Concilium Bulletin March 2022
The Senatus of Accra: Most meetings have now resumed for the youth; however the elderly and children are still not allowed to meet. In addition, all the safety protocols must be observed, and permission of the Parish Priest is required before a meeting can be resumed. Efforts are being made to recruit and to revive dormant praesidia. ‘Splendour of Grace’ Curia Mataheko held a Leadership Seminar on the Theme ‘The Legion and the Church’. A Triduum for the Servant of God Alfie Lambe was organised, a Mass for his beatification was held on 21st January. The Senatus organised and promoted a Rosary Novena for the sick in February.
The Senatus of Egypt: In December the Senatus celebrated the Immaculate Conception, a special service was held for the occasion, led by Archbishop Bakhoum, Patriarchal Deputy for Diocesan Affairs. Fr. Hedeya Tamer the Spiritual Director of the Senatus and several other Clergy, members of Cairo based Curiae and praesidia attended.
Angola Benguela Senatus: Four of the five attached Regiae reported at the January meeting.
Huambo Regia, which has 15,129 senior active members, 3,955 juniors and 4,210 auxiliaries, established a new Comitium and a new Curia. Chiefs, who were encouraged not to make traditional judgments on Sundays, gave up this practice. A traditional healer was converted and became an active Christian. Some passive Christians were encouraged to attend Mass and couples in irregular situations were encouraged to receive the sacrament of matrimony with some success.
Lubango Regia, which has 23,686 active members, including seniors and juniors, and 2,528 auxiliaries, established two new Comitia. Mass was celebrated to mark the Legion Centenary on Sunday 12th of September with His Excellency Very Rev. Dom Zacarias Kamuenho, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Lubango, presiding. Talks were given on Saturday 11th of September to mark the Centenary. The Archbishop Emeritus gave one of the talks entitled: “The history of 100 years of the existence of the Legion in the world.”
Namibe Regia reported that legionaries did cleaning in all the cemeteries of the city.
Lobito Regia established three new Comitia and reported that some legionaries took part in the activities of the Synod. Most reports mention the visitation of the sick and elderly in hospital and at home.
Yambala Comitium legionaries help the needy especially the elderly and sick with the cultivation of their plots of land.
All Councils have received the Decree on the Plenary Indulgence granted by the Holy See in this Centenary Year.
Maputo Regia sent photos of the Centenary celebrations, which took place in November 2021. Holy Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Francisco Chimoio.
Quelimane Comitium, with the relaxation of restrictions the weekly work assignment has resumed. New members have joined. Plans to celebrate the Acies are underway. Tete Comitium: activities have resumed. The Comitium carried out its annual planning meeting.
Beira Comitium: weekly meetings are taking place and the apostolate has resumed in all Parishes. The main work has been home visits with recitation of the Rosary and visits to the sick. Due to the pandemic, no Centenary celebration has been held so far. A vigil is being organized for the month of March. There are two Curiae in the Diocese of Chimoio, one in the city and another in Sussundenga. The Legion continues to develop in Guro, where there are six praesidia, it is expected a new Curia can be established shortly. Lichinga Curiae: a novena was held in January for the beatification of the Servant of God, Alfie Lambe. Nampula Curia held its annual planning meeting. A praesidium has resumed the weekly meeting after overcoming many difficulties.
Cape Town Senatus met in February for the first time since the pandemic began. Restrictions are still in place and the meeting had to be moved to a well-ventilated building. A day of recollection took place on the 12th of March.
Matatiele Comitium: A new Spiritual Director has been appointed to the council by the Bishop. A praesidium organises a Patricians meeting each month with a steady number of attendees. An Ordination of a Priest in the Kokstad Diocese is credited to the Legion of Mary. The Council will meet early in March to facilitate the Acies.
Lesotho Senatus: The members of one praesidium visit bars to highlight the dangers of alcohol abuse. Another praesidium reported a child troubling his grandmother was counselled about good behaviour and encouraged to seek forgiveness which he did. Most of the six praesidia which presented short reports at the January meeting have good membership and most members have taken the Promise. Works include the teaching of Catechism.
