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This is a concern held by a lot of people still in RC. It's no longer a strong attachment to the movement, its methodology, etc., but to the support of the team and formation. Not to knock the parish, but in many, if not most parishes, it simply isn't there.

I have heard it said that often times, the hardest step in converting from a protestant church to Catholicism is breaking the social ties. In a way, I think a lot of people feel the same way now in RC.

I believe the Lord gave me RC to facilitate my reversion; to give me what I needed to learn to love the Church and the priesthood- to be open to life and possible religious vocations of my children.

I have recently left.

It is now my duty to bring this to others through how I live my life. It is my duty to do this in my Parish. When in RC I felt torn between my Parish and RC. This shouldn't be, but unfortunately it is common! RC is built to support RC, not the parish. But the Parish is where the Church is! Who was it who said the Church is a hospital for sinners? I think RC facilitates our separating from this hospital, to which we indeed belong. We need to give the gifts we have been given, continue to receive the sacraments frequently, participate in Bible studies, (in the Parish) form friendships in the Parish. None of this is immediate, but imagine how Mother Teresa felt when she was beginning. She just gave, gave, gave. She didn't succeed in saving everyone that needed it, but God made her a Saint through her trials.

There is so much more to say about this. RC hindered me from serving my family and parish the way God wants me to. RC, even though spiritually nurturing, became an end, rather than just a means.

Remember that when you say that parish life is flat, the Legion has done it's share of recruiting the best and the brightest AWAY from that setting where they could have been helping and providing leaven all these years.

Reinvigouration has to start some time -- why not now?

Good point Giselle...

Remember, God created us human "beings" and not human "doings". So don't wonder "how" to do it, just visit your parish and "be" Catholic.

That being said, the first question you should ask yourself is whether your spouse and children are practicing the faith, and whether you are needed more on the home front.

After that, check out your local parish. For guys it's pretty easy, the Knights of Columbus are always recruiting. For ladies, there are always parish groups looking for new members.

I am still nominally involved in RC (remaining in for similar reasons to yours) but my wife and I have become involved with a protestant-styled "small group" with a half dozen Catholic couples. We meet weekly or so and have done Bible studies, Theology of the Body studies, and other such activities. We also try to do social activities (dinner, cookouts, game nights, etc.). None of these couples are RC, and only one other goes to our parish, but we have managed to forge very strong relationships over the past 18 months or so. I would recommend finding a few other couples (because it's nice to do something with your spouse every so often) and start a similar group. It does take commitment, but no more than you devote to RC.

We have also gotten involved in the Why Catholic program at our parish. The program itself may be a little thin, but we have met some great people this way too.

Also, there is no problem with trying to facilitate change in your parish culture. Just start getting involved and really try to develop strong friendships. This takes work if you don't have an institutional structure (e.g. encounter) that forces you to interact with other Catholics.

Finally, talk to some of your RC friends about starting some groups of your own. Chances are, they feel the same way.

For a group that's always recruiting, esp. now---

Check out your parish Vincent De Paul Society! They do good work and they always need more help.

Also, this is the time of year when many parishes are seeking CCD teachers. Even if all the grades are 'full,' a lot of teachers enjoy having a co-teacher-- it makes it much easier! And teaching CCD is also a good way to meet other families in the parish while sharing your faith.

Also, you don't NEED to limit yourself to parish events. Do you have sons? The Boy scouts are a great organization and always need moms and dads to help out, especially at the cub scout level. Plus, a lot of parishes sponsor troops.

And remember, you can have non-Catholic friends too-- not as 'conversion projects,' but just as other families with similar interests who are fun to spend time with!

Firstly ask the Holy Spirit for WISDOM and ENLIGHTENMENT and you will see that all these poors SOULS in the R/C are in a CULT.
For me I said LORD would I stay in the Mormons or Jonestown/Jim Jones.The answer was RUN.Educate yourself and then ask how did I end up in this????
Then work for the REAL HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH so others do not end up the same.
I read all the sites on leaving a CULT and YES you will go through everything mentioned.You will be shunned and feel isolation thats all part of R/C Cult
.Maybe a few months later you will bump into some one in Grocery store and you will see THE LIGHTS ARE ON BUT NO ONE IS HOME.
You will recognise that you are recovering.
For our Family we had to cut off all contacts because our minds were trying to heal.

Trust the Lord.He will bring you on a journey that you will be fulfilled you will be free to drink THE LIVING WATER and not be thirsty.
Life will be different and for me I will say I am not trusting people like I did before I got into the R/C.
But you will not need any one Jesus will be there for you in a VERY PROFOUND way.As close as the touch of your hand.Slowly it will get a little better each day.

My life is full.
In the Church I meet many parents who know nothing and teaching CCD class I have sent them on THEIR WAY with material photocopies ,etc and they are coming to know and experience the sweet LOVE THAT JESUS has for each of them.bELIEVE PEOPLE IN OUR cHURCH ARE STARVING and once you open the blinds a peep they are so grateful.
There is plenty of work in your own Church to keep you busy and if you want you can meet more people I did not want to but I could.So many great people were sucked out of our old Church there was no one left and our Pastor was asking why are they all leaving him to do all these NON PARISH MINISTRIES.Once A Very Holy Priest said they have taken away all my great helpers.And once HE said THIS IS A CHURCH WITHIN THE CHURCH and its not helping the BIG Catholic Church.
EWTN has become a lifeline for me and I have so many books here that I am so very well educated on my Catholic Faith.
I have become a BETTER wife and Mother and this is all I have to do no running here there and everywhere.
The Church NEEDS YOU and can use you just TRUST Him.
Get to know your Neighbors.Ihave and mine are great.Ihad no time before to know anyone as I was so enslaved on the R/C concentration camp.
These women in the movement are not your friends at all.You will see as you leave.They are in chains and their mind is completely blurred.They have never spoken to anyone about their unrest or questions.No one talks about any of that.
I knew I had get out and boy am I thanking God everyday.My kids are free and great and we spend MUCH TIME discussing the Catholic Cathecism and topics that come up.
by Slave NO More

I'd like to say in all kindness, be very careful of an "elitist" mentality that the Movement grooms in its members. The thought of K of C, Saint Vincent de Paul, Boy Scouts and the parish CCD were always frowned upon as "not Catholic enough" (which is often true). We always ran the risk of creating a clique by our elitism, so that women who were not convinced of ALL the truths of the faith ran when they saw us, the "uber-Catholics."

Now there are magisterial Catholics (who are the rank and file of RC, but many others as well) and then there are the rest, but if we don't rub elbows and make ourselves accessible, then we'll never really evangelise.

Finally, as Pete noted, it's not about doing stuff. When I finally stepped away from the four RC apostolates I was strenuously building in my region, I found I could simply live, love God and attend to my family.

There are baby showers, May devotions, visits to shut-ins -- but then there is reading books to the little ones on the sofa (which I used to delegate, shame on me!) and trying new recipes for a family who forgot what that sort of attention was all about. Making myself available to all my children to just drop when they call and listen to what they're doing is my vocation. (Oh, and leisurely coffee breaks with the dh whenever possible also!)

There is no one formula (despite the RC mantra) but the unique landscape of your world. God will provide gentle directions.

Might it not be helpful to prayerfully reflect on why one feels the need to be controlled to such a degree by others? It seems to me that mature holiness consists in more than unquestioningly following what someone else tells you to do. We need to discern and choose to do right each and every day because we love God not because someone else tells us that is what we have to do.

Pete is so right in that we really need to look at our families first to make sure that we are loving them and serving their needs before any other "holy" task that we may do.

When considering parish activities, you don't even have to join anything. Just look for a person who often sits and prays alone in church, looking sad or troubled (there are plenty these days). Offer them your friendship.

