Wednesday 7 September 2011

The Legion of Mary - 90 years old today!

Founded in Dublin on 7 September 1921 by the redoubtable Frank Duff, the Legion of Mary is a lay organisation for both men and women who undertake good spiritual and welfare works at parish level.

On their website they describe their activities as follows:-

"The Legion sees as its priority the spiritual and social welfare of each individual. The members participate in the life of the parish through visitation of families, the sick, both in their homes and in hospitals and through collaboration in every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by the parish.

Every legionary is required to carry out a weekly apostolic work in the spirit of faith and in union with Mary".

Member groups (known as a praesidium) hold weekly meetings that are a mix of prayer, discussion and action plans.
Among recent reports of their activities was their Saturday information stall in Oxford where Catholic literature and information was freely available alongside the Islamic and Protestant stalls.

Still more recently, ten days or so ago, in fact, saw a group of Legion of Mary volunteers descend upon the parish of The Sacred Heart, Morriston, near Swansea, where, with guidance from Fr Jason Jones, Parish Priest, and Gail Mills from Bath, a programme was put into action in order to reach out to non practising Catholics in the parish.

Within the course of a few days some 4,285 households had been visited and 117 lapsed or non practising Catholics identified together with ten people who were interested in becoming Catholics.
From those visits came an invitation to go to Confession and, of those that went, two penitents had not received the Sacrament for more than 15 years.

Today, on the 90th Anniversary of The Legion, Fr Jason Jones is holding an inaugral meeting to establish a praesidium at the Sacred Heart parish, so far, 34 people have committed themselves to attend.

I am sorry to bombard you with figures but this is one of those occasions where statistics reveal both a very great need and a very real success.

The Legion of Mary has a worldwide membership of over 10 million (about the same number as the population of Portugal) making it the largest lay organisation within the Church.

Here is their very beautiful prayer, The Catena Legionis

Antiphon. Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

(Make the Sign of the Cross)
v. My soul glorifies the Lord.*
R. My spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
v. He looks on His servant in her lowliness;*
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

R. The Almighty works marvels for me.*
Holy His name!
v. His mercy is from age to age,*
on those who fear Him.

R. He puts forth His arm in strength*
and scatters the proud-hearted.
v. He casts the mighty from their thrones*
and raises the lowly.

R. He fills the starving with good things,*
sends the rich away empty.

v. He protects Israel His servant,*
remembering His mercy,
R. The mercy promised to our fathers,*
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

v. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit..
R. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Antiphon. Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

v. O Mary, conceived without sin.
R. Pray for us who have recourse to you.

Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our mediator with the Father, Who has been Pleased to appoint the Most Blessed Virgin, Your mother, to be our mother also, and our mediatrix with You, mercifully grant that whoever comes to You seeking Your favours may rejoice to receive all of them through her. Amen.

Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Richard.

    There's a Legion of Mary group in my parish. I might join them after reading this!


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