Meeting of Canadian
Blue Army Leaders
At a significant meeting held at St. Mary’s Cathedral Rectory on January 17, 1981, Blue Army leaders from Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa met under the chairmanship of Father Peter Leoni, S.J.
This meeting was historic. It was the first time that the leaders of various “National” Centers had an official meeting to fulfill the request of the International Council of the Blue Army to resolve the question of fragmented national leadership. The meeting was called together by Father Leoni, to whom the International Council of the Blue Army had given the mandate to call such a meeting.
Father Leoni called the meeting for January 17, 1981, and invited the participants to Kingston Cathedral as it is a halfway point between Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Father Leoni showed the meeting the letter authorizing him to bring about Blue Army unity in Canada, from Canon Galamba, who is the acting President of the International Blue Army. This letter was written as a result of the resolution passed at the International Council Meeting in Rome in January 1980. Father Gruner, who was present at the meeting in Rome and was named in the resolution to help Father Leoni bring about this unity, was also present at the meeting in Kingston on January 17, 1981. He was present also in his capacity as Spiritual Director of the Blue Army Center in Toronto.
Mr. Vince Leonard of Toronto gave some background history about the early beginnings of the Blue Army in Canada. His brother, Father James Leonard, S.F.M., was instrumental in having the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which was blessed by Pope Pius XII, brought to Canada in 1947. Father Leonard helped organize the first visits of this original International Pilgrim Virgin Statue. Mr. Leonard met Mr. Haffert, the International Lay Director of the Blue Army, as this statue was brought to Buffalo from Canada at that time in 1947. Mr. Leonard has been active in Blue Army work ever since, and was named National Director of the Blue Army in Canada by Mr. John Haffert in 1955 at a special organizational meeting held in Toronto.
The meeting of January 17, 1981, was very cordial and it was a good opportunity for the leaders to get to know each other better. After information, apostolic experience and ideas were exchanged, the following decisions were unanimously agreed to. These decisions concerned the Blue Army in Canada, but were not to affect the Blue Army Apostolate in French-speaking Canada. It was hoped that at a later stage more decisions would be taken to bring about even greater unity between the English and French-speaking apostolates.
It was unanimously decided as follows:
i) A National Executive Committee of the Blue Army in Canada is formed by this meeting. It has full power and authority to do whatever is necessary for furthering the Message of Fatima and the Blue Army in Canada.
ii) This National Executive Committee has full power and authority to form a National Center of the Blue Army in Canada and to publish its own magazine.
iii) This Executive Committee is to be recognized as the official Executive Committee of the Blue Army in Canada and the National Center formed by this Executive Committee is the official National Center for English-speaking Canada and all Blue Army Centers in English-speaking Canada, whether parochial or diocesan, are to recognize the National Center as such.
iv) This National Executive Committee for the Blue Army in Canada officially represents the International Blue Army in English-speaking Canada.
v) This National Executive Committee has full power to act, but in some years hence it is understood that the National Executive Committee will be elected at a National Convention when diocesan centers have reached a sufficient degree of formation.
It was also decided to make 273 Dundas St. East, Toronto, the National Blue Army Center in Canada for the present time, and it was further decided to make Father Gruner President of the National Executive Committee for the Blue Army in English-speaking Canada and to make Mr. Vince Leonard Vice-President and Miss D. Williams Secretary.
We hope that in the near future we will have more good news to report about the Blue Army in Canada and we congratulate all concerned for the progress made thus far.