Cebu Senatus: Despite internet problems and the Covid the Senatus has kept the Concilium correspondent updated on events across the region. Not many praesidia have resumed meetings yet. Due to the devastation caused by storm Odette in late December, the January and February Senatus meetings were cancelled due to the roof of the Senatus house being destroyed. Many regions were badly hit and legionaries displaced. When possible Zoom meetings are held. In Carcar Comitium they have 5 Curiae, 4 Senior and 5 junior praesidia directly attached. Home visitation, school Catechism, Exploratio Dominicalis were conducted. A new Curia and 2 praesidia set up, Janua Coeli praesidium has 24 active members. Works resulted in 118 marriages validated and 25 persons confirmed.
Western Visayas Senatus hope to resume meetings in March.
Bicolandia Senatus last met in February 2020. Officers keep in touch with the members through social media.
Manila Senatus: A webinar was held for young legionaries on 19th of February. The Acies planned for 19th of March. Some reports of work include virtually prepared 15 children for 1st Communion. A virtual reunion for seniors and juniors, plus Seminars took place online, Adoration and weekly sharing of Sunday’s gospel. 4 Comitia reported in assisting with Baptism and 13 Confirmations, also virtual Rosaries and praying with the sick and helping with parish duties. Patricians held in some areas.
Mindanao Senatus: 2 officers are visiting the attached Councils to offer support and encouragement. Works include home visitation, prisons and catechism classes. The sick are encouraged to receive the sacraments and 1 such person is now healed. The Acies was fixed for 27th of March.
Auckland Senatus: July 2021 was the last meeting. The officers have Zoom planning meetings to prepare for re-opening.
Brisbane Comitium: Comitium meetings are held monthly with a very low attendance. 20 attended a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians. 13 attended the reunion. The Comitium had a stand at the Ignite Conference for Youth and had some good contacts.
Sydney Senatus: Bulletin received showed a lovely report from Dili Comitium, East Timor of their Centenary Mass. They have 5 Curia, with 35 senior praesidia with 488 members and 8 junior praesidia with 150 members. They visit the prison, orphans and widows.
Honiara Comitium, (Solomon Islands) celebrated the Centenary with a mass.
Canberra/Goulburn Curia increased their membership from 5 praesidia to 11. They undertook the 33 day Consecration, Acies, officers training day and lots of recruiting. A new praesidium has started on 12th of May 2021 in the University of Sydney. The president is a former junior from Hong Kong. They hope to set up a praesidium in the University of New South Wales.
Melbourne Senatus: A summer school was held on 12th of February. A new praesidium with 8 members started in Mernda. Adelaide Comitium have 9 senior and 1 junior praesidia and 3 Curiae. Vacancies are high. Comitium had a Facebook page during lockdown and had very good response and was an excellent means of promoting the Legion. There is a strong Vietnamese and African membership.
Perth Comitium have 8 senior praesidia and 3 in the country, with 4 Curiae in the city. Extension is a big item on their agenda. Congress was held on 11th of September. They supply Rosary beads and Medals to the aboriginal chaplaincy who distribute them to the hospital and outreach centres. Western Suburbs Curia gave catechism instruction to school children and 50 received 1st Holy Communion prior to lockdown. RCIA instruction was given to 3 adults.
IRISH PROVINCIAL COUNCILS
Cloyne: The first Comitium meeting since lockdown took place on the 17th of February. Ladysbridge praesidium is promoting weekly Adoration and they had the first Saturday Rosary in Balimacoda. They also bring the Fatima Statue to the homes and give out sample stories of Our Lady of Fatima for the children. Their Spiritual Director, Fr. Chris Donlon, is very dedicated to the praesidium and attends the Rosary in Balimacoda. A day Retreat along with the Acies is organized for the 13th of March.
