Concilium Bulletin June 2009
REPORTS - Europe
With the exception of Austria, the other 14 countries covered by this report were under the control of atheistic regimes until the 1990’s. The Church and Church activities were severely, if not totally restricted. During the last two decades the Church has been working hard at re-establishing itself. The Legion in almost all of the countries came into being with the re-emergence of the Church. Consequently the Legion could be said to be in its infancy or early youth. The works undertaken in many of the countries reflect the historic situation:-
– much visitation of elderly people living alone and in hospitals who had no opportunity of receiving the Sacraments during the greater part of their lives;
– bringing them a priest and enabling them to have the Sacraments before the end of their lives;
– helping couples married under civil law to have their marriages regularised in Church;
– giving talks on chastity to students and seeking through prayer persuasion to counteract the huge number of abortions;
– locating former Catholics and helping them to register so that permission to establish parishes may be obtained;
– helping with the building of new churches which includes mixing and carrying the cement and bricks.
– All the usual Legion works of visitation, street apostolate, organising retreats, pilgrimages and prayer groups are undertaken.
Population is just over 9.5 million of which approximately 1.5 million or 15% are Catholic. The Legion is in all 5 Dioceses. There is one Comitium with 10 senior Curiae, 1 junior Curia and 7 directly attached praesidia. All Curiae have full Curia officerships. Curiae and praesidia are visited regularly and visitation is reported on at Comitium. Almost every praesidium does extension. In January they held a very successful Youth Congress with an attendance of 51. They publicised it in a Catholic website on the internet. Legionaries found a family to adopt 2 orphaned brothers. Chernobyl has left the country with enormous problems.
Hungary has a population of 10 million, 6 million or 58% of whom are Catholic. The Legion is in 13 of the 16 Dioceses. The Legion in Hungary was given Regia status in 2000 while still under the caretakership of Vienna Senatus, Austria and in 2005 it was directly attached to Concilium. The Regia presently comprises 6 Comitia, 12 Curiae and 25 directly attached praesidia. Three of the councils attached to the Regia are in other countries - 2 Comitia in Romania, 1 Curia in Ukraine, all with Hungarian speaking legionaries.
The population of Latvia is 2.25 million of which 22% is Catholic. There is one Archdiocese, 3 Dioceses and 250 Catholic parishes. The Legion comprising 1 Comitium with 3 attached Curiae and 13 directly attached praesidia and is in all 4 Dioceses. Latvian legionaries have been asked by Concilium to care-take Estonia and try and establish the Legion there. Initial steps have been taken.
Eighty percent of its approximately 3.5 million people are Catholic. There are 2 Archdioceses and 5 Dioceses with a Legion presence in all of them. There is 1 Comitium in Kaunus and attached to it 5 senior Curiae, 1 junior Curia and 18 praesidia. Extension drives are organised after Sunday Masses and 2 praesidia were started in Marjiampole Curia in the last 8 months. Patricians feature in reports and non-Catholics met are sometimes taken to meet a Priest.
The Officers of Zagreb Regia attended the June Concilium meeting and this report is given elsewhere in the bulletin.
The country has a population of 3 million of whom 15% are Catholic. The Legion is established in one of the 3 Dioceses. There is 1 Curia in Sarajevo, which has 4 praesidia with 40 active members. Extension efforts were made in 2 parishes and a junior praesidium has been set up. Good contacts were made with Orthodox, Muslims and other Christian denominations.
Slovenia has a population of 5.4 million and 81% are Catholic. Lubljana Curia has 7 praesidia. The Legion is established in 1 of the 5 Dioceses.
The Catholic population of Poland is over 90%. The Legion in the East and South of the country is governed by Lublin Regia to which are attached 6 Comitia, 13 Curiae and 9 praesidia. The Legion in the Centre and North of the country is looked after by two Comitia. Warsaw Comitium with 4 attached Curiae and 18 directly attached praesidia and Warsaw-Praga Comitium with 1 attached Curia and 15 directly attached praesidia. Lublin gives news of 2 praesidia established during this period and 10 Parishes visited and given Legion information. Warsaw nominated a parish for extension each month. The country has 15 Archdioceses and 27 Dioceses. 24 Dioceses have the Legion and 17 without the Legion.
