“The lay apostolate must be considered by priests as a definite part of their ministry, and by the faithful as a duty of the Christian life.” (Pope Pius XI)
The Parish Census
One of the greatest and most effective means of evangelization at the Legion’s disposal is to assist a parish priest in the taking of a parish census. As the Legion Handbook says, the parish census “provides an excellent way of getting in touch with the Catholics who need attention or who have drifted into the category of lapsed.”
Parish censuses ideally involve a door-to-door, face-to-face encounter with each member of the parish community. They can serve as a very effective means to measure the community’s spiritual health, as legionaries often learn much about the religious practices of those whom they visit in the course of their visitation. And, in the end, they can return many members of a pastors’ flock to the fold.
Other Works IN THE PARISH
In addition to helping with the Parish Census, there are many ways legionaries assist their pastors. Some of these ways are described in chapter 37, Suggestions as to Works.
“In the present circumstances the lay faithful have the ability to do very much and, therefore, ought to do very much towards the growth of an authentic ecclesial communion in their parishes in order to reawaken missionary zeal towards non-believers and believers themselves who have abandoned the faith or grown lax in the Christian life.” (CL 27)
It will be found that the growth of a true community spirit will be greatly promoted by the establishment of the Legion of Mary. Through the Legion, lay people become accustomed to working in the parish in close union with their priests and participating in pastoral responsibilities. The regulation of various parish activities through a regular weekly meeting is an advantage in itself.
A higher consideration, however, is that those involved in the work of the parish will be provided, through membership of the Legion, with a spiritual formation, which will help them to understand that the parish is an Eucharistic community, and with a methodical system, which will enable them to reach out to everyone in the parish, with the aim of building up that community.The Legion Handbook, Chapter 10, Section 5