Cork: The President is in touch with students who will liaise with the UCC Chaplain with a view to setting up a praesidium in the University. The new praesidium would be attached to Muire na Gras Curia. Some of the plans discussed for the Centenary Year were as follows: ensure the Centenary logo is visible on all correspondence and Legion premises. Lists of past members is to be drawn up for every 10th year of existence.
Kerry: The set of six of Frank Duff’s writings are being presented to Bishop Ray Browne and all Spiritual Directors. One praesidium organised the recitation of the Rosary every Sunday during the month of January at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, Killarney led by Fr. Eamon O’Driscoll OFM. The Rosary is also being recited in the various housing estates around the town on the first Sunday of each month. At the first estate Fr. Eamon O’Driscoll led the Rosary and blessed the houses afterwards. Holy Water, Rosaries and Miraculous Medals were available for all present. Currow and Caherciveen praesidia have celebrated Legion Centenary Masses. Bishop Ray Browne has agreed to celebrate the Centenary Mass for the Comitium in May. He attended the Comitium meeting in November where he gave great encouragement to all legionaries. The Frank Duff Banner is being displayed in all parishes where the Legion is active. A legionary gives a brief talk on his life and after Mass Frank Duff leaflets are distributed.
Mid Clare: The praesidium in Ennis has resumed meetings.
Thurles: A two hour Vigil was organized in the Cathedral for the evening of 11th of February to pray for new members. The annual reunion was held on 20th of February in the Anner Hotel and was a great success. It started with the Legion prayers and Rosary followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Connie Doherty. There were 50 in attendance and each praesidium provided entertainment. Since the last Acies was only held in October it was proposed to wait until 1th of May this year. Murroe Curia got a new member. A Legion altar in the church has Miraculous Medals and Rosaries and has been well received. All but one praesidium in Cashel Curia has restarted. Tipperary Curia reported that four praesidia had closed and two praesidia had amalgamated. They now have five praesidia.
Limerick: The first Curia meeting is to take place on the 7th of April. Some online meetings have been held. The Acies is to be held on the 28th of March.
Ross: Six of the eight praesidia are meeting weekly. Except for a temporary suspension of meetings in January, because of the upsurge of Covid, the praesidium in Skibbereen has been meeting for some months. Church work is the main work being done. The praesidium in Timoleague has resumed meetings. Three praesidia recite the full Legion prayers each week in their parish church and spiritual reading is also taken. Clonakilty praesidium has gained two new members. One praesidium recites the full Legion prayers at their local grotto. The Curia President keeps in touch with all praesidia presidents.
Waterford: There are now three praesidia in the Curia. The Curia will be held later in March. The praesidium in Glenmore has gained one new member. They sell Catholic newspapers and distribute Catholic literature. The main work of the praesidium in St. Paul’s parish is home visitation and organising estate blessings in the parish. They also do street apostolate around the parish church inviting contacts back to say a prayer or to join in evening prayer. Since the lockdowns began they have been doing a public Rosary at two grottoes in the parish three to four days per week when weather permits. They give out Miraculous Medals to passers-by including many students of Waterford College and this has continued. Door to door visitations have resumed in the past few months and they also promote the Pilgrim statue.
Lismore: There are just two praesidia in the Curia. Dungarvan praesidium commenced meetings three weeks ago. The Lismore praesidium is seeking permission from the local priest to use the Church sacristy for meetings. Plans are also underway for Centenary celebrations in September and will run over a few nights at Mount Sion the former headquarters of the Christian Brothers. An MEP project is planned for 7th and 8th June in Sacred Heart Parish where attempts were made to start a praesidium prior to the lockdown.
NORTH DUBLIN CURIAE
Bethlehem Curia are planning a congress in the Autumn. They are teaming up with Veneranda Curia for the annual retreat which will be held on May 22nd. On the anniversary of Alfie Lambe in January, a praesidium distributed Alfie Lambe prayer leaflets in the city centre and made some good contacts. To celebrate the Centenary, a mass is being organised in each parish.
