If you went to one of two big Catholic conventions this summer, you may have seen a Vatican Cardinal.

The Knights of Columbus was visited by the Vatican’s secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone  (see page 1).

Cardinal Frank Rodé visited the Youth and Family Encounter event, hosted by the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement.

Cardinal Rodé is the Vatican’s point man on consecrated life. That means his visit to the convention of the Regnum Christi apostolic movement was significant.

“Your charism is a true gift that the Holy Spirit has given to each one of you personally so that you can serve the Church,” said Cardinal Rodé. “God has given you this gift so that each one of you can reflect his light. That is why the charism is both a gift and a responsibility.”

More than 5,000 registered participants attended the three day-long convention. Among the speakers were Legionary Father Owen Kearns (who is publisher and editor in chief of the Register) and Father Alvaro Corcuera, general director of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi lay movement of apostolate.

Both Father Corcuera and Cardinal Rodé spoke about the charism of the Regnum Christi movement. Father Corcuera identified charity as the heart of the charism, and described how charity in speech was characteristic of that charity.

Cardinal Rodé’s speech articulated several aspects of the charism of Regnum Christi and expressed the Vatican’s appreciation of it.

Love for Peter

The cardinal told the audience that a chief feature of the movement’s charism is its love for the successors of Peter — a love which he said is returned.

“I know well how much your founder insisted that Regnum Christi would be devoid of meaning outside of the Church,” he said. “It is like the DNA that identifies you. Wherever a Regnum Christi member is, there is a deep communion with the Vicar of Christ and the mystical body of Christ.”

The Holy Father appreciates that charism, he said.

“I know how much joy this gives me, but above all I know how much joy this gives Pope Benedict XVI. Several days ago the Holy Father received me in audience, and I spoke to him about this encounter. He was very pleased and he was happy to hear about this encounter in Atlanta. The Pope knows he can count on you and your obedience and love. The charity in speech that characterizes you is a priceless witness.”

Apostolic Zeal

Cardinal Rodé also identified apostolic zeal as a center of the Regnum Christi charism.

“It is striking to see how strongly your missionary apostolates are growing: Youth for the Third Millennium, Missionary Family, Helping Hands Medical Missions,” he said.

“I and many others cannot help but marvel at the beautiful spectacle of tens of thousands of missionaries, more each year, who participate in the Holy Week missions. One can see that you feel the need to proclaim the Gospel, and that you are not afraid to make sacrifices to do so.”

Growth

He urged members of Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ to grow to include more members.

“Do not be afraid to grow; rather, be afraid of not growing,” he said. “How much good you will do if you grow! And how much good, sadly, will remain undone if you do not! The Church needs you, and it needs you even stronger and bigger. To be able to carry out your apostolic charism, you must grow.”

He identified growth as another key part of Regnum Christi’s charism.

“To grow in breadth means to grow in numbers, so that through Regnum Christi there will be more apostles, more apostolates, more initiatives at the service of the Church and souls,” said Cardinal Rodé. “This is what the Church and the world need. And, I would say, it is what each one of you needs if you are not going to disappoint God’s plan for your lives.”

In conclusion, he reiterated that Regnum Christi is just one of many exciting new movements in the Church.

“You know very well that Regnum Christi is only one part of God’s great plan to transform the world at the beginning of this third millennium of Christianity,” he said. “Just one part, true, but it’s the part that God has put in your hands, and the part for which you are personally responsible.”