Regnum Christi Spotlight – introducing Tony Macdonnell

tonyTony grew up in St. Peter’s, a small village on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada.   His parents are devout Catholics who gave life to 10 children.  Two of whom died shortly after birth.   He has six sisters and one brother and nineteen nieces and nephews.  The fourth oldest sister; Lorianne is also a consecrated member of Regnum Christi working in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tony’s childhood was filled with lots of sports, both competitive and in the neighborhood with friends; including soccer, basketball and hockey. His family lived near the ocean and the forest; so he spent many hours enjoying the beauty of nature.  In recent years his main sporting outlet has been running.  This fall he ran his 10th Marathon in Hartford.

Between 1989-1990 Tony’s view of religion/faith/God gradually changed. It became more personal and relevant to his daily world of work and play.   Prayer became a link to the God of Christianity.  This newfound faith needed outlets and almost immediately he sought out others with whom he could share his new faith journey.  This seeking and thirsting led him to many great people and ideas.   Tony is grateful to his parents who spurred him towards so many great opportunities.   This seeking also led him to found a non-profit Catholic bookstore and resource center in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He was the first President and co-founder of Veritas Books and Gifts.  Thanks be to God and the work of many great people this organization is still active today, 22 years later as a vibrant all volunteer institution that has assisted in the formation of thousands of people!         

In May 1993 Tony incorporated into the Regnum Christi movement.

From 1995 – 1997 Tony was a coworker with Mission Youth (Juventud Misionera) in Washington, DC.  During his second year of cowork, his spiritual director, himself and the Holy Spirit decided that he should try the consecrated men’s test your call summer program in Mexico City where the center for the Men’s Lay Consecrated life resides. It seemed like it might be a good fit, so in June of 1997 Tony traveled south without any knowledge of Spanish and jumped headfirst into daily soccer games with seven other young men discerning the consecrated life.  Tony has said, “the final decision was emotionally challenging, but I felt interiorly that God was asking for more and I needed to take the leap of faith.”

In 1997 he professed his first promises to the consecrated life and in 1999 Tony took his solemn private vows in Cheshire, CT.

Sharing the Catholic faith and his personal experience of it has been his passion and mission for 26 years.  He sees himself as a bridge builder between laypeople, religious,  priests and the Church.

After one year in Mexico Tony was re-assigned to Washington, DC to continue with the Mission Youth Ministry.  He took on the job of overseeing the formation of missionaries, mission directors and also became chief scout for mission sites around the country and internationally.  Over the next seven years he worked in over 30 US states and eight different countries.  This work was really a labor of love that enabled him to better understand the current state of the Catholic Church in North America and Western Europe.

From 2006-2010 Tony worked with Fr John Hopkins, LC and Fr Steven Reilly, LC in our retreat center that serves the Regional area of Maryland and Virginia.   In 2007 he became section director for both the adult and young men in Baltimore. In 2008 he was appointed as the Local Coordinator of Apostolate for the locality and ECYD (Encounter Christ in Your Day) Assistant for the youth program.

In 2010 Tony moved to New York to start working as a Religious Education Director within the Archdiocese of New York.  Currently he works in three parishes:  Sts. Peter & Paul / St Ursula in Fleetwood, Annunciation / Our Lady of Fatima in Crestwood and the Basilica of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Lower East Manhattan overseeing a variety of faith formation programs, and catechists.  This work involves children, youth and adults.  He is also an adviser on the NY Tri-State Regnum Christi governance team that sets the apostolic priorities for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.  Tony is also engaged at the Archdiocesan committee level with the various New Church Movements and Ecclesial Communities, the Youth Ministry council and the Lower Westchester and Manhattan Regional Religious Education Committees.

One of Tony’s current pre-occupations involves a review of the various methodologies and materials used in Parochial faith formation for both adults and children.  Alongside this he is spending time one on one and in small groups that help people to grow in their faith.

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