Deacon Matthew Bender, LC, was born on March 24, 1991 in Syracuse, United States. He entered the New Hampshire Vocational Center in 2004. Later he began his novitiate in Cheshire in 2008. After his religious profession he studied the humanities in Salamanca, Spain. He studied his baccalaureate in philosophy at the Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum. His apostolic practices were carried out in Monterrey as a formation instructor and ECYD assistant. He returned to Rome to do his license in philosophy and his theological studies. He currently works as personal secretary to the Director General and assistant to the secretariat of the Regnum Christi Federation.
Deacon Matthew Bender, LC, will celebrate his first mass at 9:30 am, April 30th, 2023 at the Main Chapel of the General Directorate of the Legionaries of Christ in Rome, Italy.
From an early age, I felt very much drawn to the priesthood. I would “play” Mass in my room and my parents bought me kid-size vestments and all the different elements necessary. I really do believe that our Lord was present in my life, even at such an early age, and he was inviting me through the faith that I lived in my family life, my parish, through the Legionaries, and other priests that I knew. I knew from that age that I had to act; and so it was that I entered the Legion’s minor seminary in Center Harbor, New Hampshire at the age of 13.
My formation has taken 19 years to complete since the first day I set foot in the minor seminary: from the States to Spain, to Rome, to Mexico, and back to Rome; and now one year working at the service of the general government of the Legion of Christ and in the Regnum Christi central offices in Rome.
If I could express two simple ideas of what I have learned and that have served as my mainstay during all these years of growth and deepening, both on the level of the Congregation as well as my personal life, it is that if our Lord has called you to do something and has spoken to you in a clear way, he will give you the means and strength to carry it out. This, however, demands massive amounts of trust in Him and his grace. He laid the seed; he will provide the rain and nutrients; he will make it grow. The second idea is that the vocation is impossible to live and correspond to alone. The unconditional support of my parents and family members, my formators and companions, all the people that have prayed for me for so many years. It is both humbling and comforting at the same time.
The vocation to the priesthood is a daunting call and undertaking in the world we live in, but I am reminded that it is exactly because of my brokenness and unworthiness that our Lord is able to work in order to help others.
I am happy and proud to be a member of the Legionaries of Christ. I love her charism, her mission and I have a firm hope that our Lord will bring her forward in order to be good a good instrument for the salvation of many souls.
All are warmly invited to join us for the live broadcast of the Ordination Mass on Saturday, April 29th, at 10:00 am Rome time (4:00 am EDT, 1:00 am PDT), here.