By Br Robert Teoh, FMS

August 24 2022

KUCHING — On 22 July 2022, the junior praesidium of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted from St Joseph’s International School, Kuching hosted the first gathering of Junior Praesidia under the Legion of Mary of Kuching Comitium. 34 junior legionaries from the seven praesidia accompanied by nine spiritual directors/tribunes and teachers-in-charge participated in this inaugural gathering.

In his opening address, Br Anselm Han, treasurer of the Kuching Comitium, sent the warmest regards and wishes from the Kuching Comitium to all participants. He shared his experience as a junior member of Legion of Mary while studying at St Joseph’s Secondary School. He was happy to see his school praesidium, Our Lady of the Star, also present in this gathering. 

Using the biblical text, “Blessed are those who are afflicted, for they shall be comforted”, he encouraged all legionaries to carry out the mission of comforting the sick, the unfortunate and the poor through prayer and visitation. He thanked the organiser and wished all participants a day full of fun and that they get to know more legionaries.

Br Robert Teoh, FMS on behalf of the host praesidium, welcomed all the participants. He stressed that even though the praesidium is small, the members have the attitude of Mary; they believe that God can do great things through them. With this conviction they courageously took the initiative to organise this gathering. 

He said that the naming of the praesidium, established on 15 January 2020, was predestined. It was a few months later that the Covid-19 pandemic afflicted so many people throughout the world. The members of the praesidium will follow the example of Mary to pray and bring comfort to the afflicted. He then stressed on the theme of this gathering, “Walk by the Side of Mary Towards Jesus” as a way for legionaries to develop their life and mission as Christians.

After the president of the host praesidium recited the opening prayer, the participants were divided into several small mixed groups and they quickly got to know the members from different praesidia through the ice-breaking activities. The participants were very happy to meet so many young legionaries for the first time. After ice-breaking, a participant was able to call out 21 new legionaries that he met for the first time. 

All participants were entertained by the dance of young members from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom and Our Lady of Mercy based at St Joseph’s Private Primary School. The members of Our Lady Queen of Virgins from SMK St Teresa delighted the crowd by rendering an action song. The members of Our Lady Queen of the Holy Rosary based at St Peter’s Church led the participants to a simple praise and worship before lunch.

After lunch break, the different groups competed among themselves through a team building activity. They learnt how to take care of one another in their group and share their creative ideas in order to win. 

During the gathering we were visited by Fr Nicholas Ng, the Spiritual Director of Kuching Comitium in the morning. In the afternoon, after the participants prayed the Rosary, Archbishop Simon Poh surprised us with his visit. He shared his personal experience when he was a legionary at SMK St Joseph and encouraged the legionaries to take up the challenge of praying and to carry out their weekly assignment. He gave out certificates to the participants and presented the two winning groups their prizes.

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was chosen to host the next gathering. The gathering ended with praying the catena. Indeed, it was an exciting day for the members of Junior Praesidia to come together to get to know one another and to share their stories. It was a day that junior legionaries of Kuching Comitium “Walk by the side of Mary towards Jesus.” Today’s Catholic