Duties of the Praesidium Officers
The officers’ first duty is to satisfy the ordinary work obligation in such a manner as to set an example to all other members. Pg 85.
To attend the Council Meeting
The President is expected to attend the council meeting to which the Praesidium is attached, and thus keep the Praesidium firmly united with the main body of the Legion. Pg 213
This is also the first duty mentioned for the other officers.
At the Council Meeting you should obligate yourself to participate in the discussions, or to ask questions and make comments to the body. The same Legionary courage that you use on your weekly work will be enough to get you on your feet. The Council Meeting is what you make it. Make it a point to get to know all the members of the Council.
Praesidium officers are a team, a unit. They should be familiar with the duties of each other. Everything is not up to the President; each officer has the responsibility of preserving and developing the Legion spirit and system. The more each officer knows the better will be the teamwork.
It is most important that Officers' Meetings be held periodically to discuss any differences or problems in the Praesidium, new works, etc.
An officer who feels the Praesidium is drifting into careless ways or loss of spirit should discuss it with the Praesidium Spiritual Director and the other Praesidium Officers. If unsuccessful in resolving the problem, the Praesidium Officers should discuss it with the Council. This is not being uncharitable. Each Officer has a responsibility to the Legion to do all possible to ensure its well-being. It would be uncharitable not to speak!
Officers should be diligent in observing the rules and developing spirit. Members will usually be a step beneath the officers in spirit and dedication. If officers are working for perfection, the members will be good; if officers are content with only being good, the members will be indifferent; if the officers are indifferent, there won't be any members!
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If the officers fail everything withers. Pg 87
Duties of the Praesidium President
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- Attend the Council Meeting.
- Give the Praesidium a report of the Council Meeting.
- Conduct the Praesidium Meeting:
- Start and end on time; an hour and a half limit.
- Give an Allocutio in the absence of the Spiritual Director; it should not be a reading from the handbook or another source.
- Prepare the worksheet before the Meeting, including assignments. The work is approved by the priest; the President assigns it. Keep track of follow-up cases and assign them regularly.
- Call for reports. Encourage member to give interesting, clear reports, which are not too long. If a member was unable to do work they should give an excuse to the Praesidium. A member should not be interrupted while giving their report. Reports on work done in pairs are shared by both partners. After the complete report has been given, ask for discussion on the report. This is the time to question and comment on the reports. Do not permit irrelevant discussion to creep in. Keep the meeting moving.
- See that each member is performing at least two hours of active, apostolic work each week. Make sure members contact you if they can't work that week. Arrange for another partner if possible.
- Try to create a joyful atmosphere in the Praesidium. Speak as little as possible! If a question comes up, ask the Praesidium what they think of it before handling it yourself.
- Explain Praetorian membership at least twice a year. (See Handbook, page 92).
- Instruct and supervise the other Officers in the performance of their duties and the keeping of their records. Show the Vice President how to prepare the worksheet in case you ever have to miss a Meeting.
- Set an example of spirituality and zeal to your fellow members, but not to the degree that you are doing work that others should be doing.
- Consult the Council Officers if you feel the Praesidium is in trouble. Don't wait too long to do this. Council Officers have experience with many Praesidia and their problems; a problem you are struggling with for weeks may have been solved years ago in another group, and just a few words with the Council Officers might save you a lot of heartaches.
- Presidents should remember they have the "grace of state". Even though you may feel you cannot handle the job, the Presidency itself carries graces with it. You are sitting in for Our Lady. She never lets anyone down.
Duties of the Praesidium Vice-President
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- Attend the Council Meeting. You have the same responsibility to safeguard the Legion system and develop it as do the other Officers
- Preside in the absence of the President; acquaint yourself with duties of the President. This includes preparing an Allocutio.
- Train new members in Legion rules and spirit. Your job is to make new people feel at home. Show them how the prayers are said at the Meeting, etc. Afterwards explain the Standing Instructions, especially the rule of secrecy, to them.
- Call and mark the roll at each Meeting. Excuses should be made known to the Praesidium. Keep a record of members' names, addresses / email, and phone; the date enrolled and the date of promise.
- Inform the President privately when the three months' probation is completed and give the President a record of their attendance and performance of assignments. Make sure the member is eligible to take the Promise; excused absences out of 12 Meetings could be an indication that the member may not be able to fulfill the rule of regular attendance. Late coming should also be considered. You and the President should discuss the matter with the Spiritual Director if there is any question. You and the President (and the Spiritual Director if possible) should speak privately with the person about to make their promise, to ensure that they are sincere and aware of what they are promising.
- Keep a record of all Auxiliaries including Adjutorians. See that Auxiliaries are checked after their 3 months' probation and at least once a year after that. Invite them to the Acies and Days of Recollection during the year. When organizing names of Auxiliaries to be checked, make a list and give it to the President, who will assign a pair of Legionaries to visit them. Auxiliaries should always be contacted in person. Give them opportunity to subscribe to the Maria Legionis Magazine.
- Follow up lax members and encourage regular attendance. If a new member does not show up the following week, call them up or visit them; ask whether they were sick, tell them you missed them, etc. If they still don't show up, follow them up again. It has been found that some of the best Legionaries were obtained after an effort on the part of the Vice President.
