Concilium Bulletin January 2009
REPORTS - OVERVIEW OF ASIA AND THE LEGION
Armenia: Armenia has a population of 3 million and after independence many Armenians emigrated, the economy broke down. The predominant religion is Christianity — 93 % belong to the Armenian Apostolic church; Catholics number about 180,000. Its capital is Yerevan where a praesidium started in July 2008 by Bernardo de Nardo. It currently has 16 members doing a variety of very solid works.
Bangladesh has a population of between 142 and 159 million people. 98% are Bengali, the remainder are migrants and indigenous tribal groups. Christians number 0.3% of the population of which the majority are Catholics. The Legion there is under the care of the Calcutta legionaries, which has brought about increased contact.
India has a population of 1.1 billion, representing 17% of the world’s population. The capital city is New Delhi while Mumbai is its largest city. Hindi and English are the official languages. 70% of the population live in rural areas although migration to urban areas has increased in recent years. The Christian population is 3%. There are 2 Senatus, 2 Regiae and 1 Comitium directly affiliated to the Concilium. Chennai has 9 Comitia in the South of India. Exploratio Dominicalis and mini PPC projects are regularly carried out. The Senatus of Kerala has over 20 praesidia, 22 Curiae and 12 Comitia attached while Pondicherry Senatus has 17 praesidia, 19 Curiae and 5 or more Comitia. The Regia of Karnataka has at least 7 praesidia, 9 Curiae and 4 Comitia attached, while Mumbai Regia has 29 senior praesidia nearby and 10 distant praesidia, 2 junior Curiae, 22 senior Curiae and 4 Comitia attached.
Pakistan has a population of 172 million and its economy is 20% agricultural based and 53% serviced based. English and Urdu are the official languages. Christians are 1%. The officers visited Concilium during 2008 and are intent on re-introducing the Legion into areas where it was in the past. 200 legionaries in Karachi attended the annual reunion in December.
Nepal was declared a State in 2007 and a Republic in 2008 with a population of 29 million and Nepali is the official language. Nepal hosts about 130,000 refugees from Bhutan and China residing in camps. Bernardo de Nardo introduced the Legion to Nepal during 2008 and the new members have taken to the Legion system and spirit very easily. They have 5 senior and 1 junior praesidia. They held a very successful function for non-Catholics at which 50 attended an initiative they came up with themselves.
Sri Lanka has a population of 19 million. The English speaking community set up the Legion originally but its members now are far greater among the Sinhala and Tamil people. Much good is done in contacts with non-Christians.
Myanmar has a population of 55 million and the Christians represent 4%. The Legion is governed by a Senatus consisting of 2 Comitia, 6 directly affiliated Curiae and 16 praesidia, as well as some isolated Curiae and praesidia. Travel restrictions and dangers can interfere with visitation of councils. 17 Curiae were wiped out as a result of the cyclone in 2008.
Thailand has a population of 63 million. Christians make up 0.75% of the population. There Legion work includes home and hospital visitation and a campaign for a daily 10- minute reading the Bible is encouraged. A person lapsed for 50 years has returned to the practice of their faith and an elderly lady is under instruction.
Vietnam has a population estimated to be more than 84 million. There are 54 ethnic minority groups, including 40 hill tribal groups. Vietnamese and local languages are in use. Jesuit missionaries brought literacy to the people. 8% are Christians (about 6 m Catholic and 1m Protestant). The Legion is widespread throughout the country.
Mongolia has 6 Christians. When Bernardo de Nardo visited them they were encouraged to establish the Legion among the Mongolians themselves. There are 64 missionaries working among people from 18 nationalities.
Kazakhstan has a 40% Christian population. The Legion was introduced by Bill and Morag Mitchell to the country and thanks to the work added by Bernardo de Nardo in the past year there are now two Curiae, one in Karaganda and the other in Astana with 4 and 7 praesidia respectively. Works are done to the homes, the cancer hospitals, the TB centre and the drugs unit. Young people are encouraged to go to the Church. Membership in praesidia range from 5 to 16 members.
