In the Catholic Church, Holy Thursday is the day that commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and ministerial priesthood.
It is an appropriate day to appreciate the work and dedication of all good priests.
Amongst them are a great many priests (and seminarians, future priests) in the Legion of Christ who have helped thousands of people to grow spiritually, learn their faith better, and engage in apostolic work.
I acknowledge that some people who have been hurt by the Legion of Christ are convinced the organization must be destroyed, that it cannot be reformed. I understand their position. However, as we prepare for Easter, I would like to say something that we don’t see often enough (hardly ever!) on blogs dealing with the Legionaries of Christ: reasons to appreciate their good work and achievements.
10 Reasons to Like the Legion of Christ
1.- Professionalism: Legionary priests and seminarians are enthusiastic, well-educated, and disciplined. They take their commitment very seriously.
2.-They attract great vocations: One can complain about the methodology but historically they have had a great ability to attract the best and the brightest.
3.- Appreciation for the Liturgy: Devout and “professional” celebrations, first-rate Gregorian chant, reverence and respect. No ill fitting vestments for the Legionaries.
4.- Thriving Lay Movement: current membership of Regnum Christi is still claimed to be about 70,000 youths, adults, deacons and priests in more than 30 countries. One outreach program “Missionary Families” has gathered a total of over 200,000 “missionaries” who have visited 9 million families in 12,000 towns and communities in 30 countries, including the United States. Give them their due: the whole notion of “lay movements” is fairly new. The Church is not just for priests anymore.
5.- Evangelization & Missions: They are directly involved in the catechesis and sacramental care of the native Mayan people in the 19,360 square mile missionary territory of Quintana Roo, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. 28 Mano Amiga schools serve more than 16,000 children underprivileged children in 7 countries. Last year almost 60,000 people benefited from free medical care from quality doctors and nurses, including a team of 200 medical missionaries who offered their care free of charge. The priests I’ve known in Quintana Roo are superb missionaries, most of them doing their very best despite the scandal.
6.- Communications: Excellent publications such as “Sacerdos Magazine,” the “Ecclesia” scholarly journal, the electronic newsletter, “e-Priest,” and an abundance of professionally managed websites in multiple languages.
7.- Education: They have an excellent, international system of schools and universities. They focus on three objectives: Teaching cultural and scientific knowledge, Educating sensitivity and human faculties, Forming the knowledge and practice of their Christian faith.
8.- Loyalty to the Pope: this key attribute is built into their DNA. Hopefully, it will be the feature that ultimately enables total reform of the congregation.
9.- Efficient Fundraisers: like it or not, religious congregations have to raise funds. They have had extraordinary success even when one discounts the financial abuses of the founder
10.- Youth Outreach: despite excesses in recruitment, the Legionaries are outstanding in their efforts to effectively reach out and offer attractive programs for young people - in a field where the Church has been losing ground.