Concilium Bulletin February 2021
Senatus of Burundi: Legionaries have been able to continue with their meetings and apostolate at all levels. St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary and Consecration to Jesus through Mary is constantly promoted among legionaries and in their Legion contact work.
The Senatus have a Committee working on preparations for the Centenary which will include:
1. Various day sessions for Officers, civil servants, students, traders, Priests and Religious, especially former Legionaries.
2. Pilgrimages on 7th June to mark Frank Duff’s birthday, 10th June to celebrate the founding of the Legion in Burundi in 1954, and 7th November to mark Frank Duff’s anniversary.
3. Further renovations of the Senatus Headquarters to include an outer wall and bedrooms to accommodate visitors travelling a long distance to the meetings.
4. Printing of a new edition of the Legion Handbook.
5. Translation of the Legion Statutes into Kirundi.
6. Updating their national statistics of active and auxiliary members.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Senatus of Bangui: In a dangerous, war-torn country, where a quarter of a million people have been displaced in fear of their lives, Legion activity has re-commenced to a more or less normal degree. After months of confinement, the Senatus is meeting regularly again. They report on abortions avoided, families reconciled owing to prayer and Legion counselling, for which people are most grateful. One instance given was that of a Protestant Minister and his wife had come to blows, and who afterwards said: Who could believe that he owed the restoration of his family life to the intervention of the Legion of Mary, of all people!
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO
Senatus of Lubumbashi: The Senatus meetings resumed in September, and this report covers the period September – December inclusive. On 7th September, the Acies ceremony was held. Regia Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception organised their own Acies with Mass and an attendance of 480 Legionaries. In October the Senatus organised a retreat with the theme: “The Senatus yesterday, today and tomorrow”. The November Mass for deceased Legionaries was celebrated. The apostolic work has taken shape again and involved mainly visiting the parishioners in preparation for Advent and Christmas. They intend to print 500 handbooks in French and 500 in the Swahili language and the quotes have been given to Concilium. Preparations are going ahead for the Centenary celebrations in September next.
Senatus of Butembo: Minutes are up to date to January 2021, with attendance of 75-80 participants on average at Senatus Meetings. Reports were received from 1 Regia, 11 Comitia and 1 Praesidium in diocese of Butembo Beni. Summary of Apostolic work: Sick, elderly, widows, orphans, war refugees and displaced were supported and consoled at home and in hospital. Catechism was taught to large numbers of catechumens and converts to Catholicism. Prayers were taught to children. Couples were counselled and there were many returns to Sunday Mass. Prayers were organised for people in mourning. There were many converts to Catholicism from the Protestant religion. Large numbers joined the Legion of Mary. Marriages were regulated and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was organised. Projects for the future include celebration of centenary of foundation of Legion, 7th Sept 2021 and blessing of new Frank Duff Centre on 8th Sept 2021.
Senatus of Bukavu: In spite of insecurity in the region and suspension for months across the whole Archdiocese of Bukavu, work has resumed in many councils. Works include counselling of young addicts against drugs and alcohol, and encouragement of each other in prayer, Rosary, etc. We await news of the completion of the new Marian Centre, where Senatus meetings are now held on the 1st of each month.
Senatus of Kinshasa: After 3 months of severe lockdown, the Legion members have returned to normal activities. The Senatus elections were held in November 2020 but the minutes with details of the elections are awaited.
Senatus of Kananga: No news from this Senatus.
Senatus of Kisangani: there is full attendance at Senatus meetings. 205 Officers underwent a training course regarding pandemic rules as laid down by the Diocese in order to pass them on to their members. 212 new members were recruited by door-to-door visitation, 46 families reconciled out of 76 who were given counselling. 2765 prisoners of the Central Prison were given spiritual aid. 321 patients were visited in various city hospitals. 108 ex-Legionaries were recruited, 108 children baptised, and 43 Confirmed. In January, 24 Legionaries were tragically drowned in a boating accident on the river Congo, while returning from a Comitium meeting. 4 of the drowned were officers of the Comitium of Lokuta.
