ROME, JAN. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Legionaries of Christ elected a new general director, after their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, declined re-election, citing his age and his desire to see the congregation flourish under a successor.
The congregation, in a press statement issued today, explained that its general chapter “first re-elected Father Maciel by absolute majority vote,” and added that “Father Maciel, 84, who has headed the Legionaries since their founding in 1941, declined” the re-election.
“The chapter fathers expressed their filial gratitude to Father Maciel for his leadership during these past decades and pledged their heartfelt loyalty to the mission he continues to fulfill as founder,” the statement added.
On assuming leadership of the congregation, the new general director, Father Álvaro Corcuera, said: “I wish to express my desire to remain faithful to the charism of the congregation and to the person of the founder, and to continue his work at the service of the Church.”
Mexican-born Father Corcuera, 47, has been rector of the Legionaries’ Center for Higher Studies in Rome since 1987.
He has worked closely with Father Maciel on projects related to the governing of the congregation. He is also a consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.
Father Corcuera was a consecrated member of the Regnum Christi Movement before joining the Legion of Christ.
He earned a licentiate in education studies from Anahuac University in Mexico City. He studied philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University and the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
From 1993 until 2000 he was rector of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, the Legion’s college in Rome.
The press statement also reports that the chapter fathers re-elected Fr. Luis Garza Medina as vicar general, a post he has held since 1992, and elected the general council, the general procurator, and the general administrator. They are from Spain, the United States, Ireland, Mexico and Chile.
Father Maciel founded the Legionaries when he was 20, in January 1941. John Paul II approved its constitutions in 1983. It has close to 650 priests and 2,500 seminarians.
From the charism of the Legion arose the Regnum Christi Movement, whose statutes were approved definitively by John Paul II last November. It has some 65,000 members, lay men and women, and deacons and priests worldwide.