Saturday, August 29, 2009

Legionary professions at Cheshire

On Saturday, August 29 a group of young Legionaries took their religious vows. Here are notes of a friend’s impressions after the ceremonies:

Today at 11am was the day of religious professions for the Legion in Cheshire, Connecticut, at St. Bridget’s Church, which is downtown Cheshire a few miles or so from the seminary. It was chilly and a little wet. Aside from knowing one of the brothers I was anxious to see also how they would handle the whole thing given the circumstances.

There were 23 brothers making first religious vows, 6 renewing their vows, and 6 taking their final vows. They made these vows in these three groups in the middle of Mass.

Father Corcuera himself presided, and said Mass, and gave the homily. There was also a bishop there in attendance, though he wasn’t introduced at Mass and nobody I asked really knew who he was. Many Legionary priests were there, of course, including, I think, the territorial leaders.

They still sprinkle in little commentaries at various points in the Mass they way they used to do with passages from Father Maciel. I didn’t recognize any passages from him today. One talked about how the parents were bringing up the gifts to the altar, symbolizing the sacrifice the parents make to give their children to religious life. There were many fervent Regnum Christ families, women in veils, families kneeling on the marble floor. The church was packed.

I wanted to know how the scandal would be handled, so that’s what I will emphasize. It was not mentioned directly at all, of course, but a lot of what Father Alvaro was saying seemed to relate to it very closely. Here is what Father Alvaro said in his homily, I think pretty accurately as we brainstormed a little to see how much we remembered. We didn’t take notes, but some people were, hanging on his every word. He apologized for his English, but it wasn’t really necessary. He spoke pretty well in English, but some of it wasn’t necessarily perfectly clear.

He began the sermon by saying, thank you all for being here. What a note said to me at a Legionary house where I’m staying, I say also to you, thank you for being here. Thank you to the priests for making the Eucharist possible. Thank you families for being willing to be here. Thank you brothers who are professing, for your witness. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

He said, we are closer to God than ever, because everything works together for the good. We now have pains and difficulties and tears, but we trust in God. Jesus lost everything on the cross but gained everything. “Vale la pena!” The pain is worth it!

He said that he was reading about Saint Francis of Assisi last month. Francis once had a terrible temptation, he lost his happiness and thought God had abandoned him, but he learned that was when God was closest to him. A dark night of the soul, indeed. But the darkest night is when we know God loves us the most.

He talked about how on his recent visit to the Holy Land he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane in front of a 2000 year old olive tree that could have been there with Jesus. In his prayers that day he came to understand how much Jesus suffered. Jesus didn’t know how he could do it and he felt in that prayer that he didn’t know how he was going to get through all this. But suffering leads to the cross and to the resurrection.

He preached on the first reading, the one in which God calls Samuel and he says, “here am I Lord.” This is what the professing brothers have said to the Lord themselves. He joked, sometimes I wish I could go back to sleep until the Lord calls. But that’s not possible. This got a lot of laughter.

He said, I believe, we are sorry for not understanding the suffering of others. We accept our suffering and unite it to the suffering of others. We know that all suffering is united to the suffering of Christ on the cross. We are sorry for what we have done, past, present, and future, yes, even the future, because we know we are weak, and will always be in need of God’s mercy. We are always grateful to God for the Legion and for the Movement.

He ended by saying, and I think this is pretty much a direct quote, “Thank you all again. Thank you for being willing all to be in the same boat. In a storm, you love the boat even more.”

Of course the scandal was not mentioned directly, but Father Alvaro gave the impression in his words of being not so happy with the situation he was in – dark night of the soul, he wished he could just go to sleep, he doesn’t know how he’ll get through the Gethsemane -- and of being very, very grateful to those who are sticking with the Legion. He kept on saying, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. He does have such a beaming and smiling personality.

At the end of the Mass we said the “Prayer for the pope,” “…in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your vicar on earth, the pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path…”

Father Corcuera gave a conclusion more prepared than the homily. It was in Spanish and read in translation immediately also again in English by another Father. Again, paraphrasing I think pretty accurately, he said, again, thank you to everyone, from the bottom of our hearts. We ask pardon. And we begin asking forgiveness for ourselves by forgiving others. We love our superiors and thank them for their fidelity. We also forgive our superiors, even our general director. This got a big laugh.

He spoke again of the boat. One section of consecrated women have a model boat and keep thinking, you love the boat even more in a storm. We are safe as apostles in a storm with Christ in the boat. The devil is the enemy of the church and wants to destroy her. We read in the Apocalypse reading a couple weeks ago on the feast of Assumption that the devil swept the stars out of the sky. Let’s not let him sweep the stars out of the sky, but let’s let him sweep the stars all over the sky, so that they give more light to everyone.

He and the bishop walked out down the aisle. Father Alvaro spoke to almost everyone along the aisle, it took a while. One young girl a couple rows back, after meeting him, went, wow!

39 comments:

  1. The Legion for so many years used to feed us the Legionary Line, we would have to sit in the Auditory in Rome and listen to Nuestro Padre talk about Chastity, Conscience, conspiracy of the masons and Jews to destroy the Church. I heard it all, I believe it all. Today the Legion has lost its founder and its direction. I really pity any Man who joins them, I was inside I know what is ahead of them. The turnover of relgious in the Legion was amazing, for ever 2 that joined 1 would leave, but they were expects at massaging the numbers. 50% of them will leave with 1000 dollars and sent back home.

    Now.. to be fair on the Legion, they give a good formation, I personally saw no sexual abuse. But its clear that it was founded by a Peodophile priest who used any means possible to get the congregation approved. The Legionaries only exist because of Fraud and abuse is at the root of it. Where does it go from here?

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  2. The attrition rate for consecrated is even higher. Of the 20 girls that I entered with, I think 6 are left.

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  3. 嫉妒能使人得到短暫的快感,但也能使不幸更辛酸。 ..................................................

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  4. 我們不是因為快樂而歌唱,而是唱歌使我們快樂..................................................

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  5. 失去金錢的人,失去很多;失去朋友的人,失去更多;失去信心的人,失去所有。.........................

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  6. Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another...................................................

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  7. 這個時代,不缺乏感傷,但缺乏反思~~希望能多看到值得思考.................................................................

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  8. 到處逛逛~~來繞繞留個言囉~~~~.................................................................                           

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  9. 什麼樣的學習計畫並不重要,重要的是你是什麼樣的人。............................................................

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  10. 唯有學習不已的老師,才能認真的教,唯有燃燒自己,才能點亮他人的燈............................................................

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  11. 愛,拆開來是心和受兩個字。用心去接受對方的一切,用心去愛對方的所有。......................................................................

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