Concilium Bulletin April 2009
REPORTS - EUROPE
Portugal: With an area slightly larger than Ireland has a population 10.5 million. The Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal and there are strong links with other Portuguese speaking territories such as Capo Verde, Mozambique and Angola. Nominally the population is up to 96% Roman Catholic but the number of those who would identify strongly with the Church was recently given as 80%. There is a 1% Protestant group and 3% said they had no religious affiliation. There are 35,000 Muslims. The Legion exists in 17of the 18 Dioceses. There is a Senatus at Lisbon, a Regia at Porto, and a Regia at Coimbra. Recently extension of the Legion has been prioritised by the Senatus. There are 475 Praesidia.
Spain with a population of 40 million is 94% Catholic. There are 3 Senatus - Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Madrid Senatus is a strong body. It is a vibrant council and organised a meeting of the 3 Senatus of Spain. PPC projects are held and many of these are to areas where Moslems are contacted with good results. A great work done is called Pesca Joven - Fishing for Youth. All attached councils engage in this apostolate of making contact with youth. The numbers of young active legionaries is small but the Senatus is hopeful that with their ongoing efforts many will be attracted to Legion membership. Street contact in areas of vice has been carried out for many years and most cases are followed up with many of the girls returning to the practice of the faith. Contact is also made with the men who are active in these areas.
Bilbao Senatus covers 3 Archdioceses- Burgos, Oviedo, and Pamplona with a total of 1,001 parishes. The Senatus has 3 Comitia, 7 Curiae and 17 praesidia attached. The praesidia membership is small but they have many Praetorian and Adjutorian members. There are large numbers of elderly legionaries who do mostly works of consolation. Basauri and Leon Curiae each have a junior praesidium. They have great problems in recruiting although they make strenuous efforts.
Barcelona Senatus: The Legion is established in 12 of the 22 dioceses for which it is responsible. There are 16 praesidia and 6 Curiae with 900 active members attached to the Senatus. Most of the Apostolate of the Legion in the Senatus area is works of consolation for the sick and elderly. Some legionaries teach catechism and in one of the Tourist resorts a book barrow is staffed during the summer. A praesidium in the city of Barcelona contacts street girls, most of whom are foreigners. Attempts are made to visit the prison. Contact with the families of the prisoners is done by another praesidium outside Barcelona.
Gibraltar has a population of 28,000, which is 75% Catholic. Other faiths include Church of England, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu. There is one Diocese with six Parishes each with the Legion. The Curia has six praesidia The apostolate includes organising Eucharistic Adoration, nursing home visitation, visits to the housebound, as well as some home visitation. The Senatus of Scotland, who had visited the Curia, was given caretakership of Gibraltar by Concilium.
Italy has a population of 58 million and is 90% Catholic with about one third practising. There is a Senatus in Rome, a Regia at Milan, and a Comitium at Padova. Senatus of Rome numbers approximately 1000 active members in the 9 directly affiliated praesidia and 7 city Curiae. There are also Comitia with affiliated Curiae in Sicily and Sardinia and on the Adriatic coast at Rimini. The last major extension of the Legion was in the Basilicata in the South where the Legion was brought from nil to Curia level. The latest extension is in the Naples region and also at Acerra with the formation of the first praesidium in the Diocese of Ariano Irpino-Avellino.
Milan Regia covers three provinces with a total population of 15 million. It has 2 Comitia, 1 Curia, and 9 praesidia affiliated. It has 338 active and 1205 auxiliaries. The Legion is established in 7 of the 29 dioceses. Efforts to extend the Legion are ongoing. Works include visits to elderly, sick, and lonely in homes, hospitals, catechism classes, encouraging attendance at Mass and return to the Sacraments. The Regia officers keep in touch with Cardinal Tettamanzi who thanked them for their annual report. A pamphlet on the life of Alfie Lambe has been reprinted and a calendar on Edel Quinn has been published.
