Saturday, November 15, 2014

Legio Maria Takes Shape: Leadership and Organization of Legio Maria

When Legio Maria became an independent organization from the Roman Catholic Church, it had no official leaders, except Simeo Ondeto and Mama Maria. Soon, the church hierarchy had to be declared in order to create structures for growth and development. Simeo Ondeto was declared the founder and spiritual leader. Moreover, he was declared the eternal spiritual leader. The early Legio Maria followers did know him as God, but in the church hierarchy, he was made the eternal spiritual leader. The second person in rank was Mama Maria. Mama Maria was revered a lot and the movement was named after her, just as the parent Catholic Movement was named after Virgin Mary. In order of protocol, she was the second highest in rank.
At the beginning of Legio Maria, there was no pope. The movement did not declare its full independence from the Roman Catholic Church’s Pope based in Rome, Italy, as soon as it began. While they believed in Simeo Ondeto and Mama Maria, the church members still respected John Paul II and Cardinal Maurice Otunga of Kenya. The third highest rank was, therefore, given to Timotheo Atila, who became the first Legio Maria Cardinal. Below Atila were arch-bishops and bishops, priests and deacons. The highest female rank apart from Mama Maria’s was a rank below the male deacon.  

By 1965, the position of Atila Timotheo as a leader was already becoming vital for the movement as it was necessary to cut ties with Rome after the Roman Catholic Church colluded with the government to persecute Legio Maria. To distinguish his role from that of Simeo Ondeto, Atila Timotheo was named the first Legio Maria pope. 

Some of the most important leaders at the beginning of Legio Maria were:
a.       Bishop Alois Owuonda
b.      Cardinal Mumbo Carilus
c.       Pope Timotheo Atila
d.      Chiaji Lawrence
e.      Hebert Aloo
f.        Silvester Okweto
g.       Siprianus Ochieng
h.      Othuogo
i.        Johannes Muga Ondiwa
j.        Angi Clement
k.       Mercelianus Orongo
l.        Abala Rafael
m.    On’gombe Romanus
n.      Johannes Baru

Obviously from the list above, men were given the top hierarchy than women. However, there were several women who excelled into recognition. Some top women were:
a.       Maria Ombwayo
b.      Pilista On’gombe
c.       Dorina Baru
d.      Gaudencia Aoko
e.      Sr. Helena
f.        Wilfrida Magel
g.       Susana Ouma

 Legio Maria Headquarter and Other Churches

Got Okwon’g (Hill of Sacrifice/Hill of Calvary) became headquarter of Legio Maria.  There the seat of Legio Maria rested. The church was then organized into nations headed by cardinals. For instance, cardinals were named as Cardinal Uganda, Cardinal Tanzania, Cardinal Kenya, and Cardinal Burundi, among others. 

  Besides, two most powerful cardinals were also named: Cardinal Dean and Cardinal Charlemagne (Administrator). Cardinal Dean, who was in direct line to succeed pope, worked closely with the pope because he would be the next to the office as soon as the pope died. During the tenure of Atila Timotheo as pope, cardinal Dean was Chiaji Lawrence. The position has also been occupied by Rafael Adika, who served in the position of cardinal dean during the papal tenure of Chiaji Lawrence. Currently, Legio Maria has two popes because of the divisions that occurred in 2009/2010. Cardinal Administrator holds the office that manages the transfer of all ordained persons. Below cardinals are archbishops, bishops, priests, deacons and nuns (mothers), brothers, and sisters.