Legion of Mary banners seen at the 70th anniversary Mass held at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace.

By Patricia Ang

The Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace was packed with about 900 Legionaries and their families and friends who attended the Mass celebrating the Legion of Mary’s 70th anniversary.

It was a joyous occasion for all who were present for the Dec 3 Mass, celebrated by Archbishop William Goh.
In his homily, Archbishop Goh affirmed the Legion of Mary members for their fidelity and perseverance in doing God’s work. He said that they are fondly known as soldiers of Mary for Christ.

“In the early days, the Church was dependent on the Legion of Mary whose members were the jacks of all trades. They … sold the Catholic News, raised funds, ran the canteen, conducted census, did outreach work, attended wakes and funerals. Legionaries carried out their work faithfully,” he said.

Archbishop Goh urged the Legionaries to renew and re-strategise in order to stay relevant and effective and to make the movement more attractive to Catholics for the work of the New Evangelisation.

Legionaries are challenged to see how they can use their talents, charism and resources to align with the Church. They have to renew, rethink and conquer new frontiers in view of changing social and cultural conditions, he said.

After Mass, a dinner celebration for about 880 guests was held at Roland Restaurant in Marine Parade.

Mr Simon Chia, who joined the Legion of Mary in 1960, noted Archbishop Goh’s message on renewal was important.

He told Catholic News, “This is important, otherwise the Legion will die out. Very often, whenever an officer post falls vacant, there is a reluctance to accept officership, resulting in officers swapping positions. This is not healthy and I urge Legionaries, especially the younger ones to come forward to serve.”

Ms Margaret Wong, Legion of Mary Singapore’s senatus president, said, “The archbishop’s homily was very encouraging and [he] advised the Legion to grow and to re-strategise as there are now many ministries assisting the parish. As Legionaries we need to reflect how we can reposition ourselves in the Church of Singapore.”


Legion of Mary Singapore Senatus officers cutting the anniversary cake with Archbishop William Goh.

History

As a lay movement, the main work of the Legion of Mary is evangelisation, working for the glory of God through the holiness of its members developed by prayer and active cooperation with Mary and the Church.

The first Legion of Mary meeting in Singapore was held on Dec 5, 1947, with three members and was named Gate of Heaven Praesidium with the late Fr John Roger Fox as its spiritual director and the late Ms Luna Pereira as president.

These Legionaries then started the Catholic lending library, the bookshop and the Catholic Centre.

From Singapore, the Legion expanded to West and East Malaysia and Brunei.

The national and regional council is the Singapore Senatus serving the eight archdioceses, dioceses and apostolic vicariate in Singapore, East Malaysia and Brunei.

To date there are 147 praesidia, or Legion units, in Singapore and 443 praesidia in East Malaysia and Brunei.

There are about 15,000 active and auxiliary Legionaries with 4,500 in Singapore and 10,500 in East Malaysia and Brunei.

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