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Pope praise for Legionaries of Christ

In a week of liturgies, meetings and official documents, Pope John Paul II and Vatican offices have spotlighted the growing influence of the Legionaries of Christ and the associated movement, Regnum Christi.

The events coincided with celebrations in Rome of the 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination of the Legionaries' founder and head, Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado.

Among other things, the pope entrusted to the Legionaries the administration of an important church institution in the Holy Land, Jerusalem's Notre Dame Center. He also approved the statutes and charism of the Regnum Christi movement.

A top Vatican official ordained 59 Legionaries of Christ priests from 10 countries and said the new vocations underline the international nature of the religious order.

Closing the celebrations at the Vatican yesterday, the Holy Father presided over an enthusiastic encounter with some 4000 Legionaries of Christ priests and seminarians and Regnum Christi members.

The pope thanked the Legionaries and Regnum Christi members for the loyalty they have shown to the church and to the pontiff. Their style of apostolate, he said, rightly reflects the need to proclaim Gospel truths fearlessly, "with intellectual depth and with courage."

In a letter posted on the Legionaries' Web site, the pope congratulated Fr Maciel for 60 years of "intense, generous and fruitful priestly ministry." The pope said he wanted to join in the "canticle of praise and thanksgiving" for the great things the priest has accomplished and said Father Maciel has always been concerned with the "integral promotion of the person."

Fr Maciel, 84, founded the Legionaries in 1941, and it has grown to include about 500 priests and 2,500 seminarians, who work in more than 20 countries. The Regnum Christi movement has tens of thousands of members around the world, most of them lay men and women.

Pope, Vatican officials spotlight Legionaries, Regnum Christi (Catholic News Service 30/11/04)

Legionaries of Christ | Letter from Pope John Paul II to the Father Marcial Maciel
Regnum Christi

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31 Dec 2004