I am still in Women's RC although relatively inactive due to health issues and conflicts with my work schedule. Due to work, my family and I moved from where I found and joined the Movement to another state and therefore another Section. Things are different here. I was not allowed to transition into the same apostolate that I was doing and that worked well with my work and family schedule. I was asked to do other apostolates that ultimately increased the level of stress which might have had a part in the worsening of my health issues. I still follow my prayer commitments and make it to Spiritual Direction when able. In regards to apostolate, I do not have one currently within RC but at my parish I have met wonderful ladies to whom I have grown very close. I serve as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and this year, will start helping with our parish's faith formation program for children.

The way I see it: The RC women and LC priests full of Christ's love and the Holy Spirit allowed me to experience Christ in a way that I might not have been able to otherwise. My promises upon Incorporation were to our Lord; not RC, not LC, not Father Marcial, but to Jesus Christ our Lord. And whether I continue or leave RC, the love I have for Christ is not going to change. Loving God is not about feelings is about a choice to believe in our Creator and His mercy revealed thorugh His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Let's focus in God's merciful love for everyone, even the worst sinners, because after all we are all sinners in greater or lesser degree. Stay close to our Lord and ask Him to show you the way that He wants to provide for your happiness. Christ will never fail you. God Bless!!!

Be careful: first of all, Maciel was not a sinner just like the rest of us: he was a fraud and a con man, and a criminal of the worst kind-- he would be living under a highway over pass as a registered sex offender in a tent if he were not a priest.

Second: in the LC and RC-- they were his cover, and he taught us all to love and follow Christ according to his own mythical example. There is nothing, I mean nothing to save here.

Move on. God finds us where ever we are.

Two comments/observations
1) chicken or egg syndrome - is it that the parishes do not provide this type of formation or that the people don't ask for it. I refer you to the comment above about RC pulling the enthusiastic people from and out of parishes to do RC apostolic work - building the "RC" kingdom.
==> my advice is two fold
a) look for parishes that do offer these types of activities or ask friends where and how they continue with spiritual direction/formation etc -- there are tons of priest & lay people out there to help
b) if nothing is found...start something yourself. gather some friends together, find a good solid book from one of the saints of the church (even better if it's a doctor of the church) and read/have a discussion group. approach some people at the parish to do the same & ask one of the priests to help give guidance. It's not that hard to do, just takes some courage and fortitude

2) Look to religious groups that are in your area - Jesuits/Franciscans/ Dominicans/ etc....they are there, and they have amazing founders - TRUE pillars of the church. Ask them to learn more about their founders. Their TRUE carism, how it breathes life into the church.

Remember it's not about a group, or a title, etc. It's about growing closer to God. If you have the desire and furvor to do so and lack the knowledge to get there -- don't be afraid, ask the priests, ask lay people in the parish, ask the religious, and ASK YOUR BISHOP....He is ultimately the one in charge of your soul and you getting closer to God.

there are a number of groups like this in the NY/NJ/CT area that are reaching out and making a very big effort to seek out and provide for those who have left RC/LC...

Start your own book club or Mommy & Me group in your parish. Ask your pastor if you can put an "ad" in the bulletin.

Damaris, I understand what you're trying to say, but remember that a creepy sex offender wrote those committments & prayers. If Jeffrey Dahmer wrote a bunch of prayers, I don't think people would be reading them.

You simply can't re-create Regnum Christi at the parish level, nor should you.

One of the big problems with RC spirituality is the excessive focus on doing things - constant "apostolates" that often are really fundraisers and usually leave little spiritual impact on participants. K4J, for example, is a nice enough program, but basically it's inconsequential.

RC members would be better off focusing on prayer life and stillness.

As for spiritual direction, I question how wonderful that Legion direction really ever was, since the directors often seem to just prod the RC members into focusing more on organizing events and activities. Better advice for most would be: Stop.

If you want real spiritual direction, it's not entirely fair to expect that from the parish priest, since that is not a traditional role for a parish priest. But if you seek out a monastery or any other religious order it shouldn't be too difficult to find someone who can provide sound and holy spiritual direction.