Padova Comitium covers the area from Trieste to Venezia. The Legion is established in 2 of the 13 dioceses. It has 3 Curiae and 10 praesidia affiliated with a membership of 130 active and 1,268 auxiliaries. It has one Junior praesidium and a few Nazareth Groups for children. The juniors edit and print their own magazine called “Il Giornalino”. Works include visits to the old, sick and elderly, Pilgrim Statue visitation, and teaching catechism. Legionaries recited the rosary on a hospital TV circuit at the request of the chaplain. A favour received through the intercession of Frank Duff was reported to Concilium.
Cyprus has a population of 780,000 of whom approximately 10,000 are Latin Catholics. The majority religion is Orthodox. There is one Maronite Bishop and the four Latin parishes come under the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Many of the Latin Catholics are immigrants from the Philippines and Africa who are employed in Cyprus. The Legion of Mary is established in 2 parishes; Nicosia with 3 praesidia and Limassol with 1 praesidium. They are in the process of starting a fourth praesidium in Nicosia. A Curia is needed but as Sunday is their only day off duty and this is taken up with Sunday Mass, praesidium meetings and work there is no time left for a Curia meeting. One praesidium undertakes crowd contacts on busy streets, at bus stations, at a market and in parks.
Ninety eight percent of the population of 11 million are Orthodox, 50,000 Greeks are Roman Catholic with about 200,000 immigrant Roman Catholics.
Malta has a population of about half a million people. It is 97% Catholic. Malta Regia has 1 Comitium, 9 Curiae and 11 praesidia directly attached and governs the Legion in the Archdiocese of Malta and the suffragen Diocese of Gozo. There is a Legion presence in almost every Parish. The Archbishop was the chief celebrant at the anniversary Mass for the Servant of God Frank Duff in November. They are organising a series of talks on the True Devotion. The reporting Curiae included many good contacts with people of different religious beliefs as well as jail visitation. Teaching catechism featured in many of the reports. Some visible results included a whole family returning to Mass after a long absence. One Junior Curia organised an outdoor function, which included a BBQ and disco party for members and friends in the age group 13 - 17 and had an attendance of 80.
Gozo Comitium: One Senior Curia reported the return to the sacraments of 8 people. The University praesidium for Gozitian legionaries has 6 members. The apostolate of the attached Junior Curiae includes home and hospital visitation. A junior/intermediate retreat was organised. Contact with tourists is included in the apostolate of most of the praesidia. Peregrinatio Pro Christo projects in 2008 were carried out to Israel, Italy and Birmingham with many good contacts recorded.
Albania is a country with a population of approximatelly 3 million people, 60% Muslim, 25% Christian orthodox and about 15% Roman Catholic. The Catholic population is mostly found in the north of the country especially in the city of Shkoder and surrounding cities. In the Archdiocese of Shkoder there are two Curiae, the dioceses of Lezhe and Sape have each one Curia and in the Diocese of Tirana-Durres there are three praesidia. Some of the praesidia have large membership. Most of them meet in the early afternoon since there is no transport to and from the villages. Their apostolate includes works of service as well as visits to orphanages, hospitals, Eucharistic Adoration and prayer services with families. The Archbishop will celebrate Mass at the elevation of the Shkoder Curia to Comitium status in May.
Egypt Senatus: Egypt has a population of 82 million of which 90% are Muslim. The official Church is the Coptic Orthodox representing about 9% of the population. The Coptic Catholics represent less than 1% of the population. The Senatus has 2 Comitia, 6 Curiae and a number of Junior Curiae. Extension in ongoing and there are three praesidia and a Comitium under formation. The Senatus also has plans to develop the Legion in the Suez Canal area. The apostolate includes visits to families, hospitals and residential homes. Permission is given to visit the prison for foreign people and if there are Moslems they speak and pray with them. This apostolate is carried out weekly. Every legionary in Egypt will soon have a copy of the new Arabic handbook.
