29 Legionaries of Christ Ordained at the 2023 Priestly Ordinations
On April 29th, 2023, Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, LC, president of the Pontifical Commission and the Governorate of Vatican City State, ordained 29 Legionaries of Christ to the priesthood in the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome. The ceremony was attended by several Legionaries of Christ priests and religious, consecrated women and men, and lay members of Regnum Christi, as well as family and friends of the newly ordained from around the world. Father John Connor, general director of the Legionaries of Christ, presented the candidates for ordination.
Concelebrating with Cardinal Vérgez, LC, were Bishops Brian Farrell, LC, secretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity; Rolandas Makrickas, Titular Bishop of Tolentino; Faustino Armendáriz, Bishop of Durango; and Juan María Huerta, OFM, Bishop Prelate of El Salto. More than 150 Legionary of Christ priests also concelebrated at the 2023 priestly ordinations.
Father John Connor, LC, shared that “as General Director, it fills me with hope to see these brothers of ours reach this moment. I thank God and congratulate each one of them, their relatives, their educators, and I pray that the gift they receive today at ordination may be fruitful throughout their priestly ministry.”
During the homily, Cardinal Vérgez, LC, spoke about a reflection from Cardinal Pironio, “What do I wish for you? What I have always wished for myself – that you be ‘a man of God,’ that you live in joyful intimacy with the Father to ceaselessly communicate God to others, in the Word, in the Eucharist, by your simple presence. That you be ‘a man of the Church’ – with perfect fidelity to your ministry, with great affection for your bishop, with generous self-giving in service to the whole People of God that has been entrusted to you.”
He continued, “ That you be ‘a man of the people,’ that you know how to understand and interpret them, that you have a great capacity to take on their joys and hopes, that you always show the poor and good heart of a father, a brother, and a friend, that you always know to tell them, without telling them, how good God is and how good it is to be a priest.”
Five new priests from the order’s North American Territory were ordained during the Mass, including three from the United States, one from Canada, and one from South Korea. Two new priests from Germany will be returning to the North American Territory.
Fr. Markus Stehmer, LC (Germany)
Fr. Thomas White, LC (Louisiana)
Fr. Christian Ivandic, LC (Germany)
Fr. Matthew Bender, LC (New York)
Fr. André Blanchette, LC (Canada)
Fr. Stephen Cho, LC (South Korea)
Following the Ordination Mass, the Legionaries of Christ hosted a lunch reception for the families of the new priests at their seminary in Rome, the International College of the Legionaries of Christ, where all Legionaries complete their formation in Philosophy and Theology before ordination. The following day, each of the new priests celebrated their first masses at churches, chapels, and basilicas around Rome, with their brother Legionaries, other Regnum Christi members, family, and their friends in attendance.
The formative path of the Legionaries of Christ before being ordained priests lasts 12-14 years, during which they discern whether the Legionary priesthood is the path that God has chosen for them. They are trained in Humanities, Philosophy, and Theology, and engage in works of apostolate in different countries throughout the world before their priestly ordinations.
At the end of 2022 , the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, which is part of Regnum Christi, had 1,338 Legionaries: 4 bishops, 993 priests, 281 religious in formation, and 59 novices. The Legionaries of Christ have men who are from 34 different nationalities and over 17% of them, according to the 2022 statistics, are Americans from the United States and Canada.
Personal testimonies and more can be found on the 2023 Priestly Ordinations’ page.
Relive the sacred beauty of the Ordination mass by watching the recording, available here, or through the photo gallery of the event.
Read the full English text of Cardinal Vergez’s homily here.