The Legion of Mary has an aspect of its ministry that is specifically catered to helping foster the spirituality of youth under the age of 18. It is called a junior praesidia and can be started at the parish-level. For more information, see the Legion Handbook, Chapter 36.
Below are excerpts from our Legion Handbook which outlines how to start one of these at your parish.
“The only real way of learning the Legion is to work its system. Lectures are often given urging the young to undertake the apostolate when they go out into the world, but such lectures, however excellent, are but dry bones compared with the living body of actual practice. Moreover, without some actual training, an intention or desire to begin apostolic work is of little value. “- pg 222
“It is to be regarded as an essential condition that at least the President of such a praesidium should be an adult. A second adult officer would be desirable with a view to providing for the absence of the President, and for the possibilities of expansion.” – pg 223
” A minimum of one hour’s work per week, that is one-half of the senior obligation, may be accepted from the junior member.
8. Suggestions for the work are:
(a) Distribution of the miraculous medal after the following plan. At each meeting one or two medals (a fixed number) are served out to each legionary. They are to regard these as a ration of ammunition, which as soldiers of Mary they must use to the greatest advantage, by giving them, if possible, to non-Catholics or neglectful Catholics. This idea stirs the imagination and induces sacrifice. They should be instructed as to the manner of answering the questions which are likely to be asked and as to the utilisation of openings.
(b) Winning of auxiliary members. This will include the instructing of their recruits in the saying of the prayers, also the periodic visitation of them so as to ensure their fidelity.
(c) Endeavouring to have at least one additional person every week undertake: attendance at Holy Mass daily, or the practice of some devotion, or to join a sodality, the Apostleship of Prayer, or some Catholic society.
(d) Bringing of young children to Holy Mass and the Sacraments.
(e) Serving Mass.
(f) Teaching the Catechism and recruiting for catechism classes.
(g) Visitation of children in a hospital or other institution, or in their own homes.
(h) Visitation of the infirm and the blind and the performing for them of all sorts of needed services.
” It is most strongly urged that every junior praesidium should have at least two members on each of the three lastnamed works, that is, (f) (g), (h). Those works, properly done, represent superb training for the young legionaries engaged on them, and would set the proper sort of standard for the other works of the praesidium.” = pg224
“It should be brought home to the members that their own holiness is not only the main object of the Legion but also the mainspring of the Legion’s work. Hence, they should be encouraged to pray and make sacrifices for the intentions of the praesidium. But these exercises should not be assigned to the members, and they should not be reported on at the meeting. It is particularly emphasised that spiritual exercises cannot substitute for the active work. If they are performed, it must be in addition to the active work – pg 225