Concilium Bulletin July 2020
Senatus of Lima: During the lockdown, the Senatus Officers maintained contact with attached councils and praesidia, although it has been asked of them why they did not allow their correspondents to undertake this task as usual. Some praesidia have been meeting virtually to recite the legion prayers and rosary, study the handbook and also the Catechism and papal documents. Other praesidia have asked their members to recite at home the Legion prayers daily and in particular at the time and day on which they normally met. Some praesidia have been keeping in contact with their auxiliaries by phone and holding online gatherings with them. Two pre-junior groups have formed with the support of the parents. Young adults have prayed outside the homes of those ill with the virus or those who have died; this has proved very popular with the families. Others give out their phone number so that those who are worried or lonely can call them. Still more recite the rosary from their windows or balconies for the benefit of neighbours. The Senatus Spiritual Director celebrated an online mass for the Legion at a national level.
Senatus of La Paz: April and June Senatus meetings were held on Zoom with a good participation. Due to lack of the required hardware, some were only able to listen in. Two council reports were given which showed that Legion works continue. The Spiritual Director was full of encouragement and praised the legionaries who do prison visitation for the letters they write as visits from outside are not permitted at this time. Their Concilium correspondent virtually joined the June meeting. The Regia of Santa Cruz have not missed any of their monthly Regia meetings or officers’ meetings. Praesidia are meeting virtually each week. Their correspondents are in frequent contact with outlying councils and praesidia. Using Zoom and WhatsApp the rosary is taught and said with many contacts. The Regia President commented that: The Holy Spirit and Mary have opened new ways for us to evangelise. We are exploring new ideas such as religious instruction, Patrician meetings and even the starting of new praesidia.
Senatus of Asuncion: No news since lockdown in March.
Senatus of Quito: The last Senatus meeting was held in February and featured in the last South American report.
Senatus of Montevideo: No council meetings have been held since the last report. The officers have been meeting virtually twice a month using zoom for prayer and discussion.
Senatus of Caracas: The council has been out of touch in the more recent months due to Covid 19. Minutes of January meeting to hand showing 83% attendance including six officers from distant attached councils. An attached Comitium reported evangelization of third level students but didn’t give any details. Contact with all attached councils is excellent and attached councils with their lower councils.
Senatus of Santiago: In spite of many restrictions and huge suffering due to the pandemic all praesidia are working. Legion work involves two legionaries conversing with families by WhatsApp with special attention given to the elderly and those living alone. The Senatus bulletin reaches all praesidia with local and Concilium reports.
Senatus of Bogota: The following is pre-lockdown activity: 3 Regia, 2 Comitia, 1 Curia and 3 praesidia reported. The Senatus identified 4 parishes for extension and set up a senior praesidium, a junior Curia and a junior praesidium. They also organised various extension workshops and prayer gatherings for their local attached councils. When officers of distant councils visit the Senatus they are brought out on apostolate. Work with the homeless and with Venezuelan migrants features strongly. Also participating in radio programs. A Comitium reported leaving leaflets on Our Lady in bars and public houses. A Curia holds a monthly breakfast for the elderly in order to evangelise them. A Comitium recruited 25 auxiliary members from the prison they visit.
The Regia of Bucaramanga reports ecological walks for youngsters, 3 marriages regularised, the conversion of a drug addict who now attends mass with his mother and of a protestant pastor thanks to the rosary.
The Regia Corazon Inmaculada de Maria of Bogota works with young drug addicts and HIV sufferers. They set up 3 new praesidia and avoided the closure of a curia threatened due to poor communication with the clergy.
The Regia of Barranquilla makes contact with street girls and some have joined praesidia as active legionaries. In Riohacha diocese they work with the Wayuu tribe in Reservations, succeeding in having children make their First Holy Communion and confirmation and 3 couples married.
Because of Covid 19, the March meeting was the final one held by the Senatus. Many groups held virtual meetings of prayer and formation.