The population is 22 million, 5% of whom are Latin Rite or Roman Catholic, 5% Greek Catholic or Uniates and 85% Orthodox. The Legion had its beginning around 1994 following Peregrinatio Pro Christo trips and Curia Bucharest was established in 2001. It has 13 attached praesidia and governs the Legion in 2 Dioceses. Legion contact is made by means of hospital visitation and works of service; home visitation is not possible. The Legion in Hungarian speaking areas comprises of Comitium Nagyvward and Comitium Satu Mare, which are attach to Budapest Regia.
Slovakia has a population of 5.4 million of whom 72% are Catholic. Five of the 6 Dioceses have the Legion. There is 1 Comitium and 4 Curiae governing 34 praesidia with 217 active members. There are parishes where priests are awaiting the Legion. True Devotion to Mary is studied and works include street apostolate.
Out of a population of 10 million 27% are Catholic. The Legion is in 4 of the 8 Dioceses. There are 2 Comitia and 2 Curiae. Visitation of prisoners and preparing adults for Baptism are among their works. The first Patrician meeting with an attendance of 20 has been held.
This country has a population of 4.3 million of whom 20,000 are Catholic. The majority are Orthodox by tradition. There is only 1 Diocese with 9 Parishes and the Legion is in all of them. The Curia based in the capital Chisinau has also 2 junior praesidia. The present number of active legionaries is 128. The Bishop of Chisinau attended the Acies and celebrated Mass with the 100 legionaries present.
With a population of 35,000 of whom 71% are Catholic, extension efforts have been made but with no result as yet.
Ukraine has a population of 46m of whom 6.5m are Catholic. 1.5 million are Roman or Latin Rite Catholic and 5 million are Greek Catholic. There are 7 Latin Dioceses and the Legion is in all of them. The Legion comprises 1 Comitium, 13 senior and 1 junior Curiae. A successful Summer School was held at which all Councils were represented. Elizabeth Kriss from Austria, who spent a year there doing extension, will make a return visit this year.
Austria has a population of 8.2 million of which 72% are Catholic. The Legion is in all 9 Dioceses. The Senatus comprises 10 Comitia and 47 Curiae governing 358 praesidia, 23 of which are junior praesidia with approximately 90 junior members.
Some items of interest from the report:
1. 26 Deaneries were visited for the Marian Congress,
2. 13 attended a day for Spiritual Directors,
3. New innovations were Cemetery apostolate in November and “Google with Jesus” to win over the 4-7 year olds,
4. 35 attended a retreat for lapsed organised by Comitium Muehlviertel, Linz Diocese,
5. Comitium Innsbruck do night apostolate to street girls,
6. Curia Florisdorf organised a 33-day preparation course on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
Extension efforts were made by many of the councils with limited success. The reports mentioned 1 senior and 1 junior praesidia with 1 junior Patrician group established. The Legion is in 252 of the 2,934 parishes i.e. 8.5%. The Senatus Officers had a meeting with Cardinal Schoenhorn who endorsed the Legion and the role of Mary in the Church.
The following report on Africa covers a number of countries in East, Central and West Africa, including most of those visited by Venerable Edel Quinn. Councils are affected by one or more problems such as poverty, great distances, poor roads and transport, poor communications, disease, literacy difficulties, civil unrest etc.