The population is approximately 21 million with a Catholic population of 2.8 million. All 18 Dioceses have the Legion and plans are underway for the establishment of the Legion in the Prefecture of Donkorkrom.
Legionaries in the Accra Senatus visit Nsawan Medium security prison. At the male prison there are two praesidia with over 100 active members. There are 146 inmates under instruction for First Communion and Confirmation. Twenty Catholics at the female prison requested the establishment of the Legion.
Kumasi Regia comprises 1 Comitium, 9 Curiae and 12 praesidia and report setting up 9 new praesidia. The 8th National Conference hosted by the Regia from 4th - 7th September 2008 with the theme ‘Go Preach the Gospel of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation as Legionaries’ had an attendance of 1,700 from all over Ghana.
Sunyani Regia has 6 Comitia, 48 Curiae, 1169 and 28 junior praesidia. Berekum Comitium do very solid home visitation and reach out to all. They report 69 returns to the sacraments, 128 Baptisms, 1,340 separated brethren were contacted, 360 Moslems were visited, 56 were converted to the faith. Jirapa Comitium has 1,350 under instruction for Baptism, 661 for First Communion and 1,983 for Confirmation.
Lesotho has a population of 2.12 million, 65% is Catholic, 25% is other Christian Churches, 10% is Muslim, Hindus and Buddhists. Life expectancy is 40 with aids being a huge problem. The Lesotho Senatus has 12 Comitia, 3 Curiae and 5 praesidia directly attached. Attendance at Senatus meeting includes two Maseru Comitia, two Maseru Curiae and three of the praesidia attend regularly. Lesotho also supervises Bloemfontein in South Africa, which they reported had 616 seniors, 19 juniors and 260 auxiliaries.
The Legion started in Cape Verde on the 8th of December 1953 and developed to unofficial Comitium status and function supervising all Curiae. Finally in October 1985 at the Bishop’s request the Concilium sent the Envoy, Maria Senra, where she found all in good order. Cape Verde consists of ten islands off the coast of West Africa and has a population of less than half a million. Emigration resulted after almost half the population died because of drought. Now there are more of its people living outside the country than in it. The Legion is found among the Cape Verde Diaspora with Holland having its own Curia of Cape Verdeans.
Praia Regia administers the Legion in the two dioceses of the country with over 8,500 active members - 10% being juniors. There are 10 Comitia, 37 Curiae and almost 500 praesidia. There are about 500 legionaries between the ages of 18 and 40.
Guine Bissau Comitium with 6 attached Curiae is also affiliated to the Praia Regia. The Regia maintains correspondence links with other Portuguese speaking Legion councils - Brazil, Portugal, Angola and Mozambique. However they are in regular correspondence with Concilium. Minutes are very detailed. Average attendance is 80%. All Legion work is fully integrated with parish plans with special emphasis on visitation and catechesis, the latter directed to children and adolescents.
Maputo Regia: A letter from the Regia Vice President has been received, and mention that in October each year they have a Legion pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady in Namaacha, which is about 50 miles from Maputo. The Regia Spiritual Director is now Parish Priest in Namaacha, but continues as Spiritual Director. They are planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Legion in Mozambique in October this year. They proposed the suggested visit by the Concilium could take place at that time. The Regia has one Comitium and 25 Curiae. The population of Mozambique in the 2007 census was 21,397,000. The Catholic population is about 23.8%, that is, about 5,092,486. Mozambique has three Archdioceses and nine suffragan dioceses. Other Christians have about 17.5% and Muslims are about17.8% of the population.