The so called Spiritual Direction was NOT TO HELP YOU GROW in your Catholic Faith.
I had S.D before with a NOT FOR PROFIT Friar it was for my growth towards Jesus and as a wife and Mother.
The R/C Spiritual Direction was all to PROFIT the movement.
I was told do not worry about being away from your kids all the time as you are doing the Lords work.
We need you to BEFRIEND Mrs .X her husband is a xxx and they live in x.They could bring such MONEY to help the L/C and then all their RICH FRIENDS that they could bring.

Do not be concerned that your house is upside down.Maybe you can get a cleaner and a babysitter so you can WORK for the LORD. Do not talk to your husband about your concerns ( that you think we worship Fr Maciel )that would be gossip and a sin.

Through it all I was doing my Novenas and reading DIVINE mercy etc.

I knew deep in my SOUL that something was VERY WRONG but SPIRITUAL DIRECTION was there to MESS with my mind and make me feel I was in SIN to have such thoughts.

And just to let you know everything that I discussed in Spiritual Direction was shared with others.

This was all so ONE SIDED.I learned a new word and I heard it a lot BEFRIEND.

It means pick out that person and pretend to be their friend and RECRUIT them.
I still feel awful about this.It was USING people and I was told the Lord needs you to help do this for the Kingdom.

Thank GOD we GOT OUT.

I got better spiritual direction at confession in my parish than I ever got from the LC.

And when you have really serious issues, make an appt with your parish priest, he'll guide you through.

I do know for a fact that RC members have sometimes been told not to worry about it too much if they can't find time to pray or get to daily Mass, etc. .... as long as they are making their "apostolic" activities a priority.

This is, of course, entirely arse-backwards, false direction.

Every person is obligated to fulfill the duties of his or her state of life. For a married person with kids, that means devotion to spouse and children, never giving them short shrift.

On top of that, if a person wants to grow closer to God, regular prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments are essential.

Organizing the next big fundraiser for "the seminarians" should be way, way down anybody's list.

"Lord, to whom shall we go?" St. Peter said.

I wish I had some practical solution to offer this person. I can only say this: the above quote she uses refers to Christ and His Church NOT to RC. Unfortunately too many in RC confuse this point. RC is NOT Christ, nor is it a substitute for Christ. One can leave RC at any time if the spirituality and methods don't help that person. It's a personal call - it's NOT the Catholic Church nor is it to be confused with our vocation as Catholics. It is ONE WAY to live out this vocation - it is not THE WAY.

This needs to be understood clearly - else someone leaving the movement is at risk of leaving the entire Church.

Good point, Still RC. The next words make the point even clearer: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life." If she can think those words about LC/RC for even half a second, she needs to concentrate on changing that way of thinking, rather than busying herself remodelling the parish into a mini-RC.

RC/LC may indeed be a personal call -- but who is calling -- and to what?

RC/LC is built on lies, and we know the source of lies -- "[H]e is a liar, and the father thereof."

I have to disagree here about the way former RC members get involved with the parish. I wouldn't want my children to be taught CCD by a former RC member unless and until I was convinced that the person had repented of trying to lead my family astray. I would want the person to have recognized that her formation is very flawed and that she had taken steps to correct it. But the biggest stumbling block to me, and to many other parishioners here, is that the RC members actually think that they are the "cream of the crop", that the LC/RC recruited the best and the brightest away from the parish. They're very arrogant and don't even seem to realize that humility is a virtue in the Real Catholic Church. Of course, anyone who notes this out loud is "jealous" Obviously, they wouldn't be competent to lead a Bible study either. And yes, as Claire noted, their use of discretion/deception "for the sake of the Kingdom" indicates they are working for the wrong Kingdom, albeit unwittingly.

It's time to leave 6th grade. Yes, we live our faith in community, but we are responsible alone before God for our spiritual lives.

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