Rodrigues Regia: The Covid pandemic provided an opportunity for the members to reflect and pray on ways to further the Legion of Mary in the country in this, their 80th year, with particular emphasis on the young. Under the watchful guidance of Pere Robert Dalais (soon, unfortunately to retire), many Praesidia continued to meet weekly for discussions and virtual retreats. He provided them with study leaflets on Our Lady, Edel Quinn etc, the theme being “Renewing the Legion of Mary – a new Pentecost”. These resulted in an increased membership, 2 new Praesidia being set up, 1 for children and 1 for juniors, with 2 religious Sisters as Spiritual Directors. In an article published in La Vie Catholique, the juniors gave witness of the joy of membership and to the difference it makes in their lives. As Pere Robert intends to retire, the Archbishop (Cardinal) Maurice Piat has appointed Pere Octavian to assist him until his retirement becomes official.
A signed audit for 2020 has been included, which shows a stock of handbooks.
Senatus of Kigali: The Correspondent invited them to join in the “12 week, reading of the handbook challenge”.
The Correspondent has been in frequent contact with the Officer appointed by the Senatus to communicate with Concilium in English. The most recent contact was on 13th February when he emailed to thank her for her Chinese New Year’s greetings. He reported that the Senatus and the attached Councils are meeting in accordance with local restrictions and are engaged mainly in a prayer apostolate, including participating in the 40 days Rosary Novena.
2020 Senatus minutes received for January, September, October and November. Two new Officers have been elected Vice President for a first term and Treasurer for a second term. With the approval of the local Bishop, a new English speaking Curia of two praesidia was formed in Miri East Malaysia.
Last Minutes received were for June 2020. Church gatherings and meetings resumed in October much to the delight of legionaries, but since then infections have increased so restrictions may return. The Comitium has requested details of the Concilium Officers as part of their Centenary celebrations.
Kuala Lumpur Regia: No word has been heard from this Council since the latter part of 2020, despite an update being sent to them from Concilium most months. As there has been silence, some other method of making contact is being explored.
Jakarta Senatus: Monthly meetings on Zoom take place with at least 63 attending. One Curia reported 60 legionaries at an online Acies. Works reported include food distribution and mask making. In each case the materials are supplied by the parish. Legionaries use social gatherings to promote the Catholic faith. This Senatus is very active in preparations for the Centenary with Zoom talks and quizzes. A Logo Canvas has been prepared and is now travelling to all the 17 dioceses attached. Each Bishop will sign a message for the Centenary. They are arranging for the translation of ‘Can we be Saints’ to the local language.
Malang Senatus: Senatus meetings are taking place with limited numbers. Most praesidia are meeting with limited works.
Jayapura Curia A new praesidium was established in Indonesian Papua. Centenary preparations include a specially written prayer.
Kaupang Senatus: monthly meetings are held on line. Works reported include preparation of children for Baptism and visiting the sick and bereaved. A varied Centenary programme is being organized, including the preparation of short videos on Frank Duff, Edel Quinn and Alfie Lambe.
Osaka Senatus: Mother Immaculate Curia of Ikuno with 5 Korean and I Japanese speaking praesidia reported. In December 2019 they established a new praesidium. Among the praesidia reporting was Virgin Most Powerful with 28 female members, most of whom are in the older age group. Their works include visitation of the sick with the Eucharist, distribution of the parish newsletter and a Catholic pamphlet which is sent to Non-Catholics. They keep in touch with auxiliary and adjutorian members through a specially designed greeting card. The Senatus Spiritual Director, Fr. Masakawa, encouraged members to keep united in prayer with those legionaries who were in hospital. Mother of the Holy Rosary praesidium also reported. Recruiting is an important work for them and they hope to increase their efforts in this regard. One initiative is to combine cookery classes with their Bible study groups to widen the appeal.
