Plenary Indulgence for the Centenary

To increase the holiness of the faithful and for the salvation of souls, by virtue of the faculty granted to it in a special way by the Most Reverend Father in Christ and Our Master, the Lord Francis, by Divine Providence, Pope, having taken note of the requests made by Mary Murphy, President of the Association called the Legion of Mary, on the occasion of its one hundredth anniversary, the Apostolic Penitentiary graciously concedes from the heavenly treasures of the Church a plenary indulgence properly fulfilled under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Holy Communion and prayer for the intention of the Holy Pontiff) to the members of the association and to other members of the faithful who are truly penitent, to be gained from 7 September 2021 until 7 September 2022, which can be applied for the souls of the faithful detained in Purgatory by way of suffrage, if they visit any church of the said Association or wherever on pilgrimage and are present devoutly at the joyful celebrations, or at least recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed devoutly, with added pious appeals to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The aged, the sick, and all who cannot leave home for a grave reason, can gain equally the Plenary Indulgence, having evinced a detestation of sin and a purpose of amendment, where first permitted, under the three usual conditions, if they join themselves spiritually to the joyful celebrations, offering the prayers, sorrows or misfortunes of their own lives to the mercy of God.

In order to facilitate out of pastoral charity such visits for the reception of the divine forgiveness through the keys of the Church, this Penitentiary especially requests priests who have the faculties to hear the confessions of the said people, to make themselves available with prompt and generous heart for the celebration of Confession.

This letter is only valid for this purpose. All other things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given at Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 7 of September, in the Year of Our Lord’s Incarnation 2021.

Plenary Indulgence

Ggaba Seminary celebrates the Centenary of the Legion of Mary

Centenary Celebrations of Legion of Mary

Ggaba National Major Seminary Curia which is composed of Mary Mother of the Church, Mary Queen of Apostles and Mary Mother of Pilgrims Praesidia on Sunday, 5th December 2021 celebrated the Legion of Mary Centenary.

The event was attended by 70 Legionaries including their Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Vincent Ssekabira Kigozi and the Rector, Rev. Fr. Lazarus Luyinda.

Some of the members attending the Celebration

In reflecting on the theme for the Centenary, Rev. Dn. Innocent Muhumuza, the Curia President reminded the Legionaries of the call to fulfil the primary duty of every Christian; of sanctifying self and others, to know God, Love Him, serve him here on earth and be with Him forever in heaven, a purpose for which God created me and you.

Often times we ask if it is really possible to become saints. “I think that was the very question that puzzled Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary Movement to the extent of writing a book which he titled: Can we be Saints? When one reads this book and also the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis Rejoice and be Glad Gaudete et Exsultate (G.E). The answer to this question is arrived at, i.e., yes it is very possible with God’s grace and our cooperation with that grace”, the President said.

Find the talk HERE.

The Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Vincent Ssekabira Kigozi shared about the general overview of the Legion of Mary as he urged those present not to pretend but rather be committed to the promise they make to the Holy spirit.

The celebrations were also attended by two representatives of Senatus of Uganda who congratulated the Seminarians upon reaching the Centenary and thanked the Seminarians for the great work they do in extending of the Legion of Mary to the different parishes and asked them to join the cause of extending Legion of Mary further.

The celebration was marked with entertainment from different groups, cutting of the cake and a light meal.

Cutting of the Cake

Special thanks to the Rector, the Spiritual Director of the Curia and other officers and all the Legionaries for the organisation.

Brief about Ggaba Seminary

Ggaba is the first Theological Seminary in Uganda founded in 1970 and one of the four major Seminaries in Uganda. It is located in Kampala.

Reminder: Let us know how you plan to celebrate the Centenary. Share with us on senatusofuganda@gmail.com. For those that have celebrated, share with us how it was on the same email (Remember to attach the photos)

Highlights from the Centenary Inauguration and thanksgiving

Bishop Paul Ssemogerere at the Centenary of the Legion of Mary

On Tuesday, 7th September 2021, the Senatus of Uganda had Mass to thank God for the 100 years of the founding of Legion of Mary and to also inaugurate the celebrations that will last one year.

