Just some striking differences between how we celebrated this feast and how the legion celebrates its feasts.
1. The Novena.
- For nine days before the Feast of Mary's Birth, we prayed the rosary together, celebrated Mass in her honor with a homily on her virtues preached be guest celebrants, prayed the novena prayer at the end of Mass and sang song honoring Mary.
- In the legion a novena means nine days where there is a special talk preached by one of the superiors about the virtues the Sacred Heart, the Holy Spirit, the Birth of Christ, all according to the charism and methodology of the legion.
2. The Feast.
- We had a motorcade and drove through the city streets with the Statue of Mary mounted on a pickup truck; lots of holy water to bless people, their images of Mary and their homes; live music over loud speakers singing hymns to Our Blessed Mother and more than 50 cars honking their horns.
The image of Mary was brought into the Church in procession by the Legion of Mary to clapping and shouts of praise.
Our Mass was solemn, but very joyful. The songs were uplifting and exuberant.
The children were dressed as angels and sang songs in honor of Mary at the end of Mass. They crowned here as queen and tossed rose petals at her feet (and just about everywhere else).
We had booths set up outside selling hot-dogs, soups and cakes, and a live band playing Christian songs.
- In the legion the early morning Mass is after an hour of "meditation" and before breakfast. It is in Latin which very few really understand, and the homily, like the novena is about a legionary virtue faithful legionary superior. There is a big meal, and that means a lot more work, then sports until you drop and merienda-cena, which means more work.
At first I looked forward to feast days. Then I dreaded them.
3. The fruits
- Masses during the novena were full, not to mention the feast itself. People who hadn't been to church in a while came to Mass. Many of these will keep coming. Others won't. That's alright. We are all free. But a seed was planted in the heart of each and every one.
- In the legion, the younger members will be pacified for a time, until the next feast day, and won't think too much about their families, the pain they are feeling, the lack of friendship, the humiliations. Their bellies were filled with good food and maybe a little wine. They heard a moving homily on God's will, and maybe saw a documentary on the founding of the legion. As time goes by, and they are further integrated and the option of leaving becomes treason, they will no longer need these feast days to placate their consciences.