Seoul Senatus: September and October 2020 minutes received. A new Spiritual Director, Fr. Simon Dong-Horn Lee was appointed in September, in succession to Fr. Dominico Jung who had given great service to the Senatus. Four Regia reported with a total of 28,593 active, 813 juniors and 26,523 auxiliary members. 40,057 contacts were made with a view to recruiting for catechism classes and over 200,000 contacts were made with the sick, both Catholic and of other faiths. These were in addition to many other apostolic works.
Gwanju Senatus: Minutes have been received to date. (January 2021). Senatus meetings were held in May, June, August and September. During this period pre-Covid reports were received from 2 Regia, 6 Comitia and 4 Curiae. Many praesidia continued to meet on line. The Senatus president reported that these operated successfully and that a good apostolate was being undertaken. Numbers continued to be high and many people were invited to become catechumens and there were many baptisms. Throughout 2020 and to date Legion activity has been affected by the ebb and flow of the virus. At the start of 2021 meetings recommenced, but the current situation is unclear.
Daegu Senatus: There has been no further news since they informed us that the February 2020 meeting was being cancelled due to Covid-19.
IRISH PROVINCIAL REPORT
Comitia: Carlow: Legionaries try to keep in touch with auxiliaries by phone or on occasions by mail, with some prayer leaflets sent to them. Praesidia were encouraged to participate in the “Forty Day Rosary” from Concilium.
Kildare Curia: Two legionaries recite the Rosary on the webcam from the Church each week evening and now during Lent they are also doing the Stations of the Cross.
Laois Curia: As part of its centenary initiative the Curia invited members to submit their reflections on the mysteries of the Rosary with a view to preparing a booklet on the Rosary which when completed will be distributed free of charge to people.
Tuam: The pre lockdown work of two praesidia include the following. Corofin praesidium has 5 members and 50 auxiliaries. Home visitation is done when possible. The three Causes and the Miraculous Medal are promoted and the pilgrim statue offered. The lapsed are invited back to the Church and the parish newsletter is distributed. They promote the 3 Causes, the Miraculous Medal and invite residents to become auxiliaries when visiting a nursing home. The Rosary is recited in two local cemeteries monthly during the year. Bottles of Holy Water are left at the church porches. Kilkerrin/Clonberne praesidium has also got five members and over 30 auxiliaries on roll. The Rosary is recited weekly in two churches and daily Rosaries are recited during May and October. Two nursing homes are visited weekly and the parish newsletter and Catholic papers are distributed. They recite the Rosary before a monthly Mass and assist the parish priest in distributing Holy Communion to the residents. Two members arrange monthly visits to the national school and organize “Children of the Eucharist” programme for the First Holy Communion class. Children are taught how to make St. Brigid’s Crosses.
Achonry: For the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes legionaries in Kiltimagh set up a special altar in the church with a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. At morning Mass on the Feast, the priest drew attention to the altar and suggested parishioners visit it during the day. In the evening some parishioners including the sacristan prayed the Rosary and played all of the Lourdes Ave on a mobile phone. Some Legionaries are in contact with elderly parishioners by telephone or calling briefly to their doors. They delivered Holy Ashes in envelopes with prayers attached to some homes. They are spreading devotion to St Joseph, head of the Holy Family as requested by Pope Francis. The painting of the statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette is being planned in Ballymote.
Ferns: One praesidium meets when certain restrictions are lifted, and one praesidium continues to hold meetings by Zoom, reciting the Rosary and Legion prayers only. Most praesidia with permission from the parish priest continue to say public Rosaries. The Rosary also continues to be recited on the quay every Friday night. As a way of promoting the Rosary, one praesidium though unable to hold meetings put Rosary leaflets in the letterboxes of the homes. Enniscorthy legionaries, along with members from other praesidia, recite the Rosary daily in the Cathedral at 3pm. The Spiritual Director of the Curia, Rev. Canon de Val celebrated 70 years as a priest this summer and for most of that time has been connected to the Legion.