Benguela Senatus: The new Regiae in Huambo and Lubango were inaugurated with Mass in August 2008. The Archbishop of Huambo, Dom José de Queiros Alves, presided at the Mass in Huambo and the Coadjutor Archbishop of Lubango, Dom Gabriel Mbilingi, presided at the Mass in Lubango. The new Bishop of Benguela, Dom Eugénio dal Corso, was installed on 1st June 2008 in succession to Bishop Dom Oscar Braga. The Comitium of Alto Catumbela has 11 Curiae with a total of 71 praesidia and 1,072 active members and 134 auxiliaries. The Comitium of Lobito was divided into three Comitia. A Curia in Benguela was divided into two Curiae. 652 legionaries took part in a pilgrimage, walking six miles from Benguela to a Grotto at a Trappist Monastery, to mark the 150th anniversary of Lourdes.
Luanda Regia: The Regia has 18 praesidia, 8 senior and 2 junior Curiae, and 8 Comitia directly attached. Among works undertaken in the Regia area are home and hospital visitation, visits to prisons, apostolate to street children and teaching catechism. The Regia continues to cooperate in the ‘Campaign of Social Mobilization for the Promotion of Health’. Angola has a population of 15,473,000, of whom, 8,600,000 (55.6%) are Catholic. There are 27 bishops, 794 priests and 2,276 religious. There are 1,236 major seminarians. Pope Benedict XVI visited Angola, mainly Luanda from 20th-23rd March.
Hwange Comitium: The Legion is continuing to function despite the difficulties in the country. Many people including legionaries are leaving the country. Great efforts are made to keep the junior Curia functioning although meetings are not held regularly. Visitation is undertaken and legionaries are encouraged to continue in their efforts. The Acies was held on 29 March.
Johannesburg Senatus: Approximately 12% of the population of Johannesburg is Catholic. The Senatus has a membership of approximately 350 active members -comprises 18 praesidia, 7 Curia and 1 Comitium. The Legion is in 7 of the 13 Dioceses. The Senatus is planning a workshop to instruct Curiae and praesidia in the keeping of the Legion books, etc and also to encourage better attendance at Council meetings. The main works are home, hospital visitation, visitation of the bereaved, teaching Catechism, visitation of families re baptism of babies and visitation of newly converted. One praesidium remains in contact with a group of young drug addicts, praying with them and visiting and encouraging them while in rehabilitation. A squatter camp was visited. Extension and recruiting is on the agenda - praesidia have recruited new members and efforts are being made to hold recruiting drives and start praesidia.
Cape Town Senatus: Works undertaken by the Senatus include home, hospital and prison visitation. One praesidium organised a Rosary procession and five parishes attended. Legionaries at parish level cooperate with the priests and arrange Masses in homes, etc. Legionaries attend wakes and funerals where the Rosary is usually recited. A lady who was released from prison went to confession. Shortly after her death her two children were baptised.
Esigodeni Comitium Contact has been recently re-established with Esigodeni Comitium, which is in the Durban Archdiocese and has 10 Curiae attached. Two new Curiae were established recently. Plans are that a second Comitium will be established in the near future. The Priests are very supportive of the Legion, requesting the help of the legionaries, and most of these Curiae have Spiritual Directors. They had an attendance of 1,034 at a 3-day retreat in October.
Matatiele Comitium has been in contact with the Concilium. Durban Comitium: The officers recently held a planning meeting. Marianhill Comitium: Minutes are received regularly and the Comitium is functioning well.
Go preach the Gospel to the whole creation
Home visitation as a means of Evangelisation
The above topics were discussed at the Concilium meeting:
1. Go preach the Gospel to the whole creation (Mk 16:15) “Faith must strain after people with inextinguishable ardour. Sometimes that essential note is missing. People are not sought after, neither those in the fold nor those outside it. But if that Ascension commandment be disregarded, it will be at a price - the price of loss of grace, of diminution and decay, even to the extinction of faith.”
“The Legion must be, so to speak, obsessed by that final commandment. It must, as a first principle, set out to establish a contact of some sort with every soul everywhere. If this be done - and it can be done - then the Lord’s command will be moving towards fulfillment.” (Legion Handbook page 308) A great deal can be read on this topic in the Encyclicals of Pope John Paul II.
