RC Convention 2022: Living our Charism through Collaboration
Over the weekend of September 23-25, 2022, one hundred fifty Regnum Christi leaders from across the North American Territory came to Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago to brainstorm how we can most fully live, lead, discern, and collaborate through the lens of our distinctive charism. Recognizing the ongoing urgency of our mission to evangelize and the necessity to adapt to the “today” of our localities, we all came with open minds and hearts and were ready to put into practice the new collaborative approach given to us through our recently promulgated Statutes of the Regnum Christi Federation approved by the Church on May 31, 2019.
Recognizing that the key to our collaboration is to more fully understand our charism, lead speaker Maria Knuth, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, reminded us that not only is our charism a gift from God given for this particular time in history, but it also reflects a particular aspect of Christ. For us, the mystery of Christ that the Regnum Christi family radiates is the mystery of Jesus as the pre-eminent Apostle of the Kingdom. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Our distinctive calling is to make present this aspect of Christ, which in many ways infused His entire public ministry. Maria cautioned that this charism is not to be understood as a method, model, technique, slogan, or project. Rather, we are to understand this charism as a grace, an access point into God’s own divine life. Even more poignant, she reminded us that every single member of Regnum Christi has this charism, and yet this charism is expressed uniquely within each individual according to that person’s gifts and talents. This means that we do not have to work exactly in the same way, but rather that we are able to understand ourselves more when we see this mystery reflected in others.
Now, more than ever, by meditating on the mystery of Christ as the Apostle who goes out to the people to reveal the love of His heart to them, we are to see and acknowledge that this collective charism is given to all of us. This is the lens through which we can see each other and better understand our mission. Whether we view ourselves as “suburban missionaries” or simply ones who are called to make the Kingdom of Christ present in the world, we know we are apostles. This perspective provided the lens through which the nine conference workshops revolved. Six workshops gave each leadership role (i.e. directors, section directors, and chaplains) an opportunity to come together to discuss the bright spots and the challenges of living out this mission as well as how we can continuously improve. Two workshops provided opportunities for these leadership categories to be mixed so that we could have a chance to learn from each other across different roles. And one workshop was dedicated to the localities so that each could brainstorm as a geographic entity. The sum of these nine workshops and four general mission-based presentations provided ample time for all participants to explore how we could most fully live, lead, discern, and collaborate through the lens of our distinctive charism.
Beyond these mission and identity-based components, we also came together to pray as a family. The highlight of each day for me was the Eucharist. Nothing in the world can compare to having fifty Legionary of Christ priests concelebrating mass with one hundred consecrated and lay members actively participating as the congregation. The vibrancy and power of these Holy Sacrifices of the Mass were unsurpassed in poignancy. It felt like we were in the center of a nuclear power plant that was radiating God’s love out to the world.
The ultimate purpose of this conference, with its focus on charism and collaboration, was to launch the first leg of the journey toward the General Regnum Christi Convention which will be held in Rome in April 2024. While our mission to evangelize remains the same, we must always be open to new ways to share the good news as the world and circumstances change around us. As all the leaders have now returned to their respective localities, each is charged with building and sustaining vibrant communities of apostles in their areas. All Regnum Christi members will have the opportunity to discern how to live out our apostolic mission in our context, develop a plan to make Christ present within these circumstances, and then to live out the plan as a thriving locality. Part of this process will be for each member to participate in our new national registry which will give everyone a formal way to vote for representatives from each locality to attend the General Convention. Eventually, all roads will lead to Rome in April 2024 as elected delegates will gather as a family of faith to continue discerning and exploring how to live out this extraordinary mission together.
Hope Hirshorn is the RC Director for the NY Tri-State. Hope has a M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Fordham, a M.P.A. and A.P.C in finance from NYU, and a certificate in Marian studies from her time in London. She and her husband reside in West Harrison, NY, and are the proud parents of six children.