The Acies

Senatus of Uganda will hold its Acies at St. Balikeddembe, Mengo-Kisenyi Parish on March 25, 2021 for directly attached Praesidia. Please make sure to save the date so that you can attend.  Attendance is required for active members; auxiliaries are also invited.

Handbook on Acies

Bearing in mind the importance of devotion to Mary in the Legion system, each year there shall be a consecration of legionaries to Our Lady.

The consecration – which shall comprise both an individual and a collective consecration –will take place on the 25 March or on a day close thereto, and will be known as the Acies.

This Latin word, meaning as it does an army ranged in battle array, is appropriate to a ceremony in which the legionaries as a body assemble to renew their fealty to Mary, Queