas, Fr. Andrew also acknowledges that “Not everyone likes novenas, which is okay. There are a lot of ‘words’ in a novena, which can be tedious for some to pray. What’s important is that those who pray these novenas do so slowly, with pauses, refection, and personal examination. The novena isn’t a magical formula to get some grace if it is prayed perfectly for nine days. It is a tool to help us pray. If you start late or miss a day or two, you can continue to pray it!”

Fr. Andrew recently moved to a new mission at the Legionaries of Christ’s apostolic school in Germany, but he continues to write and share novenas.  He currently has XX subscribers to his novenas, which are published for the Feast of Christ the King, The Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas, The Conversion of St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, The Annunciation, St. Joseph, Easter, Pentecost, Sacred Heart, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. John Vianney, Exultation of the Holy Cross, Our Lady of Sorrows, St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian Kolbe, The Holy Angels, All Saints Day, All Souls Day and more. He is currently working on a few more feast days, like the Transfiguration and the Chair of St. Peter.

You can sign up here, on the website of the Cheshire seminary, by selecting “Fr. Andrew’s novenas” at the bottom of the page.

 

 

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Fr. Andrew LaBudde was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1982. He joined the Legionaries of Christ in 2001, and has studied and carried out pastoral work in Germany, Spain, Italy and the United States. Fr. LaBudde received his licentiate degree in Philosophy with a specialization in metaphysics from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College, in Rome, Italy. From that same college he received a bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology. He was ordained in Rome in December of 2014 and currently serves at the Legionaries of Christ’s apostolic school in Germany.

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Magdala House: A Place of Love

Loveland is a pretty little town in Southwest Ohio, serving largely as a “bedroom” community for folks who work in the greater Cincinnati area.

It developed in the late 1800s, mostly as a resort area.  That earned it the nickname “Little Switzerland of the Miami Valley.”

Loveland’s 12,000 residents enjoy nice schools, parks, bike trails, a library, and a roller rink. It is known more for being peaceful than being party central.

On Summers Pond Drive is a place where the spirit of Mary of Magdala has set down strong roots. It is the home of Regnum Christi member Lisa Cusmano, who feels especially close to one of Christ’s closest collaborators, who more than most people learned the meaning of true love.

You never can tell when and where a saint may appear. Here in Loveland, Magdala House dwells in the Cusmano home.

Inspired by the life of Saint Mary Magdalene, Magdala House offers a place of inspiration for women seeking God to come away and rest awhile to discover anew the unique and particular love God has for each person.(Mark 6:3)

Retreats are based upon the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and are designed to provide a personal experience of Jesus in a small group setting of peace and beauty with reflective prayer, music, art and all things beautiful.  Through the experience, participants can discover the personal, holy and passionate relationship that Jesus desires to share with every woman.

It’s not a bible study…It’s not a prayer group…It’s an experience designed for a personal encounter with Jesus.

Lisa can’t point to a single inspiration for Magdala, but as she grew in her knowledge of the faith through Regnum Christi – including various courses and retreats – she realized most women she encountered didn’t have the opportunities that her vocation to Regnum Christi had given her.  Determined to find a way for those women to encounter Christ as she had, Mary Magdalene became her inspiration.

Upon the elevation of her liturgy to that of a feast (June 2016 by Pope Francis), Lisa began a search for the importance of such an honor for the saint who loved much.  However, it didn’t take long to exhaust the resource of good, solid exegesis and commentary about Mary Magdalene.

Inspired to tell the story of Mary Magdalene, the story of a redeemed woman so passionately in love with Christ, she observed that the great saint “had lived the Ignatian exercises every day of her life after encountering Christ.”  How could Lisa bring that experience to women in 2018?

Her answer was Magdala House. Following a year of intense study, she developed the Mary of Magdala. At His Feet materials to offer a “retreat” that meets for half a day, one day a week for five weeks.  And there also are single sessions for people who just want to get started on the journey. During Lent of this year, Lisa ran a pilot retreat with a team of experienced Regnum Christi women.  Since then an additional 18 women have “retreated” at Magdala House, and two Mary of Magdala At His Feet retreats begin in August and September.

