|The Legion of Christ began in the basement of this house.|
The following is a brief chronology of the most important
dates in the history of the Legion of Christ. For
a more detailed account, we recommend consulting the history
article on the Regnum Christi web page, as well as
the article on the Legion´s geographical expansion.
3rd, Fr Marcial Maciel (1920-2008) founds the Legion of Christ
in Mexico City.
In an audience on June 12th,
Pope Pius XII says that the new religious congregation
must contribute to the formation of Catholic leaders, especially in
In September, the first group of Legionaries leave
for Spain to study at the Pontifical University of Comillas.
On May 25, the Holy See grants the canonical approval
Nihil Obstat to the Legion of Christ.
On June 13, the
new congregation of the Legionaries of Christ is established by
Bishop Alfonso Espino y Silva, bishop of Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Major College of the Legionaries of Christ is established in
Rome. Today it is the general directorate of the Legion
of Christ and Regnum Christi.
The Cumbres Institute (a school)
opens in Mexico City. It is the first apostolate of
the Legion of Christ.
The first draft of what will
be the statutes of a movement for lay people is
drafted. Shortly after, the name Regnum Christi (Kingdom of Christ)
The Interamerican Cultural Center is inaugurated in Mexico
City for the formation of lay people.
Opening of the
Anahuac University in Mexico City.
In February, Pope Paul VI
grants definitive approval to the Legion of Christ with the
Decretum Laudis (Decree of Praise).
|60 Legionaries of Christ receive their priestly ordination from Pope John Paul II in January 1991.|
The first Mano Amigo School
for underprivileged children is opened in Mexico City.
Pope Paul VI entrusts the Legionaries of Christ with an
extensive mission territory in the Riviera Maya of Quintana Roo,
Mexico. This mission territory is now the Prelature of Cancun-Chetumal.
In teamwork with the lay people of Regnum
Christi, many works of apostolate are born, such as the
ECYD clubs (Education, Culture, and Youth Development) for adolescents, FAME
(Familia Mexicana), the Alpha-Omega center for counseling, Escuela de la
Fe, ANSPAC (Asociación Nacional pro Superación Personal, A.C.), etc.
On June 29, the Holy See gives its definitive approval
to the Constitutions of the Legion of Christ.
the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Legion of
Christ, Pope John Paul II ordains 60 new priests in
St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
The International Pontifical College
Maria Mater Ecclesiae is founded for the formation of diocesan
priests in Rome.
On September 15, the Athenaeum Regina
Apostolorum is established. Later, John Paul II will grant it
the title of “Pontifical.”
On November 26, the Holy See
grants definitive approval to the Regnum Christi Movement Statutes.
On the same day, John Paul II entrusts the care
and management of the Pontifical Notre Dame of Jerusalem
Institute to the Legionaries of Christ.
During the Third General
Chapter of the Legion of Christ, Fr Álvaro Corcuera,
LC, is elected as the new general director.
of Christ founds its first communities in the Philippines and
in South Korea.
A canonical investigation by the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith reaches sufficient moral certainty to impose
grave canonical sanctions on Fr Maciel, corresponding to the accusations
made against him, including the sexual abuse of minor seminarians.
Taking into account the advanced age and delicate health of
Fr Maciel, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
decides “to forego a canonical trial and invite the priest
to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing all
public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.”
|Father Alvaro Corcuera, general director of the Legionaries of Christ since January 2005, with Pope Benedict XVI.|
January 30, Fr Marcial Maciel passes away in Jacksonville, Florida.
His mortal remains are laid to rest in his hometown,
Cotija de la Paz, Michoacán (Mexico).
At the time of
the founder’s death, the congregation has 750 priests and 2,500
aspirants to the priesthood from 39 nationalities. There are 127
Legionary communities in 21 countries and close to 70,000 Regnum
Christi members, including 1,000 consecrated members. About 131,000 students attend
its schools and universities.
Also during this year, the Legion of
Christ opens its first communities in El Salvador and Hungary,
thus continuing the service that the Regnum Christi Movement was
already offering in family, social, educational, and youth ministry in
After a gradual internal process of gathering
information, the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ publicly confirms
that Fr Maciel had a daughter in the context of
a prolonged and stable relationship with a woman, along with
other gravely reprehensible behaviors. Some months later, the communications media
present two other people, siblings who state that they are
sons of Fr Maciel by his relationship with another woman.
March, Pope Benedict XVI decides to initiate an apostolic
visitation to the institutions of the Legion of Christ to
help the congregation overcome its existing difficulties. The apostolic visitation,
carried out by five bishops, begins on July 15.
On March 25, the superiors of the Legionaries of Christ
and Regnum Christi once again publicly and formally express their
deep sorrow for the gravely reproachable conduct of the Founder.
At the same time, they renew their commitment to continue
deepening their understanding of their history, charism and spirituality and
to undertake a journey of renewal under the guidance of
Upon concluding the Vatican’s investigation, Pope Benedict XVI decides
to continue accompanying the Legionaries of Christ. To this end,
on June 9th, the Pope names then-Archbishop Velasio De
Paolis as the Pontifical Delegate, who will guide the Congregation
of the Legionaries of Christ on its journey of revision
and renewal. At the same time an Apostolic Visitation (another
Vatican-led investigation) of the consecrated members of the Regnum Christi
Movement is announced.
On October 20, at the end of
a general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father
announces the celebration of a public consistory for the creation
of 24 new cardinals which would take place on November
20th. Among the new cardinals is Archbishop Velasio De
|Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, CS.|
In January, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis
announces the expansion of the General Council of the Legionaries
of Christ by two new members: Jesús Villagrasa, LC, and
Juan José Arrieta, LC.
During this year, all the Legionaries
of Christ participate in the process of reflection on and
revision of the Constitutions. We are working towards a text
that will help us to live the charism of the
Legion and Regnum Christi better and, above all, to experience
a deep renewal so as to live the Gospel more
fully and authentically.
In June, Bishop Ricardo Blázquez concludes the Apostolic
Visitation to the consecrated members of Regnum Christi. In October,
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis reflects with them regarding the journey
that lies before them, after having seen the report sent
by Bishop Blázquez.
In January, the consecrated men
and women of Regnum Christi begin an illuminative phase in
which they reflect on their way of life in light
of the many charisms within the Church.
In February, after a
consultation of the entire Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ,
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis names Fr. Sylvester Heereman, LC,
Vicar General of the Legion of Christ, replacing Fr. Luis
Garza Medina, LC. Fr. Deomar de Guedes, LC, replaces Fr.
Francisco Mateos, LC, as a member of the General Council.
In May, new General Directors for the consecrated life are
named: Jorge López for the masculine branch and Gloria Rodríguez
for the feminine branch. Their respective councils are also named.
Detailed documentation regarding recent developments related to the mandate of
the Pontifical Delegate are available here.