By Quegas Mutale, Diocese in Hwange
Legion of Mary members celebrated Acies at St. George’s Parish in the Catholic Diocese of Hwange on 25 March 2023.
Acies is an important annual event where all Legion of Mary members honour Mary and renew their vows as members of the association. The renewal of the Legion’s act of consecration is known as the Acies, Latin for “a standing army,” which professes their allegiance to Mary and Jesus. Legionaries come forward to place their hands on the vexillum as they renew their act of consecration to the Blessed Mother.
Social Communications (SOCCOM) Diocese of Hwange spoke to the Bishop of Hwange, Raphael Ncube who shared that Acies, “gives members of Legion of Mary the opportunity to present themselves to God, to renew their commitment and devotion to Mary the mother of Jesus.”
Bishop Ncube led holy mass for the Acies that was attended by Catholics from Parishes and Missions of five deaneries of Hwange urban, Victoria falls, Lupane, Binga and Dete. According to Fr. Tim Peacock, this year’s gathering attracted more people than ever before.
Bishop Ncube said: “It is not by mere coincidence that the Acies coincides with the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to bear a son, Jesus. That was the day when Mary said yes to God. Hence, this day is very important as it cements our relationship with Mary and Jesus.”
The Bishop encouraged congregants to commit themselves to God through their devotion to Mary and Jesus. Legion of Mary secretary, Otilia De-montfort Mathe shared that the event was significant as it offered the opportunity for the group to renew their vows and to reconnect with Mother Mary.
The Acies celebration is not only limited to its members of the group, but is an opportunity for all Catholics in the diocese to renew their vows as Christians. Fr. Tim Peacock shared that he joined Legion of Mary when he was very young and has found the experience to be enriching.
“I was consecrated to be a Legion of Mary member when I was very young and that experience inspired my vocation as a priest.”
According to Fr. Tim, this year’s event was attended by members of different associations such as St. Anne, Missionary Childhood, St. Josephs, Youths and Young Adults. Fr. Peacock said the participation of members from other associations encourages solidarity of Christians and unity of the Church.
The work for the Legion of Mary involves visiting the sick, supporting the needy, supporting church projects and carrying out other works of charity. The Legion of Mary association was introduced in Hwange in 1983 and the membership continues to grow with more than 700 members in the Diocese.