Galway: The President of Galway Curia and his praesidium are holding a meeting via Zoom and they invite other members who would not be able to establish Zoom to join them.
Kilkenny: Castlecomer praesidium recite the Legion prayers and Rosary on a WhatsApp group one night per week.
DUBLIN CURIA REPORT
Two praesidia meet online weekly. Members of praesidia have participated in Legion Zoom conferences. Members are taking part in the 33 Day Consecration to St. Joseph on Zoom at 8p.m. daily from February 15th. The Curia Spiritual Director has resigned as he is moving to another mission house.
Ancilla Domini Curia
Legionaries meet weekly via Zoom to pray Legion Prayers, Rosary, Spiritual Reading and a short discussion. They generally speak about the Centenary Year. Two of the Legionaries are in the process of painting the Exhibition Room in Myra House.
Most Presidia are meeting each week on Zoom under lockdown restrictions. The 2 Hostel Presidia meet in order to manage the individual Hostels. No vulnerable members attend these 2 meetings each week and both Hostels follow the strict guidelines of living with Covid.
Some legionaries are involved with various new ventures via Zoom such as 33 Day Consecration to St Joseph Nightly Rosary, Sunday Rosary, A New World of Mary Conference, Fridays with Frank sessions set about discussing the essays of Frank Duff every week.
Buenos Aires Senatus: A 10 day Peregrinatio Pro Christo project on Zoom was carried out by legionaries from Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. Home visitation was the main apostolate done by the pairs of legionaries who had contacts lasting from 20 minutes to an hour. Those visited were amazed and thrilled to be contacted. The normal Peregrinatio Pro Christo daily programme was followed. A weeklong parish mission was also done on Zoom with a priest, a nun and 10 legionaries. Families in Colombia and Mexico were visited, and a good dialogue was possible. Each day Mass and Adoration were part of the invitation given to those visited. The Senatus have monthly committee meetings for correspondents, Alfie Lambe group, extension, Peregrinatio Pro Christo, centenary programme, school for officers and handbook study committee. These meetings have a good attendance. A legionary said recently it is easy to recruit new members for her virtual Praesidium meeting. She even got members of her family to join her Praesidium. The Senatus had their first Legion congress on Zoom with 96 legionaries present from their directly affiliated Praesidia. In one area of Argentina, it is possible now to have weekly Praesidia meetings in the parish. Home to home visitation has restarted when the two legionaries converse with families at the 2-meter distance. Some legionaries say it is a great time for Legion work and prayer as we have more time to give to the things in life that are important.
Cordoba Senatus: The Senatus encourages fasting and praying the Rosary on three consecutive Fridays for churches to open and for priests, several of whom have contracted the virus. The 99th Anniversary Mass was celebrated and broadcast online. In addition a period of drought led to fires which destroyed some gardens and crops. The currency has devalued and many businesses have failed.
Comitium of Rio Cuarto reported helping Caritas to send clothes and provisions to those impoverished. In January the Senatus Officers met to agree a schedule for the year. However there was no Senatus meeting due to a second wave of Covid 19.
Salta Senatus: Junior and young adult legionaries are very active. There are monthly meetings online with their same age groups in different councils all over Argentina. One of the Praesidia reported they give religion classes to the new recruits of the police force. Another Praesidium put the Legion altar on the plaza in the city centre and do contract work like book barrow work. The Senatus have an excellent monthly bulletin with highlights of the Senatus meeting and the Concilium correspondent’s full monthly letter. Many different activities were done on Zoom to commemorate Alfie’s anniversary. Some Argentinian legionaries were able to attend his Anniversary Mass online in Tullamore. Many Anniversary Masses were celebrated all over South America. For the January monthly Alfie Lambe programme, Sister Edel Garcia gave an excellent talk on Alfie’s spirituality and apostolate. Prayers for Alfie’s intercession are asked for Natalia, a young mother who has been in a coma for 6 years.