Kenya has 10m Catholics out of a population of 35m. The Legion is governed by a Senatus in Nairobi and a Regia at Kisumu. The first praesidium in Nairobi was established by Venerable Edel in 1936. A praesidium of 11 in a prison compound has a junior group, visits families in the area and visited 100 inmates in the prison. A Curia had 50 patients attend a Mass organized in a psychiatric hospital. Kisumu Regia reported 1,455 received the Sacrament of the sick, 205 were Baptized in danger of death, over 1,000 marriages were validated, 3,317 adults and 506 children were Baptized, 213 people were received into the church and 42 witchdoctors who burned their tools, are under instruction. Twelve praesidia were set up. The Regia celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Bishop Emeritus John Njenga was the chief celebrant at the annual anniversary Mass at Venerable Edel Quinn’s grave.
Uganda has 12m Catholics, about 43% of the population, and has 19 Dioceses including 4 Archdioceses. The Legion is established in all 19. The Senatus of Uganda has 2 Regiae, 14 Comitia, 16 Curiae and 18 praesidia directly affiliated and there are 88,416 active seniors, 22,083 juniors and l4,400 youths. About 60% of members are between 18 and 40 years. Administration is good and much visitation of councils and extension is undertaken and congresses are held. Minutes since November include news of 140 Praesidia having been set up. The Legion is established in many schools and tertiary institutions and one Curia recently reported 8 members ordained deacons and 11 priests. There are 2 Curiae and 5 praesidia in prisons and Legionaries are encouraged to stay involved after release and recently “a Legionary attending Senatus for the first time after 18 years in a condemned prison was warmly welcomed to the meeting”. Members from the Senatus of Uganda have visited 4 African countries on behalf of Concilium and they now supervise the Legion in Ethiopia and Sudan on a caretaker basis.
Three visits were made to Ethiopia, and they discovered approximately 2,700 Legionaries in Taza. These Legionaries are enthusiastic, but need more knowledge and literature. In Jimma the Spiritual Directress and Legionaries are doing good work. During their visits the Ugandans arranged for the translation and printing of Legion literature into the official language - Amharic.
Two very successful but challenging visits were made to Sudan where they visited 4 Dioceses. One Diocese has 2 Curiae with a total of 28 praesidia and while they lack books and materials they try to follow the system and do very good work. Another Diocese has the Legion in all 14 parishes, but they do not know the system and many were just returning from refugee camps, while in a third the Legion is in 11 of the 12 parishes with approx. 1,500 members. There is no Legion in the fourth.
The East is approximately 70% Catholic, the South approximately 30% and the North is less than 10% Catholic in some areas. Ibadan Senatus supervises the Legion in Ibadan and Benin City Archdioceses and Iloran Diocese. As well as the 2 Archdiocese there are 8 other Dioceses. The Senatus covers approx. ¼ of the country with a population of 23.3m. The council appears to be working well and the Legion is in all parishes in Ibadan. Enugu Senatus governs the territory of 5 of the suffragan Dioceses of Onitsha Archdiocese and the Archdiocese of Owerri and its suffragans. The Senatus has 20 praesidia, 11 senior and 12 junior Curiae, 18 Comitia and 3 Regiae directly attached. Onitsha Regia governs the Archdiocese of Onitsha and the suffragan Diocese of Nnewi. It has 5 Comitia, 12 senior and 2 junior Curiae, 14 praesidia, with approx 31,000 seniors and 10,500 juniors. Two Comitia reported helping many couples to wed in Church, preparing many for the Sacraments, and had 189 conversions. Great contacts are made during Exploratio projects in parishes, army barracks, marine quarters, etc. Many college campuses have Curiae with membership of staff and students. Ikot Ekpene Regia governs the territory of the Ecclestical province of Calabar and has 5 praesidia, 11 Curiae and 9 Comitia directly attached with an approx membership of 20,000. This Regia has made great progress extending and increasing its membership and 8 Praesidia were revived. A youth conference had 182 juniors present, another council organised 78 legionaries to go on “peace keeping mission to a warring area”. Jos Regia covers the Archdiocese of Jos and its suffragans. A Comitium with a membership of approx 3,500 recruited 228 members, formed 6 presidia and revived 5 others, 22 Muslims and 8 prostitutes were converted. Kaduna Regia governs the Legion in the Archdiocese of Kaduna and its suffragans. Abuja Regia supervises the Legion in Abuja Archdiocese and five others. The latest population is 12.82m. The Regia reported 137 conversions in the year, of which 34 were Muslims. 64 praesidia were formed. Lagos Regia governs the Legion in Lagos Archdiocese and two Dioceses.
