The first seeds of our locality were planted about 25 years ago. In 1994, there were only 10 members in the Greater Toronto Area, including Helen and Jim Powers, who are still active members today. Our first members lived in Scarborough, Brampton, and Milton and would regularly gather together for their Encounter with Christ meetings. Eventually, that faithfulness bore fruit when new members from Mississauga were welcomed and joined the spiritual family. The Legionary priests used to drive from Cornwall, Ontario on a monthly basis, and visit for a few days to preach retreats, and provide Spiritual Direction to the members
The first Regnum Christi apostolate was initiated by Helen and Jim Powers when they began facilitating the “Familia” program at Holy Rosary Parish in Milton. In 2000, Paul and Kerrie Rivard arrived from Regina, Saskatchewan and providentially, the section grew in numbers and the time to multiply into more teams had come. Our ‘family tree’ at that time included 6 teams; 4 women’s teams in Scarborough, Mississauga and Milton and 2 men’s teams in Oakville and Scarborough. In November of 1998, our locality celebrated its first Regnum Christi Day on the feast of Christ the King.
Between 2000 and 2006, our members began to organize and facilitate various programs in their respective parishes. In 2004, Kerrie Rivard started the K4J (vacation bible school) program in Milton and Paul initiated the Conquest Boys’ club in 2006. Deb D’Ettore was our locality’s first Section Director and was instrumental in initiating the Challenge Club for girls in Milton around this time, which is still vibrantly growing today!
With God’s grace, by 2007 we had grown to 70 members; Fr. Kenneth Leblanc, LC was the Section Director for the men and women and Kerrie Rivard was the Women’s Section Assistant. The Rivard family moved to Atlanta in 2007 and Deb D’Ettore and her family moved to New Brunswick. Over the following years, our members learned to be more attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to guide their work and to become more organized and effective with their mission to evangelize. Impelled by the charism of our Movement, our members revealed Christ’s love to others by initiating and facilitating different events and programs such as men’s and women’s retreats, marriage renewal evenings and local conference days.
Our locality’s geographic territory is large, spanning over two dioceses, the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Diocese of Hamilton. The Archdiocese of Toronto is comprised of 1.9 million Catholics and 225 parishes. The Diocese of Hamilton currently has 124 parishes, 22 missions and over 600,000 Catholics along with 151 active priests and 13 religious congregations of both men and women. In 2009, the Legionaries of Christ were granted permission to reside in Oakville and actively serve in the Hamilton diocese. Today, we are blessed to have 6 Legionaries living in the Oakville community.
Since 2009 our locality has experienced renewed and steady growth. Our infrastructure has slowly taken shape through the establishment of an event planning team in 2011 which led to the formation of an ‘AFIRE’ team in 2015 and now to our recently formed Local Committee. Given the geographic size of our locality, we have created two groups, the East and the West and have appointed a Group Leader in the East. Currently, we have almost 100 adult members, 2 men’s teams and 7 women’s teams. Our Young Adults section is beginning to flourish and we have 95 ECyD members. May the Lord continue to bless us as we “grow forward” in the years ahead!
The servant leaders of our Local Committee include 7 lay members and 2 Legionaries:
- Thomas Murphy, LC, as Superior of the Legionaries of Christ Community and Director of ECyD (ex-officio member)
- Todd Arsenault, LC as Chaplain of our sections
- Tomas Castro as Men’s Section Director
- Tima Borges as Local Director
- Daniela Dalla Via as Apostolate Coordinator
- Tony Cestra as Formation Coordinator
- Melanie DiGiantommaso as Integration Coordinator (Group Leader -East)
- Alicia Cestra as Economy Coordinator and Women’s Section Director
- Tawnya Arsenault as Recruitment Coordinator