Legion of Mary
What It Is Not
The one-day Congress is not a
Convention in the American sense of the word. It is not intended to show off
the Legion’s great numbers as at the Acies. A hotel or other elaborate facility
is not a requisite. A school or church with a cafeteria or lunch room and a
large hall for discussions are sufficient. Read the Handbook section on the
Congress, pages 177-179.
It is not a Conference, which
is a two or three day affair held by the highest council in an area to highlight
an anniversary or the establishment of a Senatus, etc.
It is not a Seminar or Workshop
where members are divided up into small groups, as at an officer’s meeting. The
full body of members should be together for the whole day, especially in the
discussion sessions. Read the handbook section on Patricians (pages
260-272); especially the paragraphs entitled “Some Patrician Principles.” The
running of a one-day Congress is based on these principals.
It is not a panel or question
and answer period, or a lecture by experts. The speakers should not be singled
out (or chosen in the first place) because it is presumed they have “all the
answers.” Ordinary local legionaries should be asked to give the short
opening talks at each session. This is a good opportunity to train your
members, and since these talks are only intended to spur discussion, they
should not be more than ten minutes in length. A closing address should be
scheduled, and can be given by a visiting legionary, Spiritual Director or one
of the council officers, etc. Local Spiritual Directors or the Bishop could
also be scheduled to speak at the luncheon or at the church service.
It is not a forum for the
speakers of other movements and organizations.
It is not a discussion of
problems; themes should be positive, idealistic, and spiritual.
What It Is
The one-day Legion Congress is
a day long discussion of the Legion System, Devotions, Works, Principles
and Ideals, divided into three or four sessions with an overall theme and
sub-topics, which should be definite, related, and structured, so that the
discussion and ideas build throughout the day.
Legion of Mary One-Day Congress Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t arrange the seating
audience style. Do use semi-circles of chairs around the small table with the
chairperson, speaker, spiritual director and Legion altar. In a long, narrow
room, set up along the long wall.
Don’t put the tables on a stage
or elevation. The idea is informal discussion from the body, not from the
chairperson, director or speaker.
Don’t use a microphone. Do
train the members to speak out to the body.
Don’t let the members sit when
making comments. Do have members stand, including the chairperson, as a
contribution is made. Applause should either be given after each comment or
eliminated altogether, except for times when it comes naturally.
Don’t let the discussion get
off track; don’t let certain members monopolize the time. Do ask for all those
who have not yet participated to do so.
Don’t spend a lot of money. Do
keep the affair simple and as inexpensive (not cheap) as possible so that every
legionary, regardless of means, can participate fully. Have the meal catered so
that no legionaries miss the Congress sessions.
Don’t print an elaborate
program. A simple folded card, printed on four sides, is more than adequate.
Don’t offer a donation to the
council officers who give talks at the Congress or to any other legionaries who
participate. A visiting legion notable is a different matter and the spirit
director of your curia can advise you on this. On the other hand, legionaries
who are asked to give a major address and who come from another council should
be exempt from the registration and luncheon fees.
Don’t keep your one-day
Congress a secret. Do invite all councils in the area, in plenty of time, even
though it appears they may not attend. The handbook says, “Visitors from other
areas may be invited to a congress.”
Do have a special evening, the
night before the Congress, for the benefit of legionaries traveling a distance.
Do submit plans and a copy
of the problem to the higher council officers well in advance. Like any
other official legion meeting, the Congress is a tremendous source of spirit,
grace and enlightenment, provided it is run according the system. This
communication, plus the two sections of the Handbook mentioned above cannot help
but make your one-day Congress the success it is meant to be.
As you know it is the duty of
the higher councils to ensure the correct following of the system in its area
and the council officers sincerely hope you will get in touch with them with
your questions, doubts, suggestions and complaints, regarding the one-day
Congress. They are most anxious to help in any way to make yours a success.