Legion of Mary Altar
Legion of Mary altar with a Vexillum brought by Edel Quinn to the first meeting of the first Praesidium in Nsambya

The order of songs and the readings on that day can be downloaded from HERE.

We have also shared the homily of His Lordship Bishop Paul Ssemogerere, the main celebrant on that day.

After Mass, we had a few speeches;

  • The President of the Senatus of Uganda in her speech thanked the Church Hierarchy for the continuous guidance, support and encouragement received from Bishops and Priests more so the Spiritual Directors. She recognized the contribution by the past members and officers of the Legion of Mary and thanked the current officers for the great work they are doing to keep the candle of Legion of Mary burning. Click HERE to read the full speech is here.
  • The President of UNCCLA (Uganda National Council of Lay Apostolate), a body that brings together the Laity in Uganda, Mr. Gervase Ndyanabo congratulated the Legionaries on behalf of the Lay faithful in Uganda for the work they were doing for the Church. He reminded the Legionaries that the celebration is not just about the passing of time but the milestone of the many achievements through the Legion of Mary apostolate. He thanked the Legionaries for being a perfect example of what the bishop described in the homily, “the love of God and the love of neighbor”.
  • The Senatus Assistant Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Ronnie Mubiru welcomed and introduced all the 20 Spiritual Directors present. They included priests from all ecclesiastical provinces in Uganda and a priest from South Sudan. Fr. delivered the messages from the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, H.E. Luigi Bianco and that of H.E. Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala. (These and other messages from the bishops will be reflected in the Centenary memorial magazine). The Spiritual Director extended the gratitude to the late Archbishop Kizito Lwanga and Fr. Walakira for the contribution to the Legion of Mary.
  • The Executive Secretary of the Lay Apostolate Department at the Catholic Secretariat, Rev. Fr. Fred Tusingire congratulated the Legionaries upon the Centenary and thanked the officers for working closely with the Uganda Episcopal Conference through the Lay apostolate department whose commission, the main celebrant heads. He emphasised the fact that Legion of Mary is not for the old or for the illiterate-it is for everyone. He gave examples of the past presidents of the Legion of Mary that include Professors, Lawyer among others.
  • Bishop Paul Ssemogerere thanked everyone present and following the celebration and more especially the Spiritual Directors from different parts of the Country. He thanked the Legionaries for praying for the Priests and requested them to also pray for the society especially the moral decadence that is in the society. He made a special request to the Legionaries to continue the culture of visiting hospitals. For those who visit homes, encourage them as it is very important for the evangelisers. He also requested Legionaries to support in giving catechisis to the children especially in these trying times of CoVID-19 emulating the Uganda Martyrs that continued the work after the departure of Fr. Simeon Lourdel Mapeera and Br. Amans Delmas. He reminded us in this Centenary, the words of St. John Paul II, Pope, “Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence”.
Centenary of the Legion of Mary in Uganda
Some of the Spiritual Directors after Mass

Centenary theme song

The Centenary theme song that was composed by Br. Adulfu Abaho, a student at Mulago Paramedical and sang by the DDC Cassettes is available on our Youtube channel on this LINK.

Centenary Candle

The Centenary Candle was lit by the bishop and handed over to the officers of the Senatus of Uganda. The Candle will be moved to all the dioceses in Uganda during the celebration of the Centenary of the Legion of Mary.

Legion of Mary Centenary Candle
The Bishop lighting the Centenary Candle

Centenary memorial tree

In memory of the Centenary, a tree was planted by Bishop Paul Ssemogerere at the Legion of Mary house in Nsambya Parish.

