Legion of Mary

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Legion of Mary
Legion of Mary (Legio Mariae).png
AbbreviationLOM
FormationSeptember 7, 1921;97 years ago (1921-09-07)
Type Catholic lay society
Marian devotional society
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Website legionofmary.ie

The Legion of Mary (Latin : Legio Mariae) is an international association of members of the Roman Catholic Church who serve it on a voluntary basis. [1] It was founded in Dublin, as a Roman Catholic Marian Movement by the layman and civil servant Frank Duff.

Dublin Capital of, and largest city in, Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it lies within the province of Leinster. It is bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of the Wicklow Mountains range. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, and the population of the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806.

Frank Duff Roman Catholic activist

Servant of God Francis Michael "Frank" Duff is known especially for bringing attention to the role of the laity during the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church as well as for founding the Legion of Mary in his native city of Dublin, Ireland.

Contents

Today, active and auxiliary (praying) members make up a total of over 10 million members worldwide, making it the largest apostolic organisation of lay people in the Catholic Church. [2]

Membership is highest in South Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Argentina and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which each have between 250,000 and 500,000 members. [3]

South Korea Republic in East Asia

South Korea is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and sharing a land border with North Korea. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Its capital, Seoul, is a major global city and half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world.

Philippines Republic in Southeast Asia

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Membership is open to those who belong to the Catholic Church and believe in its teaching. Its stated mission is for active members to serve God under the banner of Mary by the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy, as mentioned in Chapter 33 of the Legion of Mary Handbook. The main apostolate of the Legion is activities directed towards Catholics and non-Catholics encouraging them in their faith or inviting them to become Catholic. This is usually done by encouraging them in prayer, attending Mass and learning more about the Catholic faith. The members of the Legion are engaged primarily in the performance of spiritual works of mercy,[ clarification needed ] rather than works of material aid. [4]

Mary, mother of Jesus religious figure and mother of Jesus of Nazareth

Mary was a first-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran.

Works of mercy various merciful acts promoted by Christian tradition, sometimes in a series of seven named acts

Works of mercy are practices considered meritorious in Christian ethics.

History

The Legion of Mary was founded by Frank Duff on 7 September 1921 at Myra House, Francis Street, in Dublin. [5] His idea was to help Catholic lay people fulfil their baptismal promises to be able to live their dedication to the Church in an organised structure, which would be supported by fraternity and prayer. The Legion draws its inspiration from Louis de Montfort's book True Devotion to Mary .

Baptism Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water

Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.

Louis de Montfort French Roman Catholic priest and confessor

Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was a French Roman Catholic priest and Confessor. He was known in his time as a preacher and was made a missionary apostolic by Pope Clement XI.

<i>True Devotion to Mary</i> book by Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort

True Devotion to Mary is a book by Saint Louis de Montfort on the Roman Catholic theme of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Legion first started out by visiting women with cancer in hospitals, but it soon became active among the most destitute, notably among Dublin prostitutes. Duff subsequently laid down the system of the Legion in the Handbook of the Legion of Mary in 1928.

The Legion soon spread around the world. At first, it was often met with mistrust because of its then-unusual dedication to lay apostolate. After Pope Pius XI praised it in 1931, the Legion had its mistrust quelled.[ citation needed ]

The lay apostolate is made up from laypeople and consecrated religious who exercise a ministry within the Catholic Church. Lay apostolate organizations cooperate with ecclesiastical authorities. They operate "under direction of her pastors" but are not members of the official Church hierarchy nor in Holy Orders. Apostolates operate with the permission of the local Ordinary of a Diocese, but often without material support. In many cases, where the priests are unable to function in specialized situations, like dealing with computer technology, medical care, or broadcast equipment, a lay apostolate may be formed to provide those specialized technical skills.

Pope Pius XI 20th-century Catholic pope

Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was head of the Catholic Church from 6 February 1922 to his death in 1939. He was the first sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929. He took as his papal motto, "Pax Christi in Regno Christi," translated "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ."

Most prominent for spreading the legion was Edel Quinn for her activities in Africa in the 1930s and the 1940s. Her dedication to the mission of the legion, even in the face of her ill health (tuberculosis) brought her great admiration inside and outside the legion. A canonisation process is currently under way for the legendary Quinn, and a beatification process is currently underway for Duff, and for Alfie Lambe (1932–1959), Legion Envoy to South America.

Membership in Ireland had been declining, but the Concilium's efforts to attract younger by the Deus et Patria movement has caused a substantial increase[ quantify ] in membership.[ when? ]

On 27 March 2014, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Bishop Josef Clemens, delivered the decree in which the Legion is recognised by the Holy See as International Association of the Faithful. [6]

Structure

The basic unit of the Legion is called a Praesidium, which is normally based in a parish. The Praesidium, usually a group of 3–20 members, meets weekly in its parish. The Curia is the next level, each supervising several Praesidia.

The next level is the Comitium, which is in charge of several Curiae, usually over an area like a medium city or a part of a province. The next level is the Regia, which is in charge of larger territories like a province or state (like in the US and Brazil). The Senatus is the next level, and it generally has control over the Regiae in a very large area, usually a country or a very large territory. T

The Concilium is the highest level and has its seat in Dublin. It has control over the whole Legion. [7]

Each level of the Legion has the same officers: the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Spiritual Director. The last is always in the clergy, but all other offices are held by the laity. [7] All positions regardless of responsibility are voluntary and the Legion as no paid workers.

Membership

Entering and leaving

Membership is open to all baptised Catholics. After visiting a Praesidium a few times, one can join the legion as a probationary member for three months. Then, a decision is made on whether to join the legion as an active member permanently. During the probationary period, probationary members learn about the legion system by reading the Handbook of the Legion of Mary and its active works by listening to reports of active works undertaken by fellow legionaries. At the end of probationary period, members say an oath of "Legion promise", a pledge of allegiance to the Holy Spirit and to Mary, and become apermanent active members.

Membership in the Legion of Mary is essentially based on discipline and commitment. Members devote their time and prayer for the intentions of Mary, Mother of God.

Members can withdraw from the Legion by informing the president of his or her praesidium. [7]

Types of membership

The Legion of Mary consists of two totally-different memberships, active and the auxiliary members. Both are essential to the Legion: "Just as a bird cannot fly without one wing, so also the Legion cannot exist without any of the other members," said Ráinel Lobo of Mumbai, India.

Active members regularly attend the weekly sessions of their Praesidium and pray daily the prayer of the Legion, the Catena Legionis, which consists essentially of the Magnificat and some shorter prayers. Their main role lies in active apostolate for the legion and the church. Active members under 18 are not allowed to give the "Legion promise" until that age. They are considered Juniors and may hold any office except President in their Praesidium. Above the level of the Praesidium, no Junior may serve as an officer. [7]

Auxiliary members support the legion through their prayer. They pray the whole booklet of Legion prayers, the Tessera, every day. The Tessera consists of the Invocation, prayers to the Holy Spirit, the Rosary, the Catena, and the concluding prayers of the Tessera.

Praetorians, a higher grade of active membership, pray, in addition to their duties as active members, the Rosary, the Divine Office and go to Holy Mass daily.

Adjutorians, a higher grade of auxiliary membership, additionally pray the Divine Office and go to Holy Mass daily.

Praetorians and Adjutors do not have higher status or higher rank inside the legion system. The meaning of the grades is only a desire for a more devotional life, not for higher status. Entering the grade is done by registering with a list of Praetorians/Adjutors and by subsequently observing their duties. [7]

Meetings

Altar of the Legion Altar legionario.jpg
Altar of the Legion

The Praesidia normally meet weekly; larger entities normally monthly or more rarely.

For all sessions, the Altar of the Legion is set up. It has a statue of the Virgin Mary (represented standing on a globe, her arms extended, crushing the serpent with her foot), which is placed on a white tablecloth, which has "Legio Mariae" written on it. On the two sides of the statue are placed two vases with flowers, often roses (the flower connected with Mary). On the front ends of the cloth are two candlesticks with burning candles. On the right side of Mary, the vexillum Legionis (the standard of the legion) is placed. It is made out of metal and onyx and shows the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove as well as the Miraculous Medal.

During meetings, all the prayers of the Tessera are said. The sessions start out with the introductory prayers to the Holy Spirit and to Mary. They include five decades of the Rosary. The next part of the session includes a spiritual reading and administrative matters. The members tell briefly how they fulfilled their tasks assigned to them at the previous session. They also discuss and/or read a chapter from the Handbook of the Legion. Then, the Catena Legionis is prayed, and the Spiritual Director or, if absent, the President holds a short sermon about spiritual matters (allocutio). Finally, the new tasks for the legionaries are distributed. Each meeting ends with the concluding prayers of the Tessera and a prayer for Duff's beatification. [7]

Spirituality

The spirituality of the Legion of Mary is essentially based on the approach of Louis de Montfort, as put forward in his True Devotion to Mary. [8] The book promotes a "total dedication" to Christ through devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which later influenced popes such as John Paul II, who mentions it in an apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae .

Another important element that shapes its spirituality is Duff's devotion to the Holy Spirit. He promoted the adoration of the third person of the Trinity, which he considered neglected. He saw the Virgin Mary as the "visible image" of the Spirit; the Legion's introductory prayers and legion promise are directed to the Holy Spirit. The Legion's vexillium legionis bears the Holy Spirit's image in the form of a dove.

The essential aim of the Legion of Mary is the sanctification of its members through prayer, the sacraments and devotion to Mary and the Trinity, and of the whole world through the apostolate of the legion.

The idea of a Catholic lay apostolate organisation where ordinary laypeople in all situations of life would work for their own sanctification and for the conversion of the world was the first of its kind.[ citation needed ] After the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) promoted such ideas in its conciliar documents, this approach gain wider acceptance in the Catholic Church.[ citation needed ]

See also

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References

  1. Thomas McGonigle, 1996, A History of the Christian Tradition Paulist Press ISBN   978-0-8091-3648-3 page 222
  2. "90th Anniversary of the Legion of Mary, The". 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  3. "Appendix 1. THE LEGION OF MARY" (PDF). Talks from the Conference on The New Evangelisation: Priests and Laity – The Great Challenge of the New Millennium. The New Evangelisation: Priests and Laity – The Great Challenge of the New Millennium. Concilium Legionis Mariae. 5 December 2008. p. 101. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  4. Peffley, Francis. "Inside the Legion of Mary". Legion of Mary, Arlington Regia.
  5. A radio documentary on the history of the legion can heard on http://www.rte.ie/radio1/bowmansundaymorning Archived 20 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine 26 June 2011
  6. "Legion of Mary recognized by the Holy See as an International Association of the Faithful". Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary" Archived 15 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine . Concilium Legionis Mariae. Dublin. 2005.
  8. Grignion de Montfort, St. Louis-Marie. True Devotion to Mary. translated by Mark L. Jacobson, Aventine Press, 2007