Wednesday, 17 November 2021 20:58

Legion of Mary Annual Mass 2021

annualmass02 2021 350"Friends, this year marks 100 years of the Legion of Mary, and today I had the privilege of celebrating Mass with Fr Justin Ford and other members of the Legion at St Mary's Church in Ascot Vale. The Legion of Mary is an international Catholic lay-run organisation of men and women who, by virtue of their baptism and under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, work together to bring the Good News of of our Lord Jesus to the peripheries. Inspired by the witness of the Legion's founder Frank Duff (now a Servant of God), may we too place ourselves under the patronage of our heavenly Mother, as we seek to live out our baptismal call in this time and place." - Archbishop Peter A Comensoli

Homily of Archbishop Peter A Comensoli for the Legion of Mary Annual Mass 2021

Jesus did two specific things from the Cross on which he was hung to die. Firstly, he forgave the criminal who was crucified along with him. “Remember me, Lord” was his cry, which Jesus welcomed with the promise of Paradise. Secondly, Jesus gave his Mother to the Church, by giving her into the care of the Beloved Disciple. “Here is your Son; here is your Mother.”

This moment at the foot of the Cross, along with the gathering of the disciples in the upper room from which the Holy Spirit would send them at Pentecost, was the formation of the Church, to be Christ’s Body abiding in the world. Mary, God’s Mother, was there at both moments, receiving her new family and being the martyred yet queenly heart at the centre of it.

The action of Jesus from the Cross to give Mary to his Church might prompt us, his present-day disciples, to legitimately reply, “Here is our Mother,” when we take her into our homes. She, who was the First Disciple, properly stands in the midst of God’s Pilgrim People, as taught to us by the Church at the Second Vatican Council. 

As the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, puts it:

Just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth. (LG.68)

For one hundred years now, faithful Catholics have accepted this gift from Christ from the cross, of taking the Blessed Mother Mary into their homes and lives. The Legion of Mary, distinctly lay (not clerical) in its form and intent, has made a home for Christian believers with the Mother of God at its heart. How appropriate, given mothers are so significantly at the heart of the making of any home.

The Servant of God, Frank Duff, saw the legion of Mary as a way of promoting the spiritual development of its members and the advancement the reign of Christ through Mary. He had, as I am sure you all know, a deep and abiding love for our Blessed Mother, coupled with a determined and forthright care for the poor and struggling. The works of Mercy were deeply imbedded in his way of life, but this work was nourished by uniting his own heart to the heart of Jesus, through Mary. What flowed from the pierced side of Christ as baptismal grace, Frank received as a grace to a home for Christ’s Mother in his heart.

For you, who are the present-day disciples of Jesus, as members of the Legion of Mary you have this opportunity of celebration to re-discover the grace of your Baptism, and welcome Mary into your hearts and homes. Let us all welcome the prayer that Frank Duff composed.

O Lord, all hearts are in Your Hand.
You can bend, as it pleases You, the most obdurate, and soften the most hardened.
Do that honour this [day] through the Blood, merits, wounds, names and inflamed
Hearts of Your Beloved Son and His Most Holy Mother
by granting the conversion of the whole world.
Nothing less My God, Nothing less because of Mary Thy Mother
and because of Thy might and Thy Mercy.