“But my target group for this isn’t necessarily members of Regnum Christ,” Lisa explained. “I’m more interested in reaching women who do not have the opportunities for small groups and retreats to encounter Christ that we Regnum Christi members do.  God has blessed that desire, and I have participants who have fallen away from their Catholic faith – and some who are not even Catholic to begin with.”

Lisa has an extensive academic background, none of it in areas that suggest she would be qualified to develop spiritual retreats. But having been blessed to experience a rich formation in the Catholic faith, she takes seriously the call to apostleship.  She is also grateful for the prayerful support and encouragement from her spiritual family who prays intentionally for the apostolate and the intentions of the women who attend.

What sort of person launches an apostolate such as Magdala House? Lisa took time to respond to a few questions that go far toward the answer…

How was the faith live in your family as you grew up?

I grew up in Jamestown, Kentucky, in the southern part of the state that’s still considered “mission” territory of the Church.  Our parish, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, had just 43 families back then.  I was baptized Catholic and entered Church just before 13th birthday. My earliest memory of grownup faith was Fr Dave Stoltz talking to me once and I remember his voice so clearly still… “You know, Lisa you can choose” he said in relation to my church going at the time.  So, choose I did, nothing remarkable really, just where I’d always felt most “at home”.

Today, I’ve been married to my husband, Cory, for 24 years. We have three sons: Evan, 20, and twins Adam and Brandon, 18. Though I’ve lived in Cincinnati now more years than not, I still consider Kentucky “home sweet home”.

My undergraduate degree is from Eastern Kentucky University, in mathematics; my masters from the University of North Carolina, in biostatistics.  I worked for Procter & Gamble as a statistician in pharmaceutical research – but left in 2005 to spend more time with my family and Regnum Christi. Most recently, I’ve worked as a parish pastoral associate.

How did you get involved in Regnum Christi?

I was introduced through the Familia apostolate… my team was the first “graduating” team from Cincinnati, 2000-2004.  I’d never even heard of papal documents, let alone read them, and was curious about “who” had developed such a study.  That’s when I met Melanie Wieck, Fr Matthew van Smoorenburg, LC, and Fr Eamon Kelly, LC.

Who were the people most influential for you in Regnum Christi?

There were many, but the one who stands out is Melanie Wieck.  When I first joined RC, there were no teams that met during the evenings and I was still working at P&G.  She was the group leader at the time, the first one in Cincinnati; she’s a founding member.  Since there was no team life available to me, she met with me often… talk about personal one-on-one formation!  It was given to me, and boy did I ever need it, I didn’t know the difference between a Holy Hour and a Happy Hour! I “hit the books” during Familia when I realized the wealth of what was available to study.  I’d given 80 hours a week to statistics for the better part of a decade, so it was time to study my faith with the same zeal.

Melanie was everything the “woman of the Kingdom” means to me… she was in love with Jesus, her husband, her family… She was charming, delightful, joyful, calm, serene, bold, courageous. She was smart, loved learning and no matter what, she always had time for others.  She loved me no matter what, and what grace she had to hand over RC leadership to me.  I was so different than her, and she had to watch me change things, mess things up… But she always supported my choices.  She’d say, Jesus was counting on me and she knew I could do it. Yes, we were best of friends, but she was a spiritual mother too.

Her death from colon cancer in March 2014 was hard.  She was only 50!  I turn 50 next year… The suffering was fast and she was gone quickly.  Her death brought together so many women who had left after the scandal and subsequent difficult years. Relationships began to reestablish and the laity renewal began that year as well.  I found myself not just thinking of her, but being her, trying my best to give what I had received.

Why did you start Magdala House?