Kigali Senatus: Excellent apostolic work is done in the course of visitation of homes, hospitals, orphanages, prisons. Sick, elderly and handicapped people are helped to avail of Mass and the Sacraments when possible. Those who are lapsed are encouraged to resume religious duties. Following on the tragic events of the 1990’s some practical help is given to Religious Sisters running homes and hostels for homeless abandoned people – sometimes sharing tasks with the basic Christian communities. The Senatus is composed of 24 Comitia, 18 Curiae and 19 praesidia – elected officers are involved in excellent work and travel long distances to visit councils covering all areas to meet all existing needs. It was proposed to establish a Regia. The Cause of Venerable Edel Quinn was widely promoted during 2008 and a function to celebrate her anniversary was organized in Kigali Cathedral on 9th September 2008.
St. Denis Comitium: Works undertaken include home and hospital visitation, bringing Holy Communion to the sick, encouraging prayer in the homes, helping and praying at wakes. The Junior Curia reported visiting the sick and elderly, joining in the school apostolate and taking part in the Church choir. A seriously ill man who refused to see a priest asked the prayers of the legionaries and received the Sacraments of the sick soon afterwards.
Senatus of Gitega: Printing the leaflets, for wider promotion, of the 3 candidates for Beatification is planned. True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin has been an important item in the Legion’s programme. The youth promote a movement called “Friends of Montfort”.
Central African Republic
Bangui Regia: On reaching 18, members in the junior Comitium are encourage to transfer to senior ranks. The Regia reports strong support from legionaries in the basic communities.
Kinshasa Senatus: The Archbishop of Kinshasa has appointed a new Spiritual Director for the Senatus. Report from Mother of Joy Comitium mentions high level of spirituality among members. The President is preparing for his journey as Concilium visitator along with another legionary to Ivory Coast.
In the Lubumbashi Regia statistics confirm that the Legion in the Diocese has a membership of 7,500. A new Regia has been set up at Kolwezi bringing the number of Regiae in Katanga Province to 3.
True Devotion to Mary
A discussion was held on the True Devotion to Mary which included the following:
The object of the Legion of Mary is the self-sanctification of the members and what better way to achieve this than undertaking the practice of De Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. It is important in our Legion membership and praesidium that we practice and propagate the True Devotion to Mary.
The following quotation from the Handbook reads:
It is desirable that the practice of the legionary devotion to Mary should be rounded off and given the distinctive character which has been taught by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort under the titles of “The True Devotion” or the “Slavery of Mary”, and which is enshrined in his two books, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the Secret of Mary.
That Devotion requires the formal entry into a compact with Mary, whereby one gives to her one’s whole self, with all its thoughts and deeds and possessions, both spiritual and temporal, past, present, and future, without the reservation of the smallest part or slightest little thing. In a word, the giver places himself in a condition equivalent to that of a slave possessing nothing of his own, and wholly dependent on, and utterly at the disposal of Mary.
But the earthly slave is far freer than the slave of Mary. The former remains master of his thoughts and inner life, and thus may be free in everything that matters to him. But the surrender to Mary bears with it everything: each thought, the movements of the soul, the hidden riches, the inmost self. All – on to the final breath – is committed to her that she may expend it all for God. It is a sort of martyrdom, the sacrifice of self to God, with Mary as the altar of that sacrifice. How conformed, indeed, to the sacrifice of Christ himself, which likewise began in Mary’s bosom, was publicly confirmed in the arms of Mary uplifted in the presentation, embraced every moment of his life, and was consummated on Calvary on the cross of Mary’s heart. (Handbook, pages 37–38).