2. Home visitation as a means of Evangelisation The quotation from the Handbook page 232, was also referred to by Fr. Bede McGregor in one of his Allocutio’s recently: “Though not its initial venture, the visitation of the homes has been traditionally the preferred work of the Legion. It is a characteristic of the Legion. Through this visitation, personal contact can be made with a great many people and the Church’s concern for every person and every family can be shown.” The year of Evangelisation will commence on the 29th June 2009.
Election of Concilium Officer
At the March Concilium meeting, nominations were sought for the office of Assistant Treasurer of Concilium with responsibility for the De Montfort Trust, as Declan Lawlor had completed his 3-year term. He was proposed and seconded and as there were no other nominations, he was duly elected Assistant Treasurer for a second term.
Tribute to Kathleen Carroll, RIP
Annette Mulrooney, President of Spouse of the Holy Spirit Curia, Dublin, paid the following tribute to Kathleen Carroll, R.I.P.
Kathleen Carroll was a member of the Legion of Mary for over 60 years and held many officerships within the Legion. She had a very deep knowledge and experience of the Legion.
She went to Venezuela for 2 years with two other legionaries as a Viator. Besides holding a number of officerships she also corresponded with South American councils and with Navan Comitium for many year, in fact till her death. She was a member of the Peregrinatio Pro Christo Committee and went on many PPC projects including projects to Russia. She served also as Concilium Assistant Secretary.
Two years ago, she became Treasurer of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit Curia, Dublin and continued in this office up to two months ago, sharing her great experience with the members. May her generous soul rest in peace.
Visit by Officers of Central London Curia
The Central London Curia were represented at the April Concilium meeting by their officers, Nicholas Fernandez President, Nancy Jobe Vice President, Patricia McGuigan Secretary and Mary Wogar Treasurer, who had come to Dublin for discussions with the Concilium Officers. Nicholas Fernandez, President of Central London Curia, reported that the Curia now has 14 praesidia, which includes a junior praesidium of 6 members between the ages of 12 and16 years. After the Peregrinatio Pro Christo project in St. Patrick’s Parish in Soho, a praesidium was established. At Westminster a Mass to commemorate the Venerable Edel Quinn was celebrated and the chief celebrant was Bishop Bernard Longley. Tommy McCabe, Concilium President, in thanking the officers said that it was an inspiring and encouraging report and wished them every blessing in their work and hoped the Legion would grow from strength to strength in their area.
Visit of Fr. Kiswendsida Narcisse Guima, Burkina Faso
Fr. Narcisse, who has been appointed National Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary in Burkina Faso, visited the Concilium Headquarters where he met with some of the Concilium Officers who discussed the development of the Legion in his country. He also attended the April Concilium meeting. He said that in the 13 dioceses of his country there were many legionaries. These legionaries are true to the Legion and making great efforts to interest the youth. Tommy McCabe, Concilium President, thanked Father for coming to Dublin and wished him every grace and blessing in his new ministry.
Prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God, Frank Duff
God our Father, You inspired your servant Frank Duff with a profound insight into the mystery of your Church, the Body of Christ, and of the place of Mary the Mother of Jesus in this mystery. In his immense desire to share this insight with others and in filial dependence on Mary he formed her Legion to be a sign of her maternal love for the world and a means of enlisting all her children in the Church’s evangelising work. We thank you Father for the graces conferred on him and for the benefits accruing to the Church from his courageous and shining faith. With confidence we beg you that through his intercession you grant the petition we lay before you
We ask too that if it be in accordance with your will, the holiness of his life may be acknowledged by the Church for the glory of your Name, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Favours attributed to the intercession of
The Servant of God, Frank Duff should be reported to:
Legion of Mary,
De Montfort House,
Morning Star Avenue,
North Brunswick Street,
Dublin 7, Ireland.