Legion of Mary Handbook
5. THE LEGION IN THE PARISH
“In the present circumstances the lay faithful have the ability to do very much and, therefore, ought to do very much towards the growth of an authentic ecclesial communion in their parishes in order to reawaken missionary zeal towards non-believers and believers themselves who have abandoned the faith or grown lax in the Christian life.” (CL 27) It will be found that the growth of a true community spirit will be greatly promoted by the establishment of the Legion of Mary. Through the Legion, lay people become accustomed to working in the parish in close union with their priests and participating in pastoral responsibilities. The regulation of various parish activities through a regular weekly meeting is an advantage in itself. A higher consideration, however, is that those involved in the work of the parish will be provided, through membership of the Legion, with a spiritual formation, which will help them to understand that the parish is an Eucharistic community, and with a methodical system, which will enable them to reach out to everyone in the parish, with the aim of building up that community. Some of the ways in which the Legion apostolate may be undertaken in a parish are described in chapter 37, Suggestions as to Works.
“The lay apostolate must be considered by priests as a definite part of their ministry, and by the faithful as a duty of the Christian life.” (Pope Pius XI)
By Fr. Vincent Vuong-Quoc Nguyen
Houston Senatus Spiritual Director
The Parish is a Eucharistic Community. We must have a connection to that Eucharistic Community because without the Eucharist the work we do with the Blessed Mother will be insufficient. How can you have the Blessed Mother without her Son Jesus Christ? In her heart, you find Jesus. Priests, by the virtue of his ordination, are entrusted with pastoral care for his flocks that is to feed, to lead, and to teach. As Saint Pope John Paul II wrote to priests on Holy Thursday of 2004, “There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood, just as there can be no priesthood without the Eucharist” Therefore, we must take advantage of the ongoing spiritual formation provided at a parish level. We must be fed by Christ in the Eucharist and by deepening our relationship with Him. The Legion of Mary must work collaboratively with the local ordinary, the Church; this is the integral part of our mission. Frank Duff set an example for us. He worked under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that moved in the Church. Through visits to Rome and the Second Vatican Council, he prayed, listened, and acted for the best interest of the Catholic Church and our Blessed Mother. At the parish level, we need to work with the priest, not against him, pray for him fervently, especially when he approaches the altar.
I would like to end with Fr. Kentenich’s quote as he wrote in his book, Cum Maria Ad Altare-Toward an Integration of Mariology and Ecclesiology, “Going with Mary to the altar and returning with Mary from the altar into everyday life.” (p. 208) This is the heart of the Legions, everything we do we have to do it with our Blessed Mother and with Her Son Jesus in the Eucharist, though which, we are able to bring joy, happiness and peace to the world.