The history of our locality
Updated: Sep 11
The first seeds of our locality were planted in 1991 with only 10 members in the Greater Toronto Area, including Helen and Jim Powers, who are still active members today. Our first members lived in Scarborough, Brampton, and Milton and would regularly gather for their Encounter with Christ meetings. Eventually, that faithfulness bore fruit when new members from Mississauga were welcomed and joined the spiritual family. The Legionary priests used to drive from Cornwall, Ontario monthly, and visit for a few days to preach retreats and provide Spiritual Direction to the members. In November of 1998, our locality celebrated its first Regnum Christi Day on the feast of Christ the King.
The first Regnum Christi apostolate was initiated by Helen and Jim Powers when they began facilitating the “Familia” program at Holy Rosary Parish in Milton. In 2000, Paul and Kerrie Rivard arrived from Regina, Saskatchewan, and providentially, the section grew in numbers and the time to multiply into more teams had come. Our ‘family tree’ at that time included 6 teams: 4 women’s teams in Scarborough, Mississauga, and Milton and 2 men’s teams in Oakville and Scarborough.
Between 2000 and 2006, our members began to organize and facilitate various programs in their respective parishes. In 2004, Kerrie Rivard started the K4J (vacation bible school) program in Milton and Paul initiated the Conquest Boys’ club in 2006. Deb D’Ettore was our locality’s first Section Director and was instrumental in initiating the Challenge Club for girls in Milton around this time, which is still vibrantly growing today!
With God’s grace, by 2007 we had grown to 70 members; Fr. Kenneth Leblanc, LC was the Section Director for the men and women and Kerrie Rivard was the Women’s Section Assistant. The Rivard family moved to Atlanta in 2007 and Deb D’Ettore and her family moved to New Brunswick. Over the following years, our members learned to be more attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to guide their work and to become more organized and effective with their mission to evangelize. Impelled by the charism of our Movement, our members revealed Christ’s love to others by initiating and facilitating different events and programs such as men’s and women’s retreats, marriage renewal evenings, and local conference days.
Our locality’s geographic territory is large, spanning over all Eastern Canada, the members in our diaspora include Cornwall, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Our localities hub spans over two dioceses, the Archdiocese of Toronto, and the Diocese of Hamilton. The Archdiocese of Toronto is comprised of 1.9 million Catholics and 225 parishes. The Diocese of Hamilton currently has 124 parishes, 22 missions, and over 600,000 Catholics along with 151 active priests and 13 religious congregations of both men and women. In 2009, the Legionaries of Christ were granted permission to reside in Oakville and actively serve in the Hamilton Diocese. Today, we are blessed to have 3 Legionaries living in the Oakville community.
Since 2009 our locality has experienced renewed and steady growth, with teams of perseverance forming with members from Toronto, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Newmarket, and Halton area. Our infrastructure has slowly taken shape through the establishment of an event planning team in 2011 which led to the formation of an ‘AFIRE’ team in 2015 and then to a Local Committee. Given the geographic size of our locality, we have created two groups, the East and the West, and have appointed a Group Leaders to assist in accompanying the team leaders in both groups. Currently, we have over 100 adult members, 5 men’s teams, and 9 women’s teams. Our Young Adults section is beginning to flourish, and we have 50 ECYD members. May the Lord continue to bless us as we “grow forward” in the years ahead!
In April 2020, our local governance changed from having and a Local Director and Local Committee to Local College with a Chair.
The servant leaders of our Local College include 5 lay members and 3 Legionaries:
· Fr. Louis de Vaugelas, LC as Chair
· Fr. Pierre Caouette, LC, as Superior of the Legionaries of Christ Community (ex-officio member)
· Fr. Jerek Scherber, LC as ECYD Boys Director
· Maria Luisa Gamez, as ECYD Girls Director
· Francisco Gamez as Men’s Section Director
· Alicia Cestra as Women’s Section Director
· Oscar Strassburger as Resource Coordinator
· Sonja Dalle Ave as Secretary