To give back what I’ve received basically…The thought and inspiration for a real place where women could come away and rest awhile has been on my heart for a long while.  Women simply don’t have the opportunity to do that… Women don’t even give themselves permission to do that.  We don’t even know we need it!

Who am I to do something like this?  To think that I have enough knowledge and know-how to put together a retreat and preach it?  Well… I asked God and He in turn asked me “who else is gonna do it, Lis?”  And then after the usual procrastinations, God finally just asked me “what are you waiting on?  An invitation…  You don’t need one, Lis… You have a home, you have women who come to you for guidance, you have this desire to love through preaching.  What are you waiting on?”  When God is that direct, it’s time to do something!

Why Mary Magdala?

In the years of the Regnum Christi renewal, I’d been asked to do much waiting.  Saints in similar situations to ours are the best go-tos, right?  And no one waited better than Mary Magdalene, by the tomb, she waited for the promise of the Resurrection.  Both the scandal and the experience of a priest friend dying of cancer felt much like death sometimes, and I was waiting on resurrection that I knew God promised, just like she waited.  During those years she waited with me, and I learned from her.

 

How is your apostolate influence by Regnum Christi?

I guess the question that would be easier to answer how is it NOT influenced by Regnum Christi… the charism finds it’s expression in me personally through how all this has even come about; attention to personal formation, knowing Jesus personally, the desire to “do something”, intentional efforts open to inspiration, recognizing a need and trying to meet it with talents God gifted to me, the spiritual family in support.  Don’t all those things sound familiar?

And lay people are called to be Jesus’ beloveds, but we often associate that with religious.  It is not true! As much as I equally have reception of our charism, I hold equal reception of Our Lord’s desire that I be His beloved.  It isn’t reserved for religious. Jesus desires it for everyone!   My life in Regnum Christi has taught me this truth and provided an opportunity to live this reality in everyday secular life.  Like the spiritual family supporting me and this apostolate, it’s really the whole family’s faithfulness to our charism that supports my efforts toward this piece of mission God has given me.  So one might say it has Regnum Christi written all over it.

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Regnum Christi and the Rosary Invasion of Lincoln

Wayne and Mary Ringer

Wayne Ringer keeps getting himself into things.  He lives in the Diocese of Lincoln, NE, led by Bishop James Conley, who also keeps getting into things. 

Wayne and other Regnum Christi members in Lincoln seem to be the “go to” people when the bishop needs something done: “Anything you need, we’re there for you,” Wayne said. 

Sometimes the bishop needs something relatively little, like his request during a Newman Center event hosted by Regnum Christi members, when he asked them for19,000 Miraculous Medals for all the Catholic school students and CCD kids in the diocese. 

Sometimes the bishop needs help with something bigger.  He called on RC members to organize the March 27, 2018, Eucharistic procession around the Planned Parenthood officer in Lincoln.  Regnum Christi member Mike Davis spearheaded the effort – in less than three weeks. 

Sometimes the bishop needs help for something huge. As a result, Wayne finds himself helping to coordinate the Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade. 

Bishop Conley

Bishop Conley got the idea for the Crusade from the Diocese of Spokane, where it had been highly successful. The Crusades have been held in in numerous cities and foreign countries. The program was developed by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).  And it turns out that the priest leading this particular apostolate is Fr. James Kelleher, SOLT, a friend of Bishop Conley’s from their days studying in Rome. 

The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) was founded in 1958, by Fr. James Flanagan in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM. Currently, SOLT has missions in 12 countries where members “live as disciples of Jesus through Mary in Marian-Trinitarian communion on Ecclesial Family Teams in areas of deepest apostolic need.” 

The Crusade has three phases, all designed to bring people into a closer relationship with Mary and Christ.  Phase one includes talks in parishes and schools, and gatherings in homes: for men, Saints on Tap; for women, Vino et Veritas. Wayne created a library of study guides and videos for use in these sessions, drawing liberally from Regnum Christi meditations and materials.  

