The ordinary general chapter, which convenes every six years, was the first since Pope Francis approved new constitutions for the troubled congregation in Nov. 2014, following an extraordinary general chapter earlier that year.
At that meeting, the current general director, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, received mandates to implement changes in the legionary formation process and to implement safe environment policies for the care and protection of minors.
Addressing the new general governments of the Legionaries of Christ and of Regnum Christi, the pope said they have a mandate from the Church "to continue on the path of renewal, reaping and consolidating the fruits matured in these years."
"I urge you to act fortiter et suaviter: energetically in substance and gently in ways, knowing how to grasp with courage and at the same time with prudence what other paths are to be taken in the line drawn and approved by the Church," Francis stated.
"If you docilely go to the school of the Holy Spirit you will not be overwhelmed by fear and doubt, which upset the soul and prevent action."
The speech was sent to the Legionaries of Christ and to the lay consecrated members of Regnum Christi, who just finished their own general assembly, after the pope canceled his public audiences for the third day in a row due to a mild illness.
Regnum Christi is a Catholic movement made up of the Legionaries of Christ religious congregation of priests and seminarians, as well as consecrated and lay members.
There are fewer than 1,000 priests in the Legionaries of Christ, which runs schools in South and North America, and in Europe.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.