In 1954, I became President of the Comitium. This should have been “a piece of cake” because of the experience I had as secretary. At our monthly meetings of the Comitium officers. we realized that although things were going well, there was still much to be done. Although every parish didn’t form a praesidia, a few did, and, believe me, the name Legion of Mary was no longer a stranger in Chicago.
About 1955. Father Robert Herne became spiritual director of the praesidium at Holy Name Cathedral. Little did we know then the tremendous impact this appointment would have on our Legionary activities for the next three decades. The Acies Celebration was held at Holy Name Cathedral and Father was most cooperative in all the many preparations. As we thanked him for his good services, he said. “If I can ever do anything for you, just let me know.” We hope he wasn’t sorry he said these words because from then until he retired in 1989, every president of the Comitium and then the Senatus, always found “something he could do for us.”
It would be impossible to tell all the wonderful things Father Herne did for the Legion. His first innovation was to establish a uniform spiritual reading and allocutio for all of our attached praesidia. The presidents of the Comitium and the North and South Side Curiae spent many an hour with Father Herne in his office at Holy Name Cathedral working on the project. We made suggestions for handbook readings. and also wrote up outlines for the allocutios. We covered just about every phase of Legion activity and then went into a detailed study of the Sacraments. In our visitations we found that almost all of our praesidia took advantage of the suggestions. This project lasted for a couple of years, and it must have been successful because the Legion prospered during this time.