The 2023 Regnum Christi North American Territorial Convention took place November 2-5, 2023, in Chicago with 102 delegates from all four Regnum Christi vocations from the United States, Canada, the Philippines, and South Korea. It is interesting to note that more than half of the delegates to the Convention had never been to a convention like this before; a new generation of leaders is accepting the torch. The atmosphere was ideal for community discernment: full freedom of expression, mature mutual respect, active listening, universal participation, beautiful liturgies, space for silent and prayerful reflection, and a well-balanced distribution of time.
The Convention began with an opening assembly, which included presentations from the Regnum Christi Federation, The Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, and the Legionaries of Christ. In her report, Cathie Zentner, Territorial Directive College Delegate, thanked the delegates for being willing to serve in the four-day event. She noted, “The rollout of the Federation over the last four years has implied some big changes. At the same time that we have been changing, the world has been changing. While this context has been changing, the mission has remained constant. We have not stopped evangelizing. We keep
living the mission.” In the upcoming days, the delegates will discern together what they believe the mission should continue to be for Regnum Christi in the North American Territory.
Kathleen Murphy, Territorial Director of the Consecrated Women, shared that in the years since their institutional crisis and the renewal it provoked, she recognizes a gift. In the over 80 Consecrated Women in this territory, she sees “a renewed fire of love in their hearts, strengthened friendships, a new dynamism in the mission, joy, co-responsibility, women who are deeply in love with Jesus Christ, anchored and rooted in prayer, and dedicated to bringing his love to others.”
In his address, Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC, shared that the Legionaries of Christ in the territory are looking forward to the future and the mission of the Legion and Regnum Christi, initiating a process of optimizing the order in this territory for mission, sustained impact, and growth.
Day 2 of the Convention began with a vote on what topics the delegates would address in the next three days. They chose to focus on
- Growing Regnum Christi
- Evangelizing People and Culture Through the Lens of our Charism
- Building Relationships between Regnum Christi and Institutions
- Understanding and Assimilating our RC Identity
Through discussion and discernment in small groups and plenary sessions, the delegates drafted and voted on propositions to send as input to the General Convention. The 14 small groups, made up of mixed vocations and locations, discussed the themes, sharing their experiences, lights, and convictions. After meeting as small groups, the delegates came back together to share ideas with the larger group and vote for the propositions that would go forward.
The Convention strongly expressed the desire that members across all areas, vocations, and life stages have to live their Regnum Christi identity and mission more boldly, joyfully, and freely. It also reflected that the Federation structure is working, and the territorial priorities in place in the last three years have borne fruit. The territory is well-equipped with the valuable input of the Convention as it makes plans to create a new strategic plan in 2024 that will focus on enhancing the good that is happening and strengthening both our incarnational approach to formation (formation that includes experiences, accompaniment, community, and apostolate as means for formation) and our nuanced identity as both an apostolic body (SRCF no. 3) as well as a community of apostles.
A highlight mentioned by many delegates was the opportunity to explore the experiences of other vocations and locations, listening to each other and discerning together the common threads in the ways God is impacting people and culture across the territory. As the delegates continued to get to know each other and build relationships, they enjoyed times of prayer, daily mass, and social where they could relax and continue to make the most of the strong sense of family and communion present at the Convention.
The lay delegates also elected five lay representatives of the territory who would go to the General Convention. They are Cathie Zentner (Calgary, Canada), Donna Garrett (Omaha, Nebraska), Andrew Rawicki (Dallas, Texas), Tony Frese (Atlanta, Georgia), and Horacio Gomez (Dallas, Texas). Kerrie Rivard (Atlanta, Georgia) will also attend the General Convention as a member of the General Plenary Council. The Legionaries of Christ, Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, and Lay Consecrated Men will elect their delegates shortly.
Donna Garrett, Andrew Rawicki, Cathie Zentner, Horacio Gomez, Tony Frese