Concilium Bulletin September 2008
REPORTS - Europe
Cyprus: A praesidium makes very good contacts on an apostolate to the crowd in parks, shopping centres and bus stops. Recitation of the rosary is promoted through the block Rosary crusade and visitation of the homes where families welcome the statue of Our Lady.
Gibraltar Curia: There are six praesidia in the Curia. The apostolate of a praesidium of nine members includes hospital visitation, Rosary groups, works of service and organising Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Two legionaries from the Senatus of Scotland visited this Curia in August on behalf of the Concilium.
Malta Regia: The Regia Officers had a very fruitful meeting with the Papal Nuncio. Some visible results from the reporting praesidia and Curiae were: two children, whose father is Muslim, were prepared for Baptism, a return to the Sacraments after 7 years and 2 young people were instructed for the Sacraments. Gozo Island: The Bishop of Gozo attended the annual reunion at which a presentation on Venerable Edel Quinn was given. From tourist and other contacts, two people returned to the Sacraments and a marriage was regularised.
Ecclesiastic permission has been given for the establishment of a Comitium in Skhroder.
Officers of the three councils in Italy attended the September Concilium meeting and this report is given elsewhere in the bulletin.
Barcelona Senatus: Alicante Curia in the South of Spain reports good contacts on book-barrow work in the main area of the city. A praesidium in Barcelona visits sick prisoners.
Bilbao Senatus: The Bishop of Leon was visited and he asked that all parishes be visited. Two new members were gained. Legionaries visit former prostitutes, who are now old and sick. Santander Comitium has prepared a leaflet for Spanish speaking immigrants who are in danger of joining the sects. A report from Basauri documented good work done for youth, three of who are being prepared for Baptism.
Madrid Senatus: Each Curia affiliated to the Senatus organised a function to mark the anniversary of the Legion on 7th September. A function is planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Edel Quinn. Most Curiae do frequent Exploratio Dominicalis projects.
During the year the Senatus visited 61 priests and 23 praesidia were set up. Among statistics for 2007 over 8,000 children received catechesis and 600,000 people contacted in various pastoral programmes. The Senatus visited the Azores and Madeira attending Officers, Council and praesidia meetings. Outreach was done to Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Regia reported on work of two affiliated Comitia, 2 Curiae, 3 praesidia and asked for prayers to help its lively junior Curia to accomplish its mission. Contacting Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Sects figured in all reports as well as good membership in all praesidia and councils. Recruiting auxiliary members and catechumens for religious instruction and Baptism was on every agenda and with excellent results.
A praesidium reporting has 22 members - 3 still on probation. Works reported dealt mainly with visitation of the homes and hospitals and crowd contact on the streets in the area. The sick, handicapped, orphans and widows are all encouraged to pray and go to Mass when possible. Efforts are made to ease many problems, to reconcile people when necessary and to get people to join catechism classes.
Lome Regia show that apostolic work and administration are excellent. The Regia has recovered from effects of power crisis some time ago and has 34 directly attached praesidia, 26 Curiae and 2 Comitia and an increased number of junior praesidia. Works include visitation of homes, hospitals, works of service where needed. Catholics, other Christians and Muslims form most of the contacts. Auxiliary and praetorian membership are promoted and Patrician meetings organised. Promotion of the Causes of Frank Duff, Edel Quinn and Alfie Lambe is ongoing. The Regia is about to undertake a new adventure in response to invitation to take part in a Peregrinatio project in Ghana.
Legionaries in the various councils are undertaking a variety of works.
The Legion is studying the True Devotion and the Spirit of the Legion by Frank Duff; they work with the families of the sick visited in hospitals and inform the priest where necessary. The Miraculous Medal is distributed widely and a Retreat for the residents in a home for the deaf is planned. For the Corpus Christi Procession the legionaries helped to decorate the streets. The feast of Our Lady “La Negrita”, patroness of Costa Rica, was celebrated with the people in the month of August.
93 young people received their 1st Holy Communion and 94 were Baptised. A marriage was regularised, after 6 month’s visitation by legionaries; a Protestant home had the Sacred Heart of Jesus enthroned after 3 month’s visitation; a legionary goes to court with a prisoner and was allowed to take him to his father’s funeral. In Atheuan a senior and junior praesidia were set up and two suicides were prevented - they are now legionaries. For 2 years legionaries visited a lady who came back to the Church after 18 years, another lady came back from the sects after 40 years. The junior Curia has 5 praesidia with 72 active members. They teach children the Rosary, the Catena and bring them to Mass. Visitation of the Red Light area resulted in some prostitutes leaving that way of life.
Panama City Comitium: Each praesidium in the Comitium is visited once a year. A new Curia N. Sra. De Guadalupe was set up in May 2008 with 7 praesidia. Legion members are encouraged to study the Handbook and efforts are being made to recruit auxiliary members. There are difficulties with transport.
Belize Curia: Visitation of shut-in is done. A Mass is said in the home on special days. Terminally ill cancer patients are also visited. A new praesidium was started in March. Visitation is carried out to alcoholics, delinquent children and non-Catholics. The Rosary is taught to those met.
Regia of Managua: Three praesidia reported having a total of 55 active and 95 auxiliary members. Two Curiae comprise 24 affiliated praesidia, which includes 5 junior praesidia. Good results have been reported from home visitation. Enthronement of the homes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, statue visitation and distribution of the Miraculous Medal are some of the works undertaken. Prisons are visited and extension resulted in the formation of a junior praesidium with 14 youths.
Regia of Camotán: 8 children and a catechumen were Baptised and several families have returned to the Church. The Curiae visit a praesidium each month and contact is continuing with those, which have closed. Follow-up catechism is given to 287 children and many are instructed for the Sacraments. The men’s prison is visited and Exploratio Dominicalis is also carried out.
The Senatus of Tegucigalpa: Home visitation is their main work and they also visit Protestant homes. They report that their work is interesting and challenging.
Visit by Officers of Italian Councils
The Officers and Spiritual Director of Rome Senatus, Monsignor Virgillo la Rossa, together with Officers from Milan Regia and Padua Comitium were present at the September Concilium meeting and were in Dublin to have discussion with the Concilium Officers. Giovanna Turini, Vice President of the Rome Senatus said that there are 4 Comitia, 16 Curia and 13 praesidia directly attached to the Senatus and they undertake valuable apostolate on behalf of the Legion of Mary. Attached to the Milan Regia are 2 Comitia, 1 Curia, and 7 praesidia and Padua Comitium consist of 2 Curiae, 6 senior and 1 junior praesidia. Monsignor la Rossa said he was very pleased to be here and would go back to Rome recharged and for this reason expressed his thanks.
Thanks was expressed to the Concilium by the Officers of the Italian Councils and said they were very grateful and very honoured to have been invited to Dublin and because of their discussions with Officers of Concilium they would have a stronger legionary spirit and through Our Lady, Mother and Queen, enable them to overcome difficulties. Tommy McCabe, President of the Concilium, thanked the legionaries for coming to Dublin, the correspondents with these councils, Christine Donnelly and Enda Dunleavy, and the translator Angelo Bottone.
Visit of Concilium Correspondents to Munich and Romania
Mary Fahy and Orla O’Sullivan visited Councils in Munich and Romania. They met with the Munich Senatus Officers. This council governs Bavaria and most of South West Germany. It now has about 533 active and 5,620 auxiliary members. They have about 80 Praesidia in the entire Senatus. The Senatus has 2 Comitia, 10 Curia and 11 praesidia directly attached to it. Of its 10 Dioceses there is a Legion presence in 8 of them. Some of the works carried out are home and hospital visitation, street apostolate, book barrow, visiting red light areas, apostolate to university students and the homeless. Recently a Priest with the help of a legionary instructed a Bolivian student in the faith. The legionary was his sponsor when he was baptised. Many interesting contacts are made on street apostolate work.
The Legion of Mary began in Romania about 1993 following Peregrinatio Pro Christo projects from Ireland. The beginning of the Legion is mainly due to the initiative of Brother Thomas Amzulescu. There are now eight praesidia in Bucharest itself, two in Zasi, one in Roman, two in Craiova, one in Ploiesti, one in Targoviste and one in Popesti. A praesidium in the Croplea Parish is made up of Bulgarian immigrants to Romania. A Curia was set up in 2001. Two Austrian legionaries visited Romania gave guidance to new members and arranged to have the Handbook and Tessera printed in the Romanian language.