True Devotion to Mary by Rev. Michael Kennedy, CC
“By its fruit you will know it” (Mt. 12:33). The place in France, the year is 1716. At eight o’clock in the evening it is all over. The whole district quivers at the news of Fr. Grignion’s death. The roads are crowded with the converts streaming for a last farewell. Rosary beads, crucifixes and medals by the thousand are being brought to touch his body. So vast are the crowds that a guard has to be set around his coffin. He is buried on the afternoon of April 29th where he would have asked to be, in the chapel of his mother. His career is over, or rather, it is just beginning
Today this man is known to us as Saint Louis–Marie Grignion de Montfort. He founded two religious congregations, one of men and one of women, and yet he died at the early age of 43 years after only 16 years of priesthood. Through his teaching of the True Devotion to Mary he was instrumental in the conversion of countless heretics.
In his book Fr. Grignion recorded the following fascinating prophecy: “I clearly foresee that raging brutes will come in fury to tear with their diabolic teeth this little writing and him whom the Holy Ghost has used to write it, or, at least to enclose it in the silence of a coffer in order that it may not appear”. Nevertheless he predicted both the appearance of the book and its success. It is of interest to note that while Fr. Grignion died in 1716, his book was not found until 1842.
Another person who read and practised the True Devotion to Mary was the reformed alcoholic Matt Talbot. Many find the book a difficult one to read and yet Matt Talbot, an uneducated saintly man, mastered it and took to himself its spirit. It was one of the most marked books on his shelf. Referring to this book afterwards, in connection with the wearing of a chain, Matt remarked that he “had read of a devotion which lifted him from earth to heaven”. The world now knows of its impact on Matt Talbot.
Dublin 1917 was a city of great poverty. The St. Vincent de Paul Society was making strenuous efforts to combat this. One day a group of ladies volunteered their services. Their offer was accepted and one of the brothers was put in charge of them. He was a young civil servant named Frank Duff.
Frank was introduced to a book by a friend. It was “The True Devotion to Mary”. Upon finishing the book, he wasn’t very impressed. He though it was a bit excessive. This is what Frank later said “I still have recollections of that first reading. The book was laid aside. I would not have opened it again but for the dear tyranny of a friend. He exacted repeated readings, which were grudgingly conceded. Then gradually it dawned on me that the book was an inspired production, that it was right and I was wrong; what it said was true and had the character of a special message; the excesses which I thought I found were really deficiencies in myself, wide gaps in knowledge and apprehension. I realised that I must try to fill them in and to some extent succeeded. Ever since, the book has been a source of light to me so that I add myself to those, who bless the day in which it came to them”.
Frank began to give talks on the subject to his group and eventually the question was put: “Why don’t we try to put this into practice?” From that a meeting was held – the first ever Legion of Mary meeting. Frank recalls: “It was just like making an electric connection and something happened. We spent the evening talking about the Devotion. I do not say, that even so, we understood it fully, but at least we were in ardent sympathy with it. We desired to practice it. Then at once the Legion happened. A meeting was arranged: 8 p.m. September 7th, 1921, the eve of Our Lady’s birthday. It was really born with Mary”. So we see that the Legion was the fruit of the True Devotion to Mary.
Alfie Lambe and Edel Quinn also practised the True Devotion to Mary. Both of their causes for beatification have been introduced and Edel’s is already at an advanced stage. While in our own day, Pope John Paul II adds his name to this distinguished list.
Frank Duff’s cause was introduced and accepted on the 4th June 1996 and he is now to be referred to as the Servant of God.
I mention the fruits of De Montfort’s life – countless heretics converted, two religious congregations established, also the heroic life of Matt Talbot, as well as Frank Duff, the Legion of Mary, Alfie Lambe, Edel Quinn and Pope John Paul II for one reason – to show the marvellous effects that the True Devotion to Mary can have on one’s life if one takes it seriously.
Celebrating the 1,000th Meeting of the Concilium Legionis Mariae
On Sunday the 18th January 2009, the Concilium Legionis Mariae celebrated its 1,000th meeting. To mark this occasion the Concilium was honoured and privileged to have the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza with us at this meeting. He read a letter on behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in relation to the 1,000th meeting in which he commended all members of the Legion to the loving intercession of Mary, the Queen of Apostles and imparted his Apostolic Blessing. A copy of this letter is on the back page of the bulletin. Tommy McCabe, Concilium President, thanked His Excellency for giving of his time to be at the meeting today. Enda Dunleavy, Concilium Secretary, summarised some of the significant events that have occurred at these meetings. Thanks to Catherine Murphy, Concilium Assistant Secretary, for organising a beautiful cake to mark this special occasion.
