|Mary's Notebook||Legion of Mary|
Issue 1: May 2006
Table of Contents:
Fr. Peffley happens to be a good friend of my wife. I could tell many stories. Such as the one where my wife won a $1 from him while bowling, or about Fr. Peffley juggling sharp swords at the packed festival at Holy Transfiguration (fortunately no one was injured). I can also talk about the advice he gave us in before we were married: keep Mary at the center of your relationship.
Fr. Peffley's has had impact on the entire Diocese of Arlington. Nearly every parish in Arlington has one or more praesidia. I don't have the numbers with me, but last I heard, something like 90% of parishes in the Arlington Diocese have a praesidium. How does this happen? Well, first, wherever Fr. Peffley goes, the parish tends to have not one or two, but four or five praesidia. Second, Fr. Peffley's example is amazing in helping to encourage other priests to be active in the Legion of Mary. Third, Fr. Peffley works hard to encourage his praesidia to recruit and do extension efforts in parishes where a praesidium is not established.
As Spiritual Director of the Regia, Fr. Peffley often spends a good five to six hours at the Regia meeting and traveling to and from it. That is something amazing, considering that the Regia meets on Sunday. To put it simply, Fr. Peffley spends much of his "free time" helping the Legion of Mary. "Free time" is a misnomer, as his schedule is usually so busy that he typically plans his phone calls for when he is driving somewhere.
Third, I want to talk about his knowledge of the Legion of Mary system. Frank Duff says a good legionary is one who knows the rules and follows them. The Handbook says that it is not even worth starting a praesidium if the members are not determine to follow every part of the rules. It should go without saying that the first aim of every legionary is to know the rules, so as to be able to follow them. Well, talking to Fr. Peffley is like talking to a walking handbook. I remember my first Acies. The itinerary for the Acies called for people to walk up in pairs of two to take their pledge. After I noticed that many people went up individually, I asked him if that was allowed. He informed me that the Handbook actually considered going one-at-a-time to be the preferred method, unless there are too many people to do so.
Finally, I want to talk about Fr. Peffley's attitude. My wife did not join the Legion of Mary the first time Fr. Peffley invited her to a meeting. She didn't join the second time either. It took persistent requests for a long time before she finally attended a meeting. Fortunately, Fr. Peffley did not give up on her after she said no the first time. Perhaps one of his best qualities is patience. There is a reason why there are always four or five praesidia at his parish, he invites people, not one time, not seven times, by seventy times seven times.
In the April 2006, the Curia approved the creation of a website! The new address selected by our Curia President is www.legionofmarytidewater.com. Each new Praesidia has its own website attached, at www.legionofmarytidewater.com/praesidiumname.
Starting a new website could not be more timely. In March of 2006, the Concilium published the following on websites:
As the website is an opportune and relatively easy means of making the Legion and its apostolate known throughout the world, each higher Council as a general principle should have a website for its own area with appropriate links complying with Concilium guidelines.The Curia also published a new list of guidelines for Legion of Mary websites. The guidelines are:
Guidelines for Legion Websites
Approved by Concilium at the December 2005 meeting
1. No commercial advertising permitted - never make use of so called "free" sites
2. Opening page should identify website as belonging to Legion of Mary (use Vexillum or Tessera or both) and the name.
3. National flags should not be included in the website.
4. Opening page should include the name of the council and say whether Senatus, Regia, Comitium, Curia or Praesidium.
5. The higher Councils should oversee the contents of any Legion websites in their area.
6. Legion website addresses should be notified to the next highest council.
7. Content of website should be reviewed regularly and should be looked at as part of the visitation of a council. The site should bear reference to the most recent update.
8. Legion Prayers should be included on the website.
9. Include items about the Servant of God Frank Duff, Venerable Edel Quinn, the Servant of God Alfie Lambe along with local news and events.
10. The work of legionaries in sensitive areas of the world should never be referred to in a Legion website.
11. Links may be made to other dedicated websites which comply with these guidelines
12. Care should be taken in regard to other links since the Legion has no control over their contents.
13. Personal addresses or contact information should not appear on Legion websites.
14. Remember to preserve the confidentiality of people and not to publish their photographs without their consent
15. Have in place a procedure for the updating of the site at regular intervals and to remove dated content
16. It is better not to make use of number counters on the web page itself as it can be counterproductive e.g. one website boasted 425 hits in 15 years
17. Have a procedure in place whereby e-mail arising from the website is responded to promptly in a supervised way
18. The use of gimmicks is not recommended
19. Do not make use of the web page to harvest e-mail addresses - people resent unsolicited e-mail and in many countries it is illegal to issue it
20. For the same reason never participate in the generation of spam
21. Remember to respect the law in relation to copyright
22. Keep your system safe. Remember to have anti virus software installed and to update it regularly. It is best to make use of software that automatically checks for and installs its own updates whenever you connect to the Internet
He did not invite me to join the Legion of Mary. He did not need to, as seeing the change in his life was a better argument than anything he could have said.
How did I join? Well, about a month before I joined, I decided to convert to being Catholic. What priest did I go see? Well, I asked my friend in the Legion of Mary, and he introduced me to the spiritual director for his Praesidium. I talked with him when I wanted to become Catholic. He suggested I attend a book club he was in, so I did. At one of the book club meetings, I asked about the Legion of Mary and he said I could come to the meeting.
I had done some research, and thought --maybe they'd accept me as an auxiliary member, and if I did well, eventually a member. Boy was I wrong. They put me right in as a probationary member. That week, I was out doing work. Within a couple months, door-to-door. Three months later, I took my promise. I did not know how to pray a Rosary, --and was just learning the Hail Mary-- but I was going door-to-door!
Reflecting back, I am reminded by the quote in the Handbook from St. John Chrysostom, ""It is not names that give confidence in things, but things that give confidence in names." We must never forget that our own lives, are the first advertisement that people see for the Legion of Mary. The best recruiting drive is an examination of conscience.
The Handbook also says, "Does not St. John Chrysostom say that he had never succeeded in persuading himself that anyone could achieve salvation who had never done anything for the salvation of his neighbor?" Let us also not forget that, inviting others time and time again to become Catholic and to join our Legion of Mary is needed, not just for their sanctification, but also for ours.