Sunday, December 20, 2009

My praesidum (我的支团)

My praesidium’s recent application to break off to form a second praesidium due to increase in membership has attracted the attention of our spiritual director. (A praesidum is a unit of Legion of Mary usually consists of 10 to 12 members)(see My Praesidium)

Rev. Fr. George Harrison, the assistant parish priest attended our weekly meeting recently. In his own word, “this is my first meeting” with the Chinese legionaries since his transfer to the parish 3 years ago.

Fr. George is an Indian but speaks fluent Mandarin. Two years of study in Taiwan enabled him to read and write Mandarin with ease. He also speaks Tamil, English and Bahasa Malaysia.

By attending the full meeting, Fr. George had a better knowledge of Legion system and functions, especially its active works. Fr. George was impressed by members’ weekly active works especially the visitations. The legionary’s works encompassed the whole parish. By listening to the report of members, parish priests would have a better knowledge of the parish especially the poor, the sick and the aged.

My praesidium was founded more than 53 years ago and is the oldest organization in the Parish of the Holy Family. It went through thick and thin, good and bad times but remains strong and resilient.

In September, the praesidium welcomed its 18th member to fill up the entire rectangular meeting table. This gave birth to the idea of splitting the praesidium in two. A request was sent to the parish priest for approval. ( Legion members are required to report their weekly active works during the meeting. Too many members may prolong the stipulated 1 ½ hour meeting).

Fr. George’s full participation of the meeting with a humble heart enabled him to experience the Legion spirituality through members’ prayer and active works.

This is the Legion spirit.

Many members of the praesidium aged above 60 and the oldest one being 83 but are all active and committed. Besides prayers, they undertake active works and make weekly visitation, usually on Tuesday, to hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, homes of sick and aged.

Due to my work, I am not able to join them on weekdays. I am very touched by them. They are my role model that motivate me to do visitation whenever I am able.

The Legion Handbook says:[ The Legion without its spirit would be like any other lifeless body. That spirit of the Legion, so transforming of its members, is not floating around in the air, waiting to be breathed in. No! that vital spirit is the product of grace out of effort. It depends on the work which is being done, and on the way in which it is being done by the individual legionaries. If there is no effort, the spirit flickers low and may die] (Pg 287- Active work must be done).

The Legion spirit is the motivation and pillar of strength of members. Maintaining the spirit will see the legion continues to be relevant, to spread the Good News of the Lord till the end of times.

As for the second praesidum, Fr. George advised to keep on hold but subject to review from time to time according to further development of the praesidium.

**This article was published in my monthly column in Sibu Diocesan newspaper [Light of Love" ] December issue in Mandarin.

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