Visit to Mexico from the 21 August to 16 September (continued)
As already outlined in the last bulletin, Ann Murray and Pat O’Donoghue visited councils and the officers of three councils came to meet them in Guadalajara. These councils included Hermosillo, Durango and Monterrey. The President and Treasurer of the Regia of Hermosillo represented their Regia. A very interesting meeting was held on the varied activities of legionaries in that city and the attached Comitia in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Soto Maynes, Buenaventura, Magdelena and La Paz. Although they govern a large area they maintain great contact with all the attached councils.
Durango was raised to Regia and affiliated to Concilium less than one year prior to the visit. All four officers, including their recently elected President, and their Spiritual Director Pbro David Vasquez Garcia made the journey. They endured a gruelling schedule; forfeiting 2 nights sleep by travelling overnight by bus the night before our meeting and returning the following night. A thorough review of the state of the Legion in their area was undertaken and all involved learnt much. While it is a new higher council the officers are very committed to extending and strengthening the Legion in the Regia area.
From Monterrey, five officers travelled the long journey, returning on an overnight bus. The many efforts of their legionaries were outlined. One highlight was their emphasis on recruiting and forming young legionaries in Monterrey and the spectacular successes in the attached council of Saltillo where there are 19 praesidia of young members, ranging from juniors to young adults. Pat O’Donoghue remained in Guadalajara for a further week and attended a lively Regia meeting where the Comitium of Aguascalientes gave their wide–ranging report. He was shown great hospitality by the legionaries. Subsequently he spent two busy and fulfilling weeks in the Regiae of Durango, Monterrey and Hermosillo before returning to Ireland in early November.
28th Anniversary Mass for the Servant of God, Frank Duff
The 28th Anniversary Mass for the Servant of God, Frank Duff took place on Saturday 15th November 2008 at 3.00 pm in the Pro–Cathedral, Dublin which was filled to capacity. The principal celebrant was Monsignor Alex Stenson, the Archbishop’s delegate for the Cause of the Servant of God, Frank Duff; Fr. Bede McGregor, Spiritual Director of Concilium Legionis Mariae was the homilist and Fr. Padraig O’Chochlain joined them as main celebrants. Thirty priests accepted the invitation of Concilium to concelebrate the Mass and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Eibhlin Byrne was present and Fr. Michael Ross, SDB, acted as her Chaplain. Fr. Bede’s homily focused on Frank Duff’s interior life about which he never spoke nor did he write about, but which is revealed through his many letters and writings and above all through the Legion Handbook. The core of his life was his humility and his love for Our Blessed Lady.
The President Tommy McCabe thanked the members of Bethlehem Curia for their excellent organisation of the event, which brought about a most successful occasion.
SECRETARIAT OF STATE
First Section – General Affairs
From the Vatican, 5 December 2008
Dear Mr McCabe,
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was pleased to learn of the one thousandth meeting of the Concilium of the Legion of Mary taking place in Dublin and has directed me to send his greetings and good wishes for the occasion.
The Holy Father wishes me to assure you of his appreciation for the generous service to the Church offered throughout the world by so many members of the Legion who, under the heavenly patronage of Mary, the Mother of God, seek to draw all persons to Christ, the Redeemer of mankind.
Please be assured of His Holiness’s prayers for your intentions and for all taking part in the deliberations of the Concilium. Commending you and all the members of the Legion to the loving intercession of Mary, the Queen of Apostles, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Fernando Filoni
Mr Tommy McCabe President
Concilium Legionis Mariae
De Montfort House
Morning Star Avenue
Brunswick Street, Dublin 7
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.