The population is about 13m of whom 20% are Catholic. Venerable Edel Quinn visited in 1940 and set up the Legion in 2 Vicariates. The Regia of Blantyre covers the Archdiocese of Blantyre and 6 suffragans. It has 12 praesidia, 22 Curiae and 11 Comitia in the Archdiocese and a further 48 Comitia between the other Dioceses. Three-day retreats are organized for Legionaries and Congresses are promoted. Venerable Edel’s centenary was celebrated in some areas. There are 6 praesidia for youth in the South. A seminary was visited to interest students in the Legion. Handbooks have been printed in 2 languages.
There are about 3m Catholics in Zambia, about ¼ of the population and there are 2 Archdioceses. Lusaka Regia supervises the Legion in Lusaka Archdiocese and its 6 suffragan Dioceses and the Regia has 27 Comitia, 174 Curiae and 1053 praesidia with 22,531 active members and 1,794 juniors. Works include home and hospital visitation and many couples were helped to regularise their marriages and Baptism preparation is undertaken. Visitation of councils continues. Kasama Regia governs the Legion in Kasama Archdiocese and its 2 suffragans. A praesidium was set up in a seminary and they held a 3-day meeting for young Legionaries. Promotion of the 3 Causes is undertaken.
There are around 9m Catholics in Tanzania, about 27% of the total population. There are 5 Archdioceses and 26 suffragan Dioceses. Arusha Archdiocese - Rombo Comitium has 16 senior and 2 junior Curiae and 29 praesidia attached with 3,600 active members. Two Curiae were revived and great efforts have been made to recruit and encourage juniors. Kilema Comitium has 10 Curiae and 9 praesidia directly attached. Hai Comitium: Works include home and hospital visitation, doing works of service and assisting the priests with parish activities. Dar-Es-Salaam Comitium with 9 praesidia and 13 Curiae supervise the Legion in Dar-Es-Salaam Archdiocese and its 5 suffragan Dioceses. There are a number of University praesidia. Songea Archdiocese - Songea Comitium, as at July 2008, had 14 Curiae and a total of 103 praesidia and active membership was given as 1,682 plus 159 probationers. Mbinga Comitium: The Diocese of Mbinga has 26 parishes, each with a branch of the Legion. St. Killian’s Comitium, as at December 2008, had 14 Curiae and 97 praesidia attached and had 1,707 members. It supervises 3 other Comitia each with 3 Curiae. Njombe Comitium, as at December 2007, had 9 praesidia and 6 Curiae attached. Mtwara Comitium: The Comitium has 9 Curiae, but the Diocese is vast and some Curiae are more than 150 km from Mtwara, so the Comitium Meeting is held in different places. They are working towards having the Legion in every parish.
The Gambia is less than 3% Catholic. Contact has been re-established with Banjul Curia in recent months. They have 7 praesidia with approx 100 members. A praesidium has been revived. Legionaries run preparation classes for the Sacraments especially Marriage as most marriages there are not blessed. Banjul Curia has accepted an offer of help and Accra Senatus has agreed to send two legionaries on a visit there.
Freetown Curia is in the Archdiocese of Freetown/Bo. The population of 4m of whom 2% are Catholics. Legionaries from Ghana visited on behalf of Concilium in 2006 and reported the Curia had 11 praesidia. There are 2 other Dioceses with 2 and 3 praesidia. The civil war damaged not only the Legion but the whole Christian institution. And while there are great problems, there is hope as the Bishops want to rejuvenate the Legion and there is great devotion to Mass and Our Lady and the officers in Freetown are very committed.