Consolata Curia has purchased a Frank Duff banner and praesidia are promoting his cause in their individual parishes. This is an opportunity to promote the Legion centenary and also to recruit new members. Malahide praesidium has been re-established with three new members and Curia is supporting them. A young Italian legionary from Swords has returned to Rome to start her noviciate with the Redemptoristine Sisters. Junior praesidium gave their annual report. They set up a Zoom Rosary during lockdown for younger children which is still continuing and also connected with other junior legionaries for a weekly Zoom rosary last May. Other works include distribution of Holy Water, Miraculous Medals and Catholic papers. They also collect stamps for the missions. They plan to recruit new members after the ‘Do this in Memory’ masses and ‘Service of Light’. Senior praesidium works include Home visitation with Fatima statue and visitation to nursing homes where religious items are distributed. Patrician meetings are up and running again.
Porta Coeli Curia has lost many members as a result of lockdown. Some praesidia are meeting. A praesidium has written to a nearby convent seeking Adjutorian members and is awaiting a response.
Exaltata Curia has scheduled its first meeting since the end of lockdown for late March. The first business will be to fill vacant officerships in Curia and to assist praesidia to fill any vacant officerships that have arisen during lockdown. Most praesidia are holding regular meetings. Members are mourning the death of their Spiritual Director, Fr. Pat Carroll, who gave them such support and encouragement over the years. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.
Presentata Curia plans for the Centenary include a video on the Active Legion, a book barrow at the GPO, and a Frank Duff bike tour of Dublin. The emphasis is on recruitment. During Covid members came up with the idea of praying the rosary on Zoom. This has gone from strength to strength and Mary’s Channel of Grace continues every night, to attract legionaries from all over the world. Three new praesidia have been established. Works include crowd contact and Friday evening public rosary in the city centre, and volunteering in the Morning Star hostel. A circus family is visited regularly. A praesidium organised an Advent retreat which attracted over 50 people. Monthly Patrician meetings are held in the Morning Star.
Veneranda Curia held a recruitment drive for the weekend of April 2nd/3rd. The annual visit to Frank Duff’s grave is scheduled for Sunday June 12th. The journal praesidium, Mary Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, has a low membership and has lost a member due to illness. Members discussed putting journal online as well as print version and raising price to €1.25 per issue.
‘…….single-handed effort will not carry them very far…..The work of religion must be set about like any other work which exceeds the individual power, that is by mobilising and organising until the helpers are sufficient.’ (Handbook, p.309)
One of the most courageous ventures undertaken as part of the Centenary endeavours is Project 300. In short, it is a project to recruit 300 new members into the Legion of Mary in Dublin. The capital city is the particular focus of Project 300 because it is the birthplace of the Legion and the place from where Frank Duff and many others have minded and managed the growth of the Legion throughout Ireland and the rest of the world, over the last 10 decades.
Through a system of hierarchical councils and assisted by a bevy of correspondents - who ensure that regular feedback and contact is maintained in both directions - and through methodical, consistent reporting and filing, follow-up, encouragement and support, Concilium Legionis Mariae has moulded and shaped the Legion of Mary into the largest lay movement in the Catholic Church. Dublin continues to be the hub of the Legion of Mary. If the Legion dies in Dublin, what hope for its survival elsewhere? The Legion is not dead in Dublin, thank God.
As a result of Project 300, several new praesidia have been formed in the last few months and many existing praesidia have increased their membership. As meetings open up after lockdown, a new vibrancy can be seen in many areas of the diocese. However, Covid has sounded the death knell for some praesidia and there are significant gaps that need to be bridged. Extension and Recruitment is part of the ongoing work of every Council and regular recruiting the work of the individual legionary. This can be a daunting task, especially when working alone.
Project 300 aims to highlight and assist this vital work, to bring the needs of the Legion in Dublin into sharp focus, to mobilise and organise, to gain sufficient helpers and to continue the work started by Frank Duff and the first legionaries on September 7th 1921.
