October is the month of the Most Holy Rosary, when we honor the power of the intercession of the Blessed Mother in our lives. We focus on the Rosary during this month due to the fact that the Feast of the Holy Rosary falls on October 7th, and so we dedicate this entire month to the Rosary and pray for Mary's intercession in all things. We also are currently celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Legion of Mary, an organization that promotes lay involvement in the life of the Church. Catholic News Agency recently ran a story on the Legion of Mary and its founder, Frank Duff, who has been designated a Servant of God, which is the first step in the cause for Beatification.
Reporting on a Mass held in early September commemorating the centenary of the founding of the Legion of Mary, CNA shared quotes from the homily delivered by Dublin Archbishop Dermot Farrell, who said of the legion’s founder, "Frank Duff, a man ahead of his time, could be described as prophetic in the true Christian sense of that word: someone sensitive to the call of God and utterly dedicated to God's will. He translated his prophetic perspective of the universal call to holiness into a vibrant lay movement."
Duff founded the Legion of Mary on September 7, 1921, and the legion's centenary will be recognized throughout the coming year, with a closing Mass of Thanksgiving scheduled for November 19, 2022. Duff founded the legion in Dublin, but it eventually grew into an international organization that today is the largest lay apostolic Catholic organization, boasting over 10 million members worldwide.
The strength of the movement founded by Duff is rooted in a search for the meaning of Mary's motherhood of Jesus and of His mystical body, the Church, and that search finds its fullest expression in a devotion to the mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary. The popularity of a movement rooted in devotion to the Rosary comes as no surprise to those who understand its ability to mold our hearts in the image of Christ.
In a meditation on the growing popularity of the Rosary in modern times, Pope Benedict XVI once said, "The Rosary is experiencing a new Springtime. Without a doubt, this is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother, Mary. In the current world, so dispersive, this prayer helps to put Christ at the center, as the Virgin did, who meditated within all that was said about her Son, and also what He did and said. . . . The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, it brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the center of each Hail Mary."
Now is a great time to join with all those devoted to exploring the mysteries of the faith within the recitation of the Rosary in order to honor this month of the Most Holy Rosary and to begin a coming year of commemoration of all those who have turned to Mary over the past century through their involvement in the Legion of Mary. Our world is in desperate need of the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and when we turn to her, we find ourselves led into the loving arms of her son, Jesus Christ.
This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers' Board of Directors ; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.
Editor's note: My father was very involved in the Legion of Mary Praesidium at our parish, St. Thomas, Southington, CT.