The population is over 3m of which 40% are Christian. English is the official language and there are 16 indigenous languages but only 20% are literate. Monrovia Curia -There is no postal system and the only access to e-mail is via the Bishop’s House. Some contact is maintained through Fr. Gary SMA who is very interested in the Legion, but his mission is very far from Monrovia. Backdated minutes were received from SMA Fathers in Scotland recently. There are 19 praesidia, but the Curia is weak with only 2 officers. They planned an officers’ workshop before the elections due in May.
Bolivia is 13 times the size of Ireland. 85% of the 9.7m% population are Catholic. The Senatus of La Paz governs the Legion in the whole country with 1 Regia, 4 Comitia, 9 Curiae and 14 praesidia attached. There are 2,389 adult members, 223 juniors and 1,793 auxiliaries. There are 12 Dioceses and 5 Vicariates, the Legion exists in 9 of the 12 Dioceses. During the year that Susana Maciel worked on behalf of the Concilium in Bolivia, many new praesidia were set up. Building on Susana’s work more Curiae have been formed in the last two years.
Chile has a population is 15.5m, with 71% Catholic. The Legion in Chile has had a turbulent period which resulted in the seat of the Senatus being changed to another Curia. All of the councils affiliated to the former Senatus are now attached to the new Senatus. The new Senatus is in contact with all of their attached councils. There are 27 Dioceses in the country.
Of a population of 44m, 86% are Catholic, however, a poll suggests that 60% don’t practice actively. There are two Senatus (one in Bogota and one in Medellin) governing the Legion in 76 Dioceses. Bogota Senatus governs 4 Regiae, 11 Comitia, 5 Curiae, 9 directly attached praesidia in 42 Dioceses. There are 8 Dioceses awaiting extension. Reports indicate that a large number of legionaries are in the younger category. Four praesidia were set up in the Amazon area on the border with Brazil recently. In Villavicencio the young legionaries used every method to recruit - a Columban drive, home-to-home visitation and street contact. A number of praesidia (senior and junior) were set up. Two young legionaries did extension in Panama recently on behalf of the Concilium. The Regia of Bucaramanga set up 2 new Comitia, a senior and a junior Curia. Medellin Senatus governs 1 Regia, 13 Comitia 16 Curiae and 6 directly attached praesidia. Teaching catechism to children to prepare them for the sacraments is one of the main works; as a result of this work, 4 families converted, 2 of whom joined the Legion. A PPC project to Necoclí took place. Works included street contact, catechesis in all the schools and colleges and home visitation; non-Catholic teachers supported the catechesis. Many young people sought Baptism, Communion and Confirmation as a result; a number of couples received instruction in the sacrament of Matrimony.
Ecuador is 3 times the size of Ireland. The population is 13m and 89% Catholic. The Legion was started in Ecuador by Alfie Lambe in Feb 1954. The Senatus of Quito governs the Legion in the whole country with one Regia, 6 Comitia, 5 Curiae and 21 praesidia attached. The Regia of Cuenca governs 3 Comitia, 5 Curiae, 19 praesidia and a further 15 junior praesidia; reports indicate that praesidia function in 3 jails. There are 24 Dioceses in the country. Extension is being done in the Dioceses of Guaranda and Latacunga but the Legion in the Diocese of Tulcan failed to continue. Exploratio is done regularly and statue visitation has resulted in many conversions. A Curia exists among the native Indian population.
At least ? of the population is poor while unemployment runs at 16%. The population of 5.5m is 91% Catholic, 6% Evangelical Christian, 1% other Christian. The Constitution recognizes the historical role of the Catholic Church in public life. The Senatus of Asuncion governs the Legion in the whole country with 6 Comitia, 26 Curiae and 20 affiliated praesidia in 9 of the 15 Dioceses. There are 13,600 active members and almost 20,000 auxiliaries. There is a junior Comitium responsible for 11 Curiae and 310 praesidia.
