BY A STAFF REPORTER ONE of the liveliest Catho lic action groups in Essex has been expelled from the Legion of Mary for allegedly breaking a rule of procedure.
The group, in Legion terms, is the Praesidium of Our Lady of Canvey, attached to the Canvey Island parish in a fastgrowing area. Well known all over South-East Essex for its energetic community service. the Praesidium is accused of not reciting the rosary at its official meetings.
Fr. Gordon Godfrey, the parish priest and Praesidium chaplain, told tre CATHOLIC HERALD this week that the charge was simply untrue. "What happens." he said, "is that the meeting recites the Legion. prayers and the rosary in the church, so that some of the other parishioners can
join dn. and we follow this with the Benediction.
"Then the Legion meeting transfers itself to my house (right next door to the church) to deal with its other business in private. There is no question of banning the rosary from the meetings, which is what we're accused of doing. It's simply that the meeting transfers. In my understanding. a meeting is a collection of people, not a place."
The Praesidium is composed mostly of young people. The youngest member is 15. and there are a number of young single people and married couples—I2 full members and 20 auxiliaries.
They visit the sick and the elderly. welcome new families to the parish, work for Christian Aid Week. and foster inter Church relations. They have completed a census of threequarters of the island, and maintain a constant programme of parish visitation.
Their reputation is outstanding in an area of Essex where the Legion is known to have lost many members in recent months.
Fr. Godfrey appeared before the Legion's South-East Essex Curia last week, but was told that the rules had been broken and that expulsion. muse follow. There is, he understands. no right of appeal against the decision.
He said afterwards: "The Praesidium will go on working together as a group, and will follow the same pattern as before. It is very sad that the Legion should be so absorbed in procedural questions."