Dear RC Family,
I want to begin by assuring you of my prayers. This is a challenging time we are experiencing, with so much uncertainty. The anxiety, fear and despair are palpable. We must remember that we are called to be a people of deep prayer and hope.
The COVID-19 spread is causing many Provincial and local governments and dioceses to update and respond to new and emerging realities almost daily as the issue progresses and intensifies.
Regarding any upcoming local Regnum Christi events, we will continue to observe and follow both the latest CDC guidelines which can be found at coronavirus.gov, as well as the local diocesan policies. It is recommended to check these daily, as things are rapidly escalating and changing by the hour.
Providentially, it seems that we did not have any local events planned in and around the Greater Toronto Area until May, and we will keep you informed if any of those will need to be postponed or cancelled. The two retreats in April, in the diaspora will depend largely on the guidelines provided in their individual province and diocese.
I would like to offer some best practices, keeping in mind the latest guidelines from the CDC regarding social distancing and avoiding hosting any event or gathering of more than 10 people.
1. Encounters with Christ – Many of you have teams of 10 or fewer but are still, out of prudence, choosing to host virtual encounters rather than meeting in person. There are many options to host a virtual face-to-face video meeting online, such as Google Hangouts and Skype (free services) or Zoom.com (which offers a free account, but limits each meeting to 40 minutes and offers a paid service with no time limit restriction). Our locality has a paid Zoom account and I have offered the team leaders use of this account.
2. Retreats – Retreats are increasingly being offered virtually across the territory as well for large and small retreats alike. You can invite one of the local LC’s to provide a virtual retreat for your team via the tools mentioned above. You can continue to access https://rcspirituality.org/
3. Spiritual Direction – Spiritual direction can also be done through free video calling platforms on your phone like Apple’s FaceTime and WhatsApp or through online platforms mentioned above.
4. Mass – The words of Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, remind us of the challenge we face in this moment: “The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our life in Christ. Not to celebrate the Holy Eucharist on the day of the Lord is an extraordinary spiritual suffering for the disciples of Jesus Christ. Indeed, in ancient times, the Christians had a saying, ‘Without the Sunday Eucharist, we cannot continue.’ For this reason, while we are following the advice of the health authorities, as is our civic duty, we hope that this period [of restrictions] will be brief.” During this time when so many cannot attend Holy Mass in person, we invite you to join Fr. Mark Haydu, LC, as he offers Daily Mass livestreamed on the “Legionaries of Christ Facebook page” or the handle @legionofchrist and it can be found using either of these search tools in Facebook. Masses will be livestreamed Monday through Saturday at 7:30am Eastern Time, and Sundays at 9:00am Eastern Time. Fr. Mark and Fr. Jason Smith, LC, also invite you to pray the Rosary with them live on weekdays at 6:00pm Eastern Time daily on the Legionaries of Christ Facebook page. A number of other Legionaries of Christ will also be offering livestreams of the Holy Mass over social media at different times and in different time zones, you can find the latest list here. Please share this broadly, we want to ensure everyone, who would like to, has access to these resources in this difficult moment.
I encourage you all to do your part to help keep yourselves, your families, communities and those we serve safe. While this is a difficult time for our country and the world, we can also look at the positive aspects of perhaps taking advantage of more time with our family and more time for fervent prayer when it is so deeply needed.
Lastly, I share this letter with you from the new General Directive College that was sent on March 17, 2020. In the letter they state “The fragility that we experience in circumstances like this can be a moment of special grace and fruitfulness, because it invites us to place ourselves in God’s hands and in his providence; without ceasing to collaborate, doing all that we humanly can, and responsibly following the indications of the competent authorities.
May God bless you for all you do for Christ in Regnum Christi!
Tima Borges – Local Director, RC Ontario