Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 31, 2005
Collins works closely with Legionaries
Group banned in Minneapolis but accepted in Edmonton
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
While barred by the archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, the Legionaries of Christ have a close relationship with the archbishop of Edmonton.
Archbishop Thomas Collins says he meets regularly with the Legionaries' lay associate movement, Regnum Christi, and said the group is doing good work in the archdiocese.
"The Regnum Christi people have been most cooperative; very, very cooperative. And they are very zealous, active parishioners and I have great admiration for their work" Collins said in an interview.
Late last year Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis barred the Legionaries of Christ from his archdiocese saying they were encouraging a "parallel church." He also instructed parish heads to keep Regnum Christi "completely separate from all activities of the parishes and the archdiocese."
Collins called the Legionaries "a religious order very much approved by the holy father." The archdiocese doesn't have any Legionary priests but a few dozen members of Regnum Christi are involved in "various apostolic activities."
"I think they are doing very good work. I've tried to work together very closely with both the Legionaries' representative and also with the local Regnum Christi people to be sure that they are connected into the local Church, the local parish. When that doesn't happen there can be very real problems."
Collins thinks what happened in the St. Paul-Minnesota Archdiocese "is a very real possibility not only for Regnum Christi but any other spiritual group."
"And so in order to avoid that I have had numerous meetings with the leadership and the members of many different spiritual groups, including Regnum Christi, in order to maintain that close contact," he said.
Local Regnum Christi members hold retreats for their members, have a youth association and run catechetical programs.
"I must say they have been very good in letting me know what goes on in terms of their activities in the archdiocese as a whole," Collins said.
He said the Legionary priest responsible for the local Regnum Christi group always asks for his permission before visiting. The priest comes regularly to run retreats and to work with the lay movement in their activities.
Last year Collins met with every member of Regnum Christi and meets regularly with the group's leadership. He also meets regularly with Opus Dei and the charismatic renewal.
"It would be a terrible thing if the most fervent Catholics were all in these separate little groups. But I've found that the local members of Regnum Christi and the charismatic renewal and Opus Dei and all these various other groups have a great desire to work together with the local Church."
Collins would like to have "a great meeting" of the various spiritual organizations operating in the archdiocese "so they get to meet one another and so that they can appreciate what they are all doing and coordinate and work together with the local parish."
He said he has asked several of these groups, including Regnum Christi, to speak to the Council of Priests and perhaps to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council "so that they are drawn into the life of the archdiocese and the parishes."
A Mexican priest, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, 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.
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