88% of Peru’s 32m inhabitants are Catholic. It is estimated that only 5% of Catholics regularly attend weekly church services. In all there are 45 Dioceses and it would appear that the Legion is established in most of them. Recent reports indicate a number of new praesidia have been set up including two in a prison in Sullana. The junior movement is also very active and numerous. Many legionaries are catechists, as well as teaching the children they also have an apostolate to the parents, many of them have returned to the practice of the faith and some couples are being prepared for the sacrament of Marriage.
In Uruguay 72% of the 3.2m population is Catholic. There is strict separation of church and state. Religious instruction in public schools is prohibited. There are only 10 Dioceses in the country and the Legion appears to be established in 8 of the 10. Alfie Lambe established a Curia in Montevideo in 1958. The now-Senatus of Montevideo governs the Legion in the country with 3 Comitia, 7 Curiae and 25 praesidia attached (1,238 members).
Venezuela has a population of 28m, 88% Catholic. The Legion was founded in 1950; it exists in all 9 Archdioceses and 29 Dioceses. The Senatus of Caracas with 30 Comitia, 32 senior Curiae and 46 junior Curiae governs the Legion in the whole country. The Senatus has submitted information and statistics with a view to establishing at least 2 Regiae, to facilitate better government and extension of the Legion. Works include contact with people using witchcraft, native Indians, homosexuals and jail visitation. PPC and youth projects have been carried out resulting in 1 junior praesidium of 24 members.
In 1959 Cuba officially became an atheist country, restricting and discouraging religious practice. Restrictions were eased in 1992; Pope John Paul II visited in 1998 in response to an invitation by both the government and the Catholic Church. The population is 12.5m with 50-60% Catholic. There are 11 Dioceses but the Legion is established in only 3. There is a Comitium with 9 Curiae attached but most of the Curiae are in the capital Havana.
Visit to Concilium by Officers of Zagreb Regia, Croatia
The Zagreb Regia Officers, Croatia were represented at the June Concilium meeting by their officers, Anto Brkic President, Zedenka Jerkovic Vice President, Robert Premuz Secretary, Mirjana Kovacic Treasurer, and Iva Pavkovic translator, came to Dublin for discussions with the Concilium Officers.
The Legion in Croatia is governed by Zagreb Regia, which has 2 Comitia, 4 Curiae and 13 directly attached praesidia. Among the membership there are 105 juniors and 17 Nazareth groups. Preparations are ongoing to establish a Comitium in the city of Split. The Regia has been working to establish a new Curia of Zagreb-West by dividing the Zagreb-South Curia that consists of 17 praesidia. The Legion is established in 7 of the 15 Dioceses. The Regia is care-taking Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia where there is a Curia set up in each country.
Tommy McCabe, President of Concilium, thanked the legionaries for their visit and their outstanding commitment to the Legion.
Visit to Concilium by Legionaries from Norway
On the 23rd May 2009 Legionaries from the praesidium in Tonberg, Norway met with Concilium Officers. Useful discussions were had on many aspects of the Legion and in particular on extension. In Oslo there are many converts and the priest wants to form a praesidium among them in St. Olaf’s parish. Also the Superior in the Seminary would like to have the Legion establish among the seminarians.
Tommy McCabe thanked the legionaries for coming to Dublin and said they should use the True Devotion to Mary as a foundation to build up the Legion in Norway.
Commemoration Ceremony for The Servant of God, Frank Duff
The Annual Commemoration Ceremony for The Servant of God Frank Duff took place on Sunday 7th June 2009 in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Fr. Liam O’Cuiv gave an inspiring address on many of the important aspect of the Legion including the special place of Mary among legionaries and the practice of True Devotion to Mary. There was an attendance of approximately 300 and the ceremony concluded with the Rosary and a procession to the grave of Frank Duff.
N O T I C E
Due to a printing problem, many Councils throughout the world will not have received the No. 1 edition 2009 of Maria Legionis. We sincerely apologise for this and any inconvenience it may cause to legionaries and their subscribers.
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.