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May 2017

Sr. Anne and Bro Eddy Evers visited the Democratic Republic of Congo on behalf of Concilium from 24th to 30th March, for the official elevation of Lubumbashi Regia to Senatus status. They were met at the airport by several hundred singing and dancing legionaries carrying big banners to welcome them. The inauguration ceremony took place during Mass at an open-air location at a Salesian school where there were 3,500 legionaries present. The Mass was concelebrated by the Vicar General, the Spiritual Director of the new Senatus, and 5 priests. The Presidents of Kisangani, Kananga, Butembo and Bukavu all travelled to be present and the visitors met with all but one of the Presidents, who had to return home immediately. They also had meetings with the officers of the new Senatus, and visited several schools, where they suggested the junior movement and Patricians to the Principal.

The Youth Comitium, Our Lady of the Apostles started in 1982; they have 19 Curiae (aged 18-30) and a total membership of 2,870 spread over 7 Dioceses in Katanga attached to the new Senatus. Four new Curiae have been established in the last 5 years. A compendium of the Handbook is available only in Swahili. Despite not having a Legion Centre, difficulty with communication with distant councils and a scarcity of Handbooks, the value of the Legion of Mary to the members in Lubumbashi is most significant. There is great poverty. Their Catholic faith and the Legion give them purpose in helping the priests and neighbours, visiting prisons and enjoying the social side of the Legion. All this gives them a great sense of purpose, self-worth and training, but above all helps them on the road to heaven. The Congolese legionaries are full of joy and most grateful for what the Legion of Mary has done for their lives.

Sr. and Bro. Evers said that the visit had a profound effect on them and they thanked Concilium for the ‘life-changing’ experience of their visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Quote of the Day
I began this meditation by quoting Pope John Paul II’s appeal for holy priests at the International Priests’ Retreat in Rome in 1984.

I end by making my own the Pontiff’s concluding prayer on that same occasion: “May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ the Eternal High Priest, accompany and sustain you. May she teach you, as a Mother to her beloved children, to say always Fiat to the will of Christ, her Son, who has chosen you to be His ministers. May she inspire you to often sing the Magnificat for the marvels which God is working in your priestly lives and through your pastoral ministry. May she lead you to imitate her Stabat at the foot of the Cross, when difficulties, misunderstandings and sufferings arise on your way to perfect holiness. In this way, with Mary and like her, you will taste the joy of the resurrection of Christ and witness to the whole world that Jesus is Lord !”
His Eminence, Ivan Cardial Dias, Prefect, Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Vatican