Legionaries have special contacts in homes and hospitals and do many works of service, just to mention one - a blind lady was taught to pray the Rosary and given all necessary help. Legionaries have caught the real spirit of the Legion and priests have said that they are very glad to have such active spiritual groups working in their parishes. When Pope John Paul II viisted Romania in May 1999 he said that Romania was the garden of Our Lady.
The visits to Munich and Romania were very fruitful and legionaries in both countries expressed their gratitude to the Concilium for sending these visitors.
Bernardo de Nardo - Envoy for Central Asia
Bernardo tells us that work continues with the new praesidium in Yerevan, Armenia where home-to-home visitation is done. The families visited are delighted that someone from the Catholic Church is calling on them and the legionaries are asked many questions as there is a great eagerness to know more about God. Some of the families visited have children for Baptism and the legionaries are giving the instruction and making all the arrangements for the Sacrament. With the help of the Parish Priest a second praesidium is being set up for young people in Yerevan.
Bernardo was invited to the ordination of an Armenian Priest, which took place in Southern Georgia, where the population is mainly Armenian. Bernardo had the great opportunity of meeting other priests who work in Georgia with the Armenian community; some of them are interested in starting the Legion. One of these, a Polish Priest, who works in Armenia and Georgia, serves the Armenian community and also the Latin parish. As always, Bernardo asks for your prayers.
Extension Workers for Argentina
Edel Garcia and Laura Rodriguez have moved to Corrientes in the North East of Argentina where they will spend the last three weeks working in the Corrientes Regia area. The Regia officers were most welcoming and are very happy to work with Edel and Laura. On a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Itati, the two extension workers had a great opportunity to meet many of the 800 legionaries who took part. Their first impressions are very positive and they are delighted to see such a good mix of the different age groups, all eager to learn more about the Legion. For the next three weeks they will visit praesidia and councils and help with recruiting and extension.
Fr. John Peyton
Fr. John Peyton was present at the September Concilium meeting and spoke of his great joy at being there. He also spoke of the great help his membership of the Legion of Mary was to his preparation for the priesthood.
Father Peyton was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, on 19th July 2008, in his home parish of Sacred Heart and Holy Souls, Acocks Green, Birmingham. Fr. John is now Spiritual Director of a new praesidium in his assigned parish of St. Patrick’s, Dudley Road, Birmingham.
Tommy McCabe, President of Concilium, wished him every grace and blessing in his priestly ministry.
LAUNCH OF A DVD ON THE LEGION OF MARY
The Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, addressed the Concilium and then launched “MEET THE LEGION” a new DVD about the activities, history and spirituality of the Legion of Mary across the world. The following is the talk given by Archbishop on this occasion:
“The last time I was here in this building, as far as I can remember, was shortly before my ordination to the priesthood when as a class we came here to meet Frank Duff. It was in the years immediately after the Second Vatican Council, at which Frank had been a lay auditor. It was a moment of great change but great hope, especially for people of my generation. The world was changing with a rapidity that was remarkable and the fact that the Church was changing too gave us inspiration and hope.
Perhaps we were a little naïve in our hope. Things did not quite go in the direction that we had imagined. There were many and welcome changes in Church life, in the relationship between the Church and the world, in our liturgical celebrations. All of this seemed to herald a new Pentecost, which would change people’s hearts and open them to understand and accept the message of Jesus and to live it in a manner, which was authentic to the mindset of the second part of the twentieth century. We were encouraged to see a new dialogue between the Church and the modern world, but perhaps we underestimated the challenges that the modern world would bring, if we did not at the same time set out to work for a real renewal of the Church.
I often think back to that meeting with Frank Duff. Here was a man getting-on in years but who had been able to contribute to the creation of something quite revolutionary in the understanding of the role of the laity in the Church and to see what he had intuited years earlier being recognised and encouraged by the great event of an Ecumenical Council of the Church. But he was not a man trapped in the past; he was a man who looked forward with a sense of continuity and commitment.
The changes in Church life have not necessarily produced a stronger Christian community. There is a dramatic drop in the number of priests. Mass attendance has gone down. Young people do not seem to find the message of Jesus as one, which can radically inspire their commitment and their lives.