The goal of phase one is for people to make a daily rosary commitment. For “experienced” rosary reciters, this would mean a full rosary a day. For those new to this form of prayer, perhaps a decade a day would be enough to start. 

“The Crusade is easy to understand and extremely practical,” Wayne said. “And you see in how we have it organized a good deal of Regnum Christi methodology.” 

But to organize the program in every parish – 136 in Diocese of Lincoln – requires time and lots of work, all volunteer. Wayne has a volunteer coordinator in each parish; nearly all are men. 

“We intentionally recruited men into these positions, and not because women would not have done the job as well – maybe better,” Wayne explained.  “But we believe men need the experience of being leaders in the parish, stepping up and being faith leaders in their families. 

“Look in the pews and you’ll see more women than men,” Wayne said.  “But we know that children are more likely to hold onto their faith if the father is a strong and participating Catholic.  

The parish effort seems to be working.  Twenty percent of the diocese – about 4,500 families – already have made a daily rosary commitment.   

Wayne and the other organizers will need an army of participants, because they have huge plans. 

Phase one of the Crusade peaks with the Husker Catholic Candle-Lit Rosary on April 29, 2018.  Picture this: More than 3,000 Catholics form a human circle around the entire University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and pray the rosary together while holding lighted candles. 

“Yes, we had to buy a parade permit,” Wayne said. “And I’m sure there will be counter-demonstrators, but you just come to expect that.  We hope the event will draw positive attention to the faith, maybe even national media.” 

Then it will be on to phase two, which has a goal of people committing to a weekly or bi-weekly hour of adoration. As in the first phase, there will be Sunday talks in parishes. (And more Saints on Tap – and Vino for the ladies.) 

Phase two will climax with a Eucharistic Procession around the state capitol building, led by Bishop Conley, on November 4, 2018. The preparation period for consecration to Jesus through Mary starts the following day and culminates on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8. 

Phase three – tentative until phase one is complete – is where things get really huge.  It will include efforts to increase the number of parishes that have perpetual adoration – and increase the hours of adoration in smaller parishes.  To encourage frequent confession, a Sunday will be picked for all the homilies in the diocese to talk about the benefits of confession. 

Fr. Kelleher speaking to students

And then there will be the “stadium event.” That is scheduled for May 5, 2019, with a Global Living Rosary (rosary in many languages) and Eucharistic Adoration let by Bishop Conley and Fr. Kelleher from SOLT. And yes, the stadium event will be held in a really big football stadium, one of which Lincoln most certainly has. 

“It’s a big program, but think of the advantage the bishop has by coming to Regnum Christi for help,” Wayne said. “We already have a strong organization and many of the parish coordinators for the Crusade are RC members.” 

On the family side, Wayne and Mary Ringer will celebrate their 20th anniversary this year. They have seven children – four daughters and three sons – kindergarten through high school senior.  All three boys attend Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Indiana. 

The Ringer family

Wayne, who spent some time in seminary discerning a vocation to the priesthood, gives credit to several people for his commitment to the Catholic faith, as well as his apostolic zeal: 

  • Msgr. Leonard Kalin, the late head of the Newman Center in Lincoln, who was critical as a director and role model to Wayne in his youth. 
  • Regnum Christi, especially Fr. Daniel Polzer, LC, who laid the foundation for Regnum Christi in Lincoln. 
  • Msgr. Mark Huber, pastor of St. Mary’s, the Ringer’s parish in Denton, NE. 
  • Herb Reese, RC leader in Lincoln, who heads the Lincoln Leadership Camp for boys. 

 

 

“Herb has been a real mentor and was apostolically engaged long before I was,” Wayne said.  “We have in Herb a real Catholic leader who believes in the mission of the Church. And it rubs off on others. 

“I’m convinced the way to a man’s heart is to ask him to do something. It doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be active and help others. The apostolate is important to men; you have to get them involved. That’s one of the benefits of the Rosary Crusade – getting many men involved and living out their faith.” 

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

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!