Legion of Mary Centenary Memorial tree in Uganda
Bishop planting the Centenary Memorial tree

Diocesan Celebrations

Each of the 19 Dioceses in Uganda should organise Mass of thanksgiving (with the Bishop in attendance, where possible) between September 2021 and September 2022. At that Mass, the souls of the departed legionaries from that diocese will be prayed for.

Comitia at the dioceses are requested to organise. For the dioceses without the Comitia, the Curia should organise otherwise a Praesidium at the diocese.

A Social and light refreshments served afterwards would mark the occasion.

Endeavor to notify the organising Committee or send an email to senatusofuganda@gmail.com regarding the preparations.

The Mass at the diocese will be the climax of the Centenary Celebrations.

The Centenary Inauguration and thanksgiving Mass recording is available on our youtube Channel this LINK. We shall prepare a few DVDs with the recording of the Mass.

Senatus of Uganda Officers
Senatus of Uganda Officers and some of the past Presidents

Speech by the President Senatus of Uganda at the Inauguration and thanksgiving of the Legion of Mary Centenary

  • My Lord Bishop Paul Ssemogerere, the main Celebrant
  • Rev. Fr. Joseph Balikuddembe, Parish Priest of Nsambya
  • Rev. Fr. Fredrick Tusingire, National Director of the Lay Apostolate Department at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat
  • Rev. Fr. Ronnie Mubiru, Assistant Spiritual Director of the Senatus of Uganda
  • All Spiritual Directors here present
  • Mr. Gervase Ndyanabo, the Chairman of the Laity in Uganda
  • Fellow Legionaries and all people of God gathered here and those listening and watching through the different media

Praise the Lord! Praise the lord! Praise the Lord.  This is the day the Lord has made for us to praise him, and to praise him in a very special way.  We are starting a year of joy, of celebration and of thanksgiving to God for what he has done amidst us. Legion of Mary has lived for 100 years in service to the Catholic Church.

Thank you, my Lord Bishop, for celebrating Mass for the Legion of Mary and the inspiring homily on this special occasion and our dear Spiritual Directors for co-celebrating.

We received a message from Sr. Mary Murphy, President of Concilium, the highest governing Council of Legion of Mary in the world. Allow me, my Lord Bishop, to deliver her message first.

(The message will be part of the Centenary Memorial Magazine)

My Lord Bishop,

I stand here together with my fellow officers (each introduces him/herself),

  • Rev. Fr. Ronnie Mubiru-Assistant Spiritual Director
  • Sr. Susan Mary Nsubuga-President
  • Br. Joseph Kirumira-Vice President
  • Sr. Vastina Makara-Secretary
  • Br. Nashaba Victor-1st Assistant Secretary
  • Br. Aloysious Kant Kaahwa-2nd Assistant Secretary
  • Sr. Helen Kisakye-Treasurer,

My Lord, I came with my fellow officers because in Legion of Mary we work as a team.

On behalf of the Senatus of Uganda, we convey our message of gratitude to God who has made it possible for the Legion of Mary apostolate to serve him and the Catholic Church for 100 years. We are grateful to God and to Mother Mary, our Queen for the numerous graces bestowed upon the apostolate during the first century. We congratulate the Catholic Church and Legion of Mary family world over upon reaching this Memorial Day.

Legion of Mary was started on 7th September 1921 by Frank Duff in Dublin, Ireland.  It is amazing to see this association which had the humblest beginnings become the largest lay apostolic movement in the world. We give glory to God.

In Uganda, Legion of Mary was introduced by Edel Quinn. She was welcomed in this very Parish, Nsambya on 22nd July 1938.  The apostolate has existed in Uganda for 83 years. The inauguration of the Centenary Celebrations is in the same Parish for purposes of following the footsteps of the Legion in this country. A special vote of thanks goes to Rev. Fr. Joseph Balikuddembe, the Parish Priest of Nsambya, for his warm welcome and assistance whenever we knock at his door.