Senatus of Medellin: Due to Covid 19 the last minutes are for February.
The Regia of Rio Negro reported its composition of 3 Comitia, 16 Curiae and 5 praesidia; extension is impressive with 5 senior, 1 intermediate and 1 junior praesidia set up and praesidia in formation in Nariño, Argelia and Puerto Venus. Among their works, the Christmas and Holy Week novenas in the prison stand out.
The Regia of Nuestra Senora de la Pobreza reported raising a new Curia. As well as home, hospital and nursing-home visitation, they do street contact in parks and on footpaths and taught the rosary to two drug addicts, one of whom had a conversion.
The June Senatus meeting took place online with 21 joining in. However because legion apostolates have not been possible the reports were scant.
Auckland Senatus: Wellington Comitium reported with 13 Senior and 3 Junior praesidia. Attendance at Comitium is very low due to distance, health of members, and only 1 praesidium has membership of under 50 years old. Christchurch Korean Curia have 8 senior praesidia with 62 members and 3 praetorians. South Auckland Curia have 12 senior praesidia and 1 junior Curia. Visits are made to nursing homes, hospitals, statue visitation and door visitation. Southern Cross praesidium reported an Anglican resident in a nursing home who they visited wanted to become a Catholic, was instructed and received Holy Communion, Confession and Confirmation. Some months later died at peace.
Brisbane Comitium: 840 visits were made to sick and elderly in homes and care homes. Syrian refugees helped settle in to the parish. Religious education given to Autistic and Cerebral Palsy residents in a care home. A praesidium in Ayr, Townsville Diocese, the only one, has very small membership, and the Legion has not made much impact in any of the Diocese outside of Brisbane. Plans are being discussed of how to celebrate the centenary.
Sydney Senatus: The January newsletter reported 2 Indonesian praesidia reported consolation visits made to nursing homes and aged care communities where the rosary is recited. Our Lady’s statue is circulated , rosary beads are made to circulate to the local catechists. Illawarra Curia do door to door visitation, visit bereaved and have 7 statues in circulation. Legionaries volunteer in the monthly marriage enrichment seminar and recruit lots of auxiliary members.
Melbourne Senatus: A very successful Summer School was held from 15-17th February. Noumea Comitium in New Caledonia reported with 8 Curia on the mainland and 1 in Wallis Island. The Comitium’s Annual Retreat held from 15 to 18 January had an attendance of 160, young and old. After last year’s retreat a new praesidium was set up. Work performed includes teaching catechism in the tribes and villages, and they held an awareness programme for tribal chiefs about the intrusion of religious sects in the tribes. The Comitium has 7 Islands with the Legion. 19 marriages took place last December after the legionaries worked with couples in de facto relationships. A number of baptisms took place.
Bicolandia Senatus: Legazpi Regia reported with 5 Comitia, 5 senior and 1 junior Curia, 2655 members, 211 praetorians, 634 juniors. Marriage validations 31, Sacred Heart Enthronments, 456 hospital visits and nursing homes and 240 inmates visited. 329 baptisms of children and 44 adults organised. Holy Rosary Major Seminary Curia have 12 senior praesidia with 62 members, and 12 junior praesidia with 90 members. They work in orphanages, have a Radio apostolate, teach catechism in 3 elementary schools and a high school. The Jail is also visited.
Cebu Senatus: The correspondent has encouraged the legionaries to read a page of the Handbook daily during the lockdown. The Acies that was live streamed from Cork was picked up by some and were delighted. A variety of works reported for late 2019 included home, prison and hospital visitation. Also block Rosaries, rectifying marriages, catechesis and supervising junior praesidia.
Senatus of Northern Philippines: January and February minutes reported a praesidium of 22 members who hope to divide shortly.
Olangapo Comitium held a Marian exhibition in October last and 12 conversions were completed.