Corrientes Regia: The Regia organised a series of four virtual meetings in October at which the Legion prayers and rosary were recited, spiritual reading was taken from the handbook, an Allocutio was given and discussion took place on how the attached councils and praesidia were coping with the Covid-19 restrictions. The distant Comitia of Paso de Los Libres and Goya and the distant Curia of Itati were represented at the first meeting. The Regia’s presence on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Youtube was discussed. At one meeting a recorded message from the Spiritual Director was played. No council meetings have been taking place. Very little apostolate has been carried out due to the restrictions in place. Some reported organising baptisms and confessions. The most significant development was the setting up of a soup kitchen catering for 150 people, presumably adversely affected by the economic implications of the pandemic; it is not clear what involvement the Legion has - it may be that they are helping out. A Curia in Formosa reported the closing of a radio station on which the Legion had a slot. Now they have been accommodated by a municipal radio station. One new praesidium was reported. For the feast of the Miraculous Medal, the Regia normally organises a conference. This year they had a nine day novena preceding the feast and on the day itself they recited the Rosary continuously over the 24 hours, only breaking at 8 am for online exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass celebrated by their new Spiritual Director. A Curia in the town of Puerto Tirol organised a procession with an image of Our Lady in which people joined in cars, motorcycles, bicycles and even a good number on horseback!
Sao Paulo Senatus: Agendas for online meetings of the Senatus up to February 2021 have been received. Councils normally due to present reports are shown each month. They are asked to send their three-monthly reports or some information on how their councils are doing. Notice is given of online events due to take place. Some of these, such as Celebration of Mass, Adoration and the Recitation of the Rosary, are shown online on one or more days every week. A Retreat for Junior legionaries was planned for one day in February. Reports are presented which show the works carried out mainly in the pre-Covid period but also some efforts being made during the pandemic, such as contact by the phone or online with the sick, including some suffering from the coronavirus, and the elderly.
The last Senatus meeting was held in September 2020. A Curia with only 2 praesidia has been closed and the members transferred to another Curia. During the summer, members visited nursing homes talking to patients on the lawn with the blessing of the home operators. Retreats and pilgrimages were organised by 2 Curiae during the summer but with small numbers attending. The Senatus is anxious to obtain 1978 video interviews of Frank Duff as part of their centenary celebrations. A praesidium meets in a coffee shop and converses with the customers on spiritual matters during this time. An extension project from 9th - 16th August in Salzburg was hindered by the intense heat however many contacts were made although the heat did not permit long discussions. They had 280 positive conversations, 60 of which left the opportunity for follow-up. Some praesidia are meeting by Zoom with just the prayer element of the meeting being carried out. Young legionaries are very anxious to have full meetings by zoom however they accept the counsel that this could have confidentiality issues. A Curia has commenced visitation of a prison housing serious offenders and have been advised to examine the prospects of starting a praesidium among the prisoners. While Senatus maintains contact with councils which they caretake on behalf of Concilium, they report that no meetings or works are taking place due to Covid -19.
The Senatus has announced it’s programme for the Centenary and this will encompass spiritual events taking place over the weekend 3rd -5th September 2021.
Mass on Saturday 3rd will initiate the celebration while on the 4th mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Christoph Schornborn in the Cathedral in Vienna. In the afternoon workshops will be followed by a play about Frank Duff.
Sunday 5th will see a Congress starting at 8am themed ‘Bringing Christ into the world with Mary’ and speakers will include 2 University Professors.
24 hour Adoration will take place and an exhibition on the history of the Legion will also be on display and a special programme for children and young people has been arranged.
To complete the weekend a street apostolate will be conducted in various places in Vienna
In the territories where Senatus caretakes for Concilium , meetings have not been held since either September or October 2020 however Legionaries keep in touch by phone and Zoom.