Senatus La Paz: The Comitium of Cochabamba reports the setting up of a new praesidium. Legionaries help priests to say outdoor Sunday Masses when attendance is not permitted inside the churches. Some of these masses are said at wayside grottos. Contacts are made before and after the masses. Some praesidia who cannot meet for the moment in the parishes, meet in different legionaries’ homes and members of the legionaries’ families have joined these praesidia.
Senatus of Santiago: All distant councils are blessed with excellent correspondents, some of whom are former Senatus officers. Monthly letters never fail as well as phone calls and social media contact. WhatsApp groups are used by some praesidia to reach out to the auxiliary members. A new praesidium has been started in the Legion house in Temuco. Photos of their centenary celebrations have been sent to Concilium.
Senatus of Bogota: In this period 4 praesidia, 4 Curiae, 4 Comitia and 5 Regiae reported. There is a very varied picture in different parts of the council. Several Columban Drives have taken place. The focus is on weak praesidia post-Covid. Some report it hard to recruit while the officers of the Comitium of Zipaquira have abandoned their post saying they haven’t time to carry on officerships; some of the Senatus Officers will preside at the next meeting. Some councils attached to the Regia of Villavicencio have had no contact with their praesidia and it seems likely that there has been a big loss in membership. However their junior Curia is hoping to extend into 5 parishes and the various reports include a collective 6 new praesidia and 8 more in formation. An extension in Nuevo Pamploma is underway. Other works include Sacred Heart Enthronements, statue visitation, street contact in transport hubs and parks, catechesis, Radio Maria programs, visiting the sick, ecological activities and park contact alongside Franciscan nuns playing music. Most councils have held Centenary Masses.
Senatus of Medellin: The first in-person meeting was held on 16th of October last with an attendance of 36 officers, delighted to be back meeting. In-person meetings were held again in November and January; no meeting in December due to a rise in Covid cases. A pre-junior praesidium attached to Nuestra Senora de Nazareth Curia reported distributing prayer leaflets to a gathering of 20 children and helping the younger ones to read the prayers.
Senatus of Montevideo: Following a virtual meeting in October, the Senatus returned to in-person meetings in November and December. Most distant councils have not joined the virtual meetings but the reason why isn’t given. Most correspondents didn’t join either although they continued to write to the distant councils each month. Annual reports have not been presented during Covid. The Centenary was widely celebrated with various vigils, masses, rosaries and so on. Masses in the various Cathedrals were con-celebrated by the bishops and Spiritual Directors. Most praesidium meetings are now taking place in person; works have resumed and typically include visiting auxiliary members and the sick and elderly, street contact and catechesis.
Senatus of Lima: No in-person meetings have been held due to the small size of the meeting room. All Senatus meetings have been virtual with a typical attendance of around 130. Reports from attached councils have continued as normal with 1 Regia, 7 Comitia, 11 Curiae and 4 praesidia reporting this quarter. The works include phone and online contact with families and with the sick, virtual Frank Duff Prayer Groups, sacramental preparation, park rosaries, visiting the sick where allowed and Nazareth Groups. Centenary masses were celebrated in November by Bishops and Spiritual Directors.
The Senatus of Caracas is meeting but the strength of the council is not clear. It appears that some praesidia and councils have closed and active members have resigned or retired due to age or anxiousness about Covid. Attendance at the Senatus meetings has dropped. Reports indicate that many legionaries are active and lead Public Rosaries, visit the sick with Holy Communion and make telephone contacts. The different councils organised something for the Legion Centenary, usually a Mass. The Spiritual Director of the Senatus, Cardinal Jorge Urosa died from Covid and a few legionaries also, may they rest in peace.
The Senatus of Quito: The correspondent for Ecuador has retired from correspondence. It appears that no minutes have been sent since 2020. The treasurer of the attached Regia of Cuenca has refused to submit the books for audit; this problem seems to be ongoing and it is not clear what action has been taken. An email has been sent to the Vice President of the Senatus of Ecuador outlining the steps which should be taken, we await the outcome of that suggestion.
