Category Archives: Church (ecclesiology)

Slow, deliberate steps of renewal for Legion of Christ

The eyes of many are looking for signs of renewal, restructuring, reform of the Legion of Christ following the very unsavory revelations of the founder’s life as a priest and sexual and financial abuses. Father Marcial Maciel founded the Congregation of the Legion of Christ in 1941, died in 2008. There was a papal takeover in 2009 with Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, CS, as the Pope’s delegate. In February, the Legion will be begin a several year series of community-wide conversations and the “revision process.” The saga continues; wounds not yet healed; suffering not yet connected with the Sacrifice of the Cross.

Recent news of the Legion is here, here and here.

João Bráz de Aviz of Brasilia named by Pope as Prefect of Religious

João Bráz de Aviz of Brasilia.jpgPope Benedict XVI named today João Bráz de Aviz, 63, Archbishop of Brasilia, as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life  (AKA Congregation of Relgious), replacing Franc Cardinal Rode, CM.

Archbishop Bráz de Aviz’s family is Portugese and German. He is not a religious (and to hold the job it is not a prerequisite to be a vowed religious) but he was educated at a PIME seminary and he’s friendly with Focolare, even overseeing the beatification process for Focolare member Ginetta Calliari. At the service of the Pope at the Holy See, Bráz de Aviz is the second Latin American among the current leaders of one of the central offices.
Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz has been a bishop for nearly 17 years and has served as such in 4 dioceses, three of them as the Diocesan Ordinary.
Many consider Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz to be personable, reliable, discrete, relatively traditional and is not known to have a penchant for religious life (considered so because he’s not one). In short, he’s an outsider to much of the Vatican politics. What he’s connected to are the lay ecclesial movements which is also something Pope Benedict –and John Paul before him– is also very interested in.

Legion of Christ orders changes

Legion of Christ logo.JPG

The Legion of Christ in recent days has been making some changes to its way of proceeding. The other day, for example, the pontifical delegate Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, CS, named the committee that will examine and re-write the congregation’s constitutions (Fathers Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, Agostino Montan, CSI, and 4 LC priests –Roberto Aspe Hinojosa, Anthony Bannon, José García Sentandreu and Gabriel Sotres).
On December 6 but made public on the 11th, a decree was sent to the order’s superiors regarding the following:
  • a new way of referring to Father Marcial Maciae: either as “the founder of the Legion of Christ & Regnum Christi” or just “Father Maciel”;
  • photos of Father Maciel in public places are to be removed but given personal freedom, individuals are free to keep his image privately;
  • no dates concerning Father Maciel will be celebrated; the date of his death with be a day of prayer;
  • Father Maciel’s writings and talks will not be for sale in any of the congregation’s houses or works but a preacher may use Maciel’s works appropriately;
  • the place of internment of Father Maciel will be treated as a place of burial, nothing else;
  • retreat centers in Cotija will be places of prayer, reparation  and expiation of sin.

The Associated Press is running this story today, which does add more to the news release of the congregation but it does show the news is getting around.

As always, we beg the Holy Spirit to guide the seminarians in the discernment to follow the Lord in the vocation given.

The parish community is an expression of beauty & unity, Pope says

Pope Benedict visits a parish in his diocese a few times a year as any good bishop would do. Yesterday, Gaudete Sunday, he visited the parish community of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Here are few paragraphs of the Pope’s homily.

Benedict XVI, St Maximilian Kolbe Church Dec 12 2010.jpg

Together with all of you I
admire this new church and the parish buildings and with my presence I desire
to encourage you to realize in an ever better way the Church of living stones
that you yourselves are
. I know the many and significant efforts at
evangelization that you are engaged in. I exhort all of the faithful to make
your own contribution to the building up of the community, in particular in the
field of catechesis, the liturgy and charitypillars of the Christian life
— in communion with the whole Diocese of Rome. No community can live as a cell
that is isolated
from the diocesan context; it must rather be a living
expression of the beauty of the Church that, under the bishop’s leadership —
and in the parish, under the pastor’s leadership — walks in communion toward
the Kingdom of Heaven

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Remembering the women killed in El Salvador 30 years ago

4 El Salvador martyrs.jpgI was quite young when the 4 women were killed in El Salvador in 1980. They were killed months after the Servant of God Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed. Missionaries brutally killed for their faith Christ and service to the poor are part of the landscape of the proclamation of the Gospel. Since my high school days, I have kept these women in prayer, especially since Jean Donovan had a Connecticut connection. They were:

Sister Maura Clarke, MM
Sister Ita Ford, MM
Sister Dorothy Kazal, OSU
Miss Jean Donovan.
The Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers’ remembrance
The Maryknoll Sisters’ remembrance
The Vatican Radio story is here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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