- During the Meeting, be aware that you are assisting the President and look out for details that may have been missed. You are free to observe, whereas the President can't be aware of all that is going on, since the President's mind is on the actual conducting of the Meeting. Be on the look out for indications of loss of spirit or defects in the Praesidium for example, partners who may not like to work together, and you detect this when assignments are given.
- Keep in touch with sick members of the Praesidium. A leave of absence should be definite: for one, two, or three months. An Officer who takes a leave for three months or more must relinquish their Office.
Duties of the Secretary
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- Attend the Council Meeting. You have the same responsibility to safeguard the Legion system and develop it as do the other Officers.
- Keep accurate minutes, typed or written in ink. Keep minutes in a binder or a bound book.
- You set the tone of the Meeting. Give the minutes clearly and audibly
- Handle correspondence.
- Furnish higher Councils with any reports needed, for example the Annual Report. All Officers should work together on the Annual. Call an Officers' Meeting for this.
- Minutes are confidential and should be kept where no one will have access to them.
- Minutes should not be too long, but a good summary of reports should be given, since the minutes are the most permanent record of the Praesidium.
Legion of Mary: Duties of the Praesidium Treasurer
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- Attend the Council Meeting. You have the same responsibility to safeguard the
- Legion system and develop it as do the other Officers.
- Pass the secret bag automatically, as unobtrusively as possible, immediately after the Allocutio. The President should not have to announce that the bag is to be passed.
- Each person puts their hand in the bag whether they are contributing or not.
- Give the Treasurer's Report at the meeting including: a) Previous week’s balance, b) Last week’s secret bag money received, c) List expenses and monies spent, and d) The ending balance.
- Secret bag money is never counted during the meeting, but after with a witness observing.
- At the Praesidium meeting that occurs the week before the Council meeting, make a recommendation for a donation to the Council.
- You are in charge of keeping enough Legion supplies on hand for the Praesidium to use in its work, such as some extra handbooks, Tesseras, Active and Auxiliary leaflets, etc. These can be purchased at the Council Meeting, or from other sources, at the direction of the Praesidium. These supplies should be organized before the Meeting so that they are available to the members.
- See that fresh flowers for the altar are either brought each week by one of the members or purchased from the secret bag.
- Periodically explain the importance of the secret bag.
- Secret bag funds may not be used for gifts, social functions, Maria Legionis Magazine for members, or for the Mass stipends other than for the November Mass for all deceased Legionaries and if an active member passes away.
- Ensure that the treasurer books are audited once a year by two members other than the treasurer. The auditors should sign the book and fill out the audit form which is attached to the annual report.
- Develop a system for filing receipts in an orderly fashion. Retain the receipts for the annual reporting period. They can be destroyed after the audit.
Guidelines for Annual Praesidium Report to Senatus
(Please submit three (3) copies to the Senatus One month in advance)
Report should include the following information:
- Name of praesidium
- Period covered
- Officers and vacancies
- Numbers of
- active, praetorian, auxiliary, adjutorian members
- recruiting contacts
- members gained, members lost
- members subscribing to Maria Legionis magazine
- attendance at praesidium meeting
- Officers’ % attendance at Senatus meeting
(The report should not include non-assigned works.)
- List works done under each of the following categories:
- Describe approach on each type of work
- How often is each work done?
- Comment on highlights and significant results
- Attendance at Legion functions (Acies, Annual General Reunion, September Function, Auxiliary Day)
- Special Legion-sponsored activities held or participated in (i.e. Retreat, PPC, etc.)
- Previous balance
- Total income
- Senatus donations
- Total expenses
- Balance on hand
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Some Work that can be Undertaken by the Legion Praesidium
Works of Consolation
Legion work seeks to engage in ‘collaboration with every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by the parish and so help to bring every soul in some manner into the protective network of the Church, thus securing the safety alike of the individual and the community.
(The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary, p. 232)
- Visits to the sick
- Visits to the elderly
- Visits to the bereaved
- Visits to prisoners
- Hospital visits
- Visits to a refuge
- Welcome immigrants
- Visits to seamen
Works of Service
- Church cleaning
- Shopping for the elderly
- Cleaning for the elderly
Works of Conservation
- Visits to parishioners
- Auxiliary recruitment
- Sacred Heart Enthronement
- Brown Scapular promotion
- Rosary promotion
- Catechism work
- Retreat promotion
- Days of Recollection
- Religious courses
- Census Visiting
- Altar serving
- Pioneer Total Abstinence promotion
- Promotion of religious items
- Liturgy work
- Junior Praesidium
Works of Conversion
- Exploratio Dominicalis
- Street contact
- Catholic Enquiry Centre promotion
- Mission support
- Door to door visiting
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In practice, however, the Legion outlook would require the directing of the work- obligation towards actual needs, and among the latter, towards the gravest. For that intensity of zeal which the Legion strives to generate in its members requires a worthy objective. Trivial work will react unfavourably upon it, so that hearts that were ready to spend themselves for souls, and to return love for the Christ-Love, and effort and sacrifice for his labours and death, end by settling down to pettiness and lukewarmness.