Senatus of Asuncion: Centenary celebrations took place in the shrine of Caacupé with a Mass on the 28th of November. Despite restrictions, a large number of legionaries travelled from all parts of the country.
Assumpta Comitium of 14 senior Curiae and four attached praesidia held all meetings in person except for four. Senatus Spiritual Director Fr. Gennero in an Allocutio spoke about the work and legacy of Fr. Lacey former Spiritual Director who continued the work of Alfie Lambe leading to the setting up of the Senatus in 1961. Fr Gennero recounted serving the daily 7am mass at which Alfie attended wearing traditional local knitted shirts and sandals. He said goodbye to Alfie and Una Twomey the day before they departed Paraguay and told them the news of his imminent entry to the seminary in 1958. A book has just been published in Paraguay on the life of Alfie.
To increase the holiness of the faithful and for the salvation of souls, by virtue of the faculty granted to it in a special way by the Most Reverend Father in Christ and Our Master, the Lord Francis, by Divine Providence, Pope, having taken note of the requests made by Mary Murphy, President of the Association called the Legion of Mary, on the occasion of its one hundredth anniversary, the Apostolic Penitentiary graciously concedes from the heavenly treasures of the Church a plenary indulgence properly fulfilled under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Holy Communion and prayer for the intention of the Holy Pontiff) to the members of the association and to other members of the faithful who are truly penitent, to be gained from 7 September 2021 until 7 September 2022, which can be applied for the souls of the faithful detained in Purgatory by way of suffrage, if they visit any church of the said Association or wherever on pilgrimage and are present devoutly at the joyful celebrations, or at least recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed devoutly, with added pious appeals to the Blessed Virgin Mary
The aged, the sick, and all who cannot leave home for a grave reason, can gain equally the Plenary Indulgence, having evinced a detestation of sin and a purpose of amendment, where first permitted, under the three usual conditions, if they join themselves spiritually to the joyful celebrations, offering the prayers, sorrows or misfortunes of their own lives to the mercy of God.
In order to facilitate out of pastoral charity such visits for the reception of the divine forgiveness through the keys of the Church, this Penitentiary especially requests priests who have the faculties to hear the confessions of the said people, to make themselves available with prompt and generous heart for the celebration of Confession.
This letter is only valid for this purpose. All other things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 7 of September, in the Year of Our Lord’s Incarnation 2021.
Some comments and advice in respect of the Indulgence granted to the Legion of Mary for its Centenary Celebrations
A. “Any Church of the said association” refers to any sacred building for divine worship belonging to the Legion of Mary to which the faithful have access. In the case that no such church exists in some city or region a curia or comitium or other appropriate council should designate some church in its area whose title refers to Our Lady, or which has a generally renowned Shrine to Our Lady, as the Church to which the members can go and there fulfil the requirements to gain the indulgence.
B. “Pilgrimage” refers to a pilgrimage as part of the celebrations of the Centenary organised by members of the Legion of Mary to some appropriate shrine. Obvious such places could be Lourdes, Guadalupe, Knock, Fatima etc. but other more local pilgrimages organised as part of the centenary celebrations can also suffice.
C. The housebound can also receive the Indulgence by joining a celebration in spirit and by adopting a disposition of firm amendment (hence of never sinning again) and following the other instructions given. Thus auxiliaries can unite themselves to the curia pilgrimage to a certain shrine and by following the steps advised for them gain the Indulgence.
D. Note the emphasis of praying devoutly.
E. The more we turn away from sin the more we help remove the temporal punishment resulting from sin.
F. Finally, do not be put off by difficulties. The perfect should not become the enemy of the good. Let us do what we can and trust God.
The 6 Frank Duff’s books are a great bargain at €7 each or the full set for €40.
• Walking With Mary
• Mary Shall Reign
• Victory Through Mary
• The Spirit of the Legion of Mary
• Virgo Praedicanda
• The Woman of Genesis
The Concilium has approved the annual cost of Maria Legionis at €5.00 plus postage.