One of the values we most need is that value of continuity of which I spoke as a characteristic of Frank Duff: continuity in the sense of consistent commitment both when things seem to be going well and when questions challenges us and we seem to have no immediate answer. That continuity is an expression of trust in God whom we know always remains faithful.
As I came here today passing from the hectic surrounding Croke Park on an All-Ireland Final day, and drove into this quiet, almost isolated corner of Dublin, I could not help but think of how many people have treaded this same roadway. I know so many Bishops and Cardinals who have made their way to Dublin, just to come here. So many lay people, distinguished and unknown, have come here or have hoped that some day they might come here, to share an experience of what the Church is. And they would have found here not a gleaming multi-story Corporate Headquarters, but a simple welcoming building, crowned not with electronic signs and slogans, but still by two of the fundamental works of care of the Legion of Mary.
Anyone watching the DVD will get a glimpse of how far the Legion of Mary has spread and how important it has been in the lives of individuals and of the life of the Church. But like the Church, the Legion is not an anonymous multi-national. It is rooted in the local Church. I was struck by one phrase in the DVD when Tommy McCabe recalls: ‘your role is where you find yourself’! It reminded me of one of the great figures with whom I had the honour to work, the late Vietnamese Cardinal Van Thuan, himself very appreciative of the work of the Legion of Mary in Vietnam. Not long after his arrest, which was to endure for thirteen years, the young Bishop Van Thuan was taken away on a boat transporting common criminals to an unknown destination in North Vietnam. He thought that all his dreams about how he would exercise his Episcopal ministry were at an end. And then he reflected and said to himself: ‘My cathedral is now this boat; my cathedral is wherever the Lord sends me even if it is the most unexpected and least sought-out place’.
Today the Legion is called to keep alive its original charism in the changed and changing world in which we live. And it is called to do so in harmony with the local Church wherever that is.
A singular mark of the early Church was its spirit of fellowship. Indeed one could say that ‘the fellowship’ is one of the early titles of the Church. Apostolate, ministry and service in the church are never the private property of those who exercise them. Every form of ecclesial ministry and service, including my own as Bishop, must be exercised in a spirit of fellowship.
The fellowship of the Church is not just a vague sense of community or working together in a planned way. It is the fellowship of those who as believers are called to holiness. That is what participation in the life of the Church means. Fellowship springs from sharing the same table of the Lord. Eucharist is at the heart of our spiritual life and of our ministry and apostolate. It is through our participation in the celebration of the Eucharist that, day-by-day, we become “worship pleasing to God” by living our lives as a vocation, doing everything for God’s glory.
The DVD shows how Frank Duff and the Legion of Mary from its very beginnings developed a model of apostolate, which cherished both the contribution of priests and the essential role of laypersons. This is a model whose time has very much come. To stress the role of the laity is in no way to down play the role of the clergy. At last year’s Legion of Mary Conference for Priests it was evident how laypersons can provide support for priests and I encourage you to continue on that path. It is not easy to be a priest today and priests need your support, your affection and your prayers.
Prayer is at the heart of all the activities of the Legion of Mary. May the Lord enrich the Legion in the years to come to become in our modern world a fellowship bound together in prayer, a powerhouse where new generations can learn to pray and allow prayer to be a force for directing their lives. It should become ever more a fellowship inspired by the early Church, which gathered to pray and break the bread, in the presence of the apostles, together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.”
Tommy McCabe, President of Concilium Legionis Mariae, the international governing body of the Legion, formally welcomed Archbishop Martin to the Concilium and thanked him for his words of encouragement and the spiritual support that he and many priests of the Archdiocese of Dublin give the Legion. Mr. McCabe commented that the DVD was a multimedia tool for a multimedia age that would help the Legion explain the role of the laity in bringing Christ to all under the guidance of Our Lady.
Fr. Bede McGregor O.P., Spiritual Director of the Concilium and Postulator for the Cause of the Servant of God Frank Duff, Founder of the Legion stated: “New technologies such as DVDs are to be welcomed and utilised in proclaiming the gospel message to new generations. The message, however, remains the same - that through Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces, everyone can share in the graces and rewards of a loving God who became man in Jesus Christ.”
“MEET THE LEGION” is 26 minutes in duration and was produced by Dublin based documentary filmmakers, Esras Films Ltd.
For further information contact:
International Centre of the Legion of Mary,
Email: [email protected]
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