Manila Comitium: 2 Curiae and 3 praesidia organised auxiliary rallies and 89 recruited, and also 62 active members obtained. The parents of junior members were invited to a Seminar to encourage them to take part in motivating their children to attend their meetings regularly and become promoters of the Legion themselves.
Western Visayas Senatus and Mindanao Senatus: still in lockdown and no reports received. The correspondents keep in touch with them to encourage prayer.
Veneranda Curia: The following is pre-lockdown activity: A praesidium of 8 active members and 20 auxiliaries undertake home visitation and household duties at the Morning Star hostel. Mountjoy Prison is visited each weekend and the prisoners enjoy the visits of the legionaries and look forward to them. Members educate the men on their faith, give out Rosaries and also make contact with the prison officers.
Bethlehem Curia: Pre-lockdown activity: A praesidium of 6 active and 14 auxiliaries undertake street contact along the board-walk in the city centre each week. Members offer the Miraculous Medal to people and explain its spiritual significance, encountering people of many different nationalities and faiths. Members also promote and assist with the monthly Frank Duff Holy Hour in Church Street.
Exaltata Curia: Members delivered copies of the Maria Legionis journal to subscribers via letterboxes.
Porta Coeli Curia: During the past few months, legionaries were encouraged to pray the Legion prayers and Rosary at the time of their weekly praesidium meeting. Members also took part in a 54-day Rosary Novena.
Presentata Curia: Due to the coronavirus, a decision was taken in March at the Morning Star hostel to put into effect a close-down. 15 of the 63 residents who would find this difficult decided beforehand to find alternative accommodation with family or friends. The three indoor brothers and members of the hostel praesidium took care of the running of the hostel for the residents during this time. The non-live-in brothers arranged for the collection of residents’ welfare payments, pensions, medicines and other requests. A local pub/ restaurant supplied cooked meals for the residents several times a week. Some of the residents assisted with the cleaning of the hostel, wash-up after meals, making of sandwiches and looking after the sale and distribution of cigarettes and tobacco. Each day Mass could be viewed from the internet and all the Easter ceremonies were provided on the big screen in the Men’s Shed. These ceremonies, as well as the daily Rosary at 7pm and 9pm were also very well attended by the residents. The legionaries felt how it was a privilege and honour to be working alongside of Our Blessed Lady in the Morning Star hostel during this time. The Regina Coeli hostel, the home of up to 35 women, took a slightly different route from the Morning Star and decided to open a little later in the day and close earlier in the evening. Because of age profile of some of the regular legionaries working in the hostel could not attend and work there during this time. The hostel was primarily staffed by 3 indoor sisters and some of the officers of the Regina Coeli praesidium together with other legionaries. The residents were able to avail of the services of the local Capuchin day centre who provided them with daily breakfast or lunch. During the Easter celebrations the Stations of the Cross were organised in the outside garden at the front of the hostel.
Consolata Curia: A “Mary Day”, scheduled to take place in April, was hosted in June via the internet using Zoom. The title of the conference was “A New World of Mary”, a phrase used by Frank Duff. Over 300 people attended the conference, including His Excellency the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, who expressed thanks to the Legion afterwards. The full Legion Prayers were recited and the blessing was given by Fr Brendan Walsh, guest speaker. A legionary gave testimony describing her journey from Ukraine to Dublin and her corresponding journey of Faith; a journey which brought her through the New Age Movement, the Presbyterian Church and finally to the Catholic Church and the Legion of Mary. A G.P. and pro-life activist gave a presentation on Our Lady of Guadalupe and the miracle of the Tilma (cloak) of St. Juan Diego. Two talks were given entitled “Hail, full of Grace” and “Our Lady and the Eucharist” and a young man spoke about his return to the practice of his Catholic Faith. The feedback from the conference was very positive, so much so that it was decided to host a follow-up conference which was attended by 200 people.