Edel Quinn started the first Praesidium in Nkokonjeru in the present Lugazi Diocese. To date, Legion of Mary is found in almost all Dioceses of the Catholic Church in Uganda and has made steady growth in the Central and the Western parts of Uganda. It is found in Parishes, Schools, Institutions, Seminaries, Prisons, among the youth and the aged.

The Senatus of Uganda was inaugurated in 1962. It supervises 02 Regiae, 25 Comitia, 22 Curiae (Including 4 in Major Seminaries, 4 in other tertiary institutions and 3 in Prisons) and 14 directly attached Praesidia (Including 9 in Prisons) and South Sudan. We have approximately 400,000 members in Uganda.

Many activities have been held by the Senatus of Uganda like Spiritual Directors Conference both regional and National, National Reunions and the last one was in Tororo Archdiocese, visits made to different councils in and outside Uganda like to Zambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Burundi, Tanzania among others and we made a visit to Legion of Mary headquarters in Dublin, Ireland in 2007.

My Lord Bishop, I am happy to report that numerous graces have been received through this apostolate.  Through membership many people of all walks of life enlist in this Church’s evangelizing mission, gain unceasing knowledge about the Catholic faith and gain many more graces. Countless people have received sacraments with the help of Legionaries.

Special thanks go to the Church Hierarchy for the continuous guidance, support and encouragement we receive from Bishops and Priests. Each council of Legion of Mary in this country has a Spiritual Director. Without Spiritual Directors, Legion of Mary would not survive.

My Lord, we are grateful to you for opening your doors wide to welcome the Legionaries whenever we need your support and counsel as the Chairman of the Lay Apostolate Commission, the ordinary of Kasana-Luweero Diocese and Apostolic Administrator of Kampala.

We are grateful to Concilium for the guidance to councils all over the world and to all Legionaries for the tremendous work done in the last 100 years.

My Lord Bishop, we shall need more support to revive Legion of Mary among the youth in Schools and Institutions especially after the long period of inactivity due to the CoVID-19 scourge.

Legion of Mary in Uganda is what it is due to the work and support rendered by the different people represented by some of the past presidents of Senatus of Uganda here present. It is on their shoulders that we stand.

Some of these people have gone before us like our Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Expedito Walakira. At this moment I call upon each one of us to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of our dear fellow Legionaries who passed on (their names were registered and placed at the altar during Mass).

Eternal rest grant unto them oh Lord……………………

My Lord, the apostolate has had different challenges. As we inaugurate the Centenary of the Legion, the world is in fear and at tension because of the Corona Virus which invaded the world. This has greatly affected the Church, thus the Legion of Mary apostolate. Amidst the challenges, Mother Mary is interceding for the world.

As we celebrate 100 years of the Legion of Mary, my Lord, we report that as you already know, we face a challenge of sects which come up refereeing themselves as Legion of Mary yet they are not. They have origins in Kenya. These hinder the spread of the Legion of Mary. We request the Church authority to continuously remind the Christians of these differences between us and those that claim to be members of Legion of Mary yet they are not.

As we celebrate 100 years of the Legion, the Senatus of Uganda has not yet acquired headquarters. We have an Office at Mengo-Kisenyi Parish and monthly meetings are held at Bunamwaya Kiwumulo. We are however hoping and praying that we are allocated space to put up a Central Office to cater for Legion of Mary activities in the whole country.

Despite all challenges, we are very strong and on behalf of the Legion of Mary in Uganda, we continue to pledge loyalty and collaboration with the Church Authority as we continue to serve God.  We pray that at the end of the celebrations, Legionaries will be full of enthusiasm to start yet another Century. Our main focus during and after the Centenary celebrations is to extend and to strengthen the Legion of Mary in the Northern and eastern Uganda.

Lastly, we thank all people who have participated in this great event. We thank the organizing Committee, the Choir, Media, friends of the Legion for all your input.  May the dear Lord reward you abundantly.

We thank the officers of the different Councils and Praesidia for keeping the candle of Legion of Mary burning.

Wish you happy celebrations.

God bless you all.