Story by Reagan Scott
(SNR) - For more than 25 years, local members of Regnum Christi have been serving in their parishes in order to help people encounter Christ through faith and fellowship.
Regnum Christi (“Kingdom of Christ”) is a worldwide organization sponsored by the Catholic Church, according to Bill Mines, a member of one of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ’s Regnum Christi teams. In total, the organization is made up of about 30,000 members including lay men and women, consecrated men and women, and the Legionaries of Christ, an order of priests.
In Lincoln, Regnum Christi’s members include about 80 lay men and 30 lay women, comprising small men’s and women’s teams in various parishes throughout the area, including St. Peter, St. John the Apostle, the Cathedral of the Risen Christ parishes in Lincoln and St. Mary in Denton. There is also a team of mothers from the area who meet at the John XXIII Center in Lincoln.
“We try to have smaller teams because our meetings involve lots of discussion and we want to give everyone the chance to talk,” Mines said.
The teams grow organically, as members are encouraged to bring others in by reaching out to friends and inviting them to be a part of the organization.
“We try to bring in members the way Christ did, one person at a time,” said Herb Reese, a 26-year member of Regnum Christi and a team leader of one of Cathedral’s men’s teams.
The local Regnum Christi organizations are overseen by a board called the Christus Foundation, of which Mines is also the president.
“Our goal is to build people up spiritually and get them involved in their parishes,” Mines said. “We achieve that through multiple apostolates.”
For every Regnum Christi member, the first apostolate that they have is their family.
“When you show your spouse the love and attention they deserve, and show that to your children, that grows through the family,” Mines said.
After family, the members focus their apostolates on the Church, working with priests to improve their parishes.
“That can be anything as simple as visiting the sick, serving as an acolyte or lectoring,” Reese said. Regnum Christi members might also sing in their parish choir or sponsor holy hours.
“We want to help our parishes grow in faith and love for life,” Reese said. “Our goal is to bring Christ to others through words and actions.”
Other members find apostolates outside their parishes, working to better their communities.
Last fall, the Denton team sponsored street evangelization in the Haymarket. One man’s apostolate is making sure that Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House is stocked with quality, Catholic books. Reese’s apostolate includes helping out with Leadership Camp at Camp Kateri every summer, which he has been doing for the past 12 years.
Some members of Regnum Christi have even taken their apostolates worldwide. Regnum Christi members Dr. Tim Fischer and Dr. Michael O’Donnell have led mission trips to Mexico and El Salvador, respectively.
One thing Reese stressed was that members of Regnum Christi don’t necessarily work on their apostolates alone.
“The Serra Club and the Knights of Columbus help with these apostolates too,” he said.
Through their combined efforts, these organizations all work together to better serve the Lincoln area and the Diocese of Lincoln as a whole.
Every spring, the men of Regnum Christi sponsor a retreat called Man-to-Man, a retreat for lay men who want to grow in their faith.
This year’s retreat will be held Feb. 24-26 at Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House near Waverly.
“Every year we select a priest to be the retreat master,” Mines said. “We give the priest a lot of latitude for what’s on their heart.”
This year’s retreat master is Father Sean Kilcawley. He will speak on prayer and battle, and he chose the name “Fearless Fatherhood.”
“I think a lot of people would agree that fatherhood is in crisis in our country and in our culture right now,” Father Kilcawley said. “Fatherhood has to be learned from Christ and we can do that by looking at Christ and His relationship with His father.”
Father Kilcawley said he hopes to help men gain a relationship with God and help them learn to be fathers in their own communities and in their families.
“The focus of the retreat will be on our own spiritual lives,” he said, “so we can be more effective as natural and spiritual fathers.”
For this reason, Father. Kilcawley encouraged single men to attend the retreat as well.
“All men are called to be spiritual fathers in their own way, shape or form,” he said.
Father Kilcawley said the retreat is also a way to share the benefits he has gained from strengthening his relationship with God.
“As I’ve grown in my identity as a beloved son of the Father, I’ve seen how much more effective my priesthood has grown. I want to do the same thing for other men,” he said.
Through his encounters with Regnum Christi, Father Kilcawley has seen the impact that the organization has made in Lincoln, and even across the Unites States through the national apostolate Integrity Restored, in which he has been involved for two years.
“I really admire the work [Regnum Christi] does and I admire the commitment of the men and women involved in it,” Father Kilcawley said.
As the Regnum Christi community continues to grow near Lincoln, the members hope to expand to every parish in the city and even try to get a team started at the UNL Newman Center.
“We’re really trying to get that personal encounter with Christ because we’re all trying to be saints,” Reese said.