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Legion of Mary Centennial

By Gloria Dodd

The public is invited to a celebration of the Legion of Mary’s 100th anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 14, at the University of Dayton. The event will start at 1 p.m. at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception with a procession to outdoor Marian images on campus. The procession will include hymns, prayers and commentary on the Marian images. At 2 p.m., the procession will return to the chapel for rosary and Legion prayers as well as a short presentation about the Legion of Mary founder, Servant of God Frank Duff (1889-1980), who received the University’s Marianist Award in the chapel on Dec. 8, 1956.

The Marianist Award was named for the Marianist religious community that founded the University of Dayton; it was first granted in 1950. In the words of the presenter in 1956, “The roster of the distinguished recipients of this Award includes priests and laymen who, whether directly or through their works, have left their impress upon the Marian character of the American people, and peoples of other lands as well, after the pattern of those sacred traditions which are so dear to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother. … The University of Dayton is greatly pleased to confer upon you the highest honor within her power to bestow — The Marianist Award.” Duff was the seventh recipient of the award and the second layperson to receive it.

Duff founded the Legion of Mary as a lay apostolate in 1921 and guided it as it grew to have millions of members. Active members attend a weekly meeting, do the weekly service assigned to them, pray daily and keep a professional confidentiality. Auxiliary members pray the rosary and Legion of Mary prayers daily. 

Duff continued his full-time service until his death in 1980. Since the cause for Duff’s canonization is still being investigated, he is now called “Servant of God.” The brief talk about Frank Duff’s reception of the Marianist award will feature archival materials from the Marian Library and the University Archives.

This Legion of Mary centennial celebration will be held rain or shine. The procession will be held indoors in the event of severe weather. Catholics who participate in the celebration are eligible for a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. Parking is available without a permit on Sundays in any single-letter lot at the University of Dayton. For more information about the event, contact Gloria Dodd, International Marian Research Institute, via email or at 937-229-1431.

 — Gloria Dodd is a research professor in the International Marian Research Institute

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