Petrinja Comitium: An earthquake to the magnitude of 6.4 hit Croatia on 29 December with its epicentre in Petrinja. Contact was made with one of the officers who said that legionaries had escaped serious injury but that many of their homes were destroyed and many others damaged especially in the city centre. Many people have no jobs to return to. Please pray for legionaries there. Most praesidia meetings have resumed and the legionaries are visiting the homes to offer consolation. Curia and Comitium meetings have not resumed due to Covid restrictions.
Croatia – Zagreb Regia: The earthquake on December 29th also caused much damage to homes, churches and Zagreb Cathedral. Extension efforts are ongoing by the Regia and attached councils, 4 reporting praesidia report visiting hospitals, nursing homes and enrolment of auxiliary members. The work of a praesidium of 10 members is home visitation, street apostolate, pilgrim statue and an apostolate to homeless. Returns to the sacraments recorded after long and short periods. Many events planned could not take place due to Covid-19. Only 5 of 10 attached praesidia resumed meetings because of permission problems. Curia Zagreb started a Patrician meeting with 20 parishioners in attendance at the 1st meeting. Curia Rijeka is very active in extension work. 10 auxiliaries enrolled. Split Comitium has 13 attached praesidia and 2 Curiae. Most Praesidia resumed their meetings in May and June. The apostolate includes visits to homes, prisons, hospitals and a home for children with developmental disorders. 2 councils held the Acies. 14 people received Confession and Holy Communion after long periods. A praesidium in Slovenia had to suspend its meetings and no reports from Sarajevo Curia.
Budapest Regia: This report covers August and September Regia meetings. Due to the pandemic the President advised legionaries to keep contact via phone. A letter is being sent each month from the Regia whether there is a meeting or not. The Acies ceremony was held by each council and those who were unable to attend made it in their own homes. A significant work of the Regia is the nine-hour Vigil which has been running for 23 years from 8pm each Thursday to 5am Friday in the chapel of St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest. On March 26th 2020, they were forced to cease this Vigil. From May 21st they started live streaming it on YouTube until the second wave of the pandemic reached dangerous proportions. At the August and September Regia meetings reports were received from 3 praesidia and 3 Curiae. Works include visitation of elderly in hospitals, recitation of prayers with the sick in social welfare homes, helping the sick to get to Mass, support to families living on the edge of society and care of the church. Legionaries in one Curia remarked that during the pandemic there is an increased demand for God.
Telsai Comitium: Minutes to September 2020 received. Extension efforts are being made to bring the Legion to new parishes. Reports from 3 praesidia: 1 praesidium has memberships of 9 active, 343 auxiliary, 7 praetorian and 7 adjutorians. Patients are prepared for confession in their hospital visitation. The priest heard confessions of 194 patients. From 190 homes visited, 65 agreed to pray the rosary. The work of another 9 member praesidium includes visitation of cemeteries, hospitals and a care home, where 17 residents are auxiliaries. Members work closely with their Parish priest. A junior praesidium, members are aged 10-14 years with irregular attendance, organised a pilgrimage with 40 young people in attendance and a 3 day camp had 25 young people in attendance. 1 young person who had just received his confirmation, brought his mother to confession after a lapse of 20 years.
Warsaw Comitium: Mass attendance is allowed on Sundays and week days with limited numbers. Some meetings have resumed. Curiae and Comitia meetings were not held since October. Plans for the Legion Centenary include on 9 February, they will have a one-hour program on Radio Maryja and TV TRWAM. Fr. Janusz and Elżbieta from Lublin or somebody else will participate. They will have a Mass on 5th September on the main radio station at 9 a.m.
Satu Mare Regia. 3 praesidia reported. 1 praesidium with 10 active members and 348 auxiliaries reports organizing Adoration, promoting family prayer and helping the sick to receive the Sacraments. They also organized a Tridium for the feast of the Immaculate Conception and a vigil. A praesidium of 9 members reported cleaning graves in preparation for the Feast of the Holy Souls, They also organised a vigil for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. A praesidium of 5 leads the Rosary in the church in Romanian and Hungarian languages.