Accra Senatus: has not been able to meet since February due to Covid restrictions. Some attached Councils and Praesidia are holding virtual meetings during the lockdown period. The Senatus Officers held a meeting with their Spiritual Directors last month, after the government partially lifted some restrictions and following that meeting they decided to try and hold the Senatus meeting via ZOOM.
All legion activities have stopped since the end of March, no meetings, Church prayers or gatherings allowed
Harare Curia: Details of the elections of officers are awaited. The Curia is making efforts to help weak praesidia.
Maputo Regia: The Spiritual Director has made recommendations to the legionaries during social isolation, so that they remain firm in prayer, which has excited everyone.
Quelimane Comitium: There was an election for the 4 officerships. There was a plan to meet legionaries from the Diocese of Guruè in June but it was deferred. Legionaries have been praying Legion prayers in their own homes at the time they used to meet.
Tete Comitium: Legionaries pray the rosary and are broadcasted by a radio station of a volunteer who offered to spread prayers and Masses during this period of the pandemic. Most pastoral areas have a strong presence of the Legion: Tete, Songo, Angonia and Manje. Two officers from the Comitium visited the Legion in the pastoral area of Matarara, which needs more attention. There was a plan to visit all pastoral areas, but it was suspended. The big challenge is to get to Zumbo, the extreme west of Mozambique, but due to poor road access conditions, it has not yet been possible to go. There is provision for division of the Diocese of Tete, which it is expected to better organize the presence of the Legion, according to this new reality. The Spiritual Director of the Comitium has been engaged in contact with other Priests to accompany the Legion of Mary in their respective pastoral areas.
Beira Comitium: Before the pandemic, they visited hospitals, prison, and nursing homes. Now the legionaries have prayed in their homes.
Nacala Diocese: Legionaries have been praying through social media and to keeping in touch.
Luanda Senatus: An email from the Senatus President referred to plans for a for the Centenary of the Legion of Mary during 15 to 19 September 2021. This is being arranged in consultation with the Bishops. The Theme is: Following the example of Mary: Do whatever He tells you. (John 2:5).
Benguela Senatus: A Senatus meeting was held on 27 June 2020. 81 officers attended. A main item of this meeting was a new election for the President of the Senatus. In November 2019 elections were held for all the officers of the Senatus. Unfortunately, the elections were not carried out in accordance with Legion norms. They agreed to hold new elections and regretted their error, expressing their wish to abide by the directives of the Concilium. Present at this meeting was Rev. Fr. Manuel Abel dos Santos, Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral matters, who represented His Excellency, Dom António Francisco Jaka, Bishop of Benguela, to accompany the election of the new Senatus President. A letter from the Senatus on 28 May gave news of the death on 26 May 2020 of Bishop Emeritus of Benguela, His Excellency Dom Oscar Lino Lopes Fernandes Braga. Dom Oscar played a great role in developing the Legion in Benguela and was very happy to see a Senatus established there before he retired.
In February the Senatus commenced taking annual reports on the correspondent’s suggestion. Up to then many short reports were taken every month. One praesidium reported an average attendance of 63% and work done 79%. Work included homes and sick visitation, prayer and catechism teaching. The officers of a Curia said it is difficult to attend Comitium meetings as it is no longer safe to walk a long distance.
Cape Town Senatus: A committee is to be established to oversee the Centenary celebrations. All Praesidia are to document and compile their history. Legionaries were reminded to keep costs down. Fr. Johnathan of St. Stephens Parish in Rocklands would like a junior praesidium in his parish. A praesidium of five active and 6 auxiliary members do home visitation and visit a home for adults suffering from Cerebral Palsy. Masses were arranged for Frank Duff and deceased legionaries.
Johannesburg Senatus: Legionaries are involved in home, hospital and hospice visitation. Efforts are being made to set up the legion in parishes without the legion. There is a lot of contact with non-Catholics.
Matatiele Comitium: A praesidium of 14 active and 40 auxiliary members reported 2 adults and 13 children baptised, 36 children prepared for First Communion. Two new junior praesidia were set up.