VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2006 (ZENIT.org).- Here is the description of the Legion of Mary which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
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Official name: Legion of Mary
History: The Legion of Mary was founded in Dublin, Ireland, by a group of 15 people under the guidance of Frank Duff, a young civil servant with the Department of Finance, as a new form of apostolate, paying visits to the sick and needy in twos, like the disciples.
Prayer in common, apostolic work and the weekly meeting which all the members are required to attend, have been typical features of the Legion from the beginning. Throughout its history, the Legion of Mary has always been viewed with favor and supported by the ecclesiastical authorities in the dioceses where it has developed.
Identity: Rooted in Marian spirituality and commitment to the Holy Spirit, the life of the Legion of Mary is based on faith in the joint action of the Spirit and Our Lady in the work of redemption, and the spread of the Kingdom of God throughout the world.
The priority objectives of the association are the sanctification of its members through participating in the mission of evangelization by direct apostolate, particularly among those who are far from the Church; home visits to the sick, inmates and needy families; teaching catechism in the parishes; religious instruction for young people; literacy courses for immigrants; supporting drug dependents and prostitutes; celebrating the Liturgy of the Word and organizing prayer meetings in places without priests.
In addition to the weekly study meetings, the members — encouraged to consecrate themselves to Mary following the spirituality of St. Louis de Monfort — take part in annual spiritual retreats and undertake to recite every day the “Catena Legionis,” the prayer to Our Lady which is their bond of union.
Organization: The highly structured organization of the Legion of Mary is based upon that of the Roman army, whose terminology it has adopted.
The highest authority of the Legion of Mary is the Concilium Legionis, in Dublin. The basic unit of the Legion of Mary is the praesidium, a group of people who work in the parishes following the instructions of the bishops and the parish officials.
All of the praesidia in a parish or several parishes in the same area constitute the curia. The work of the curiae and the praesidiae is coordinated by the Comitium. The Regia and the Senatus cover territories of large dimensions and whole countries, respectively.
People may join the Legion of Mary as active members, who attend the weekly meetings and devote two hours a week to apostolic work; as praetorian members who undertake the same obligations as the active members, attend daily Mass and receive holy Communion, and recite the prayers of the Legion daily; as auxiliary members, who support the active members in the apostolic work with their prayers, and spread familiarity with the Legion of Mary and devotion to Our Lady; as adjutorian members, who undertake not only the commitments of the auxiliaries, but also undertake to attend daily Mass and the Eucharist.
Membership: The Legion of Mary is present in a large number of countries in every continent, and more recently has also spread to Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, Ukraine, Siberia and Kazakhstan.
Publications: Maria Legionis, published quarterly in English
Web site: www.legion-of-mary.ie
Concilium Legionis Mariae
De Monfort House
Morning Star Avenue
Dublin 7 — Ireland
Tel. (353) 1.872.3153 — Fax 1.872.6386
E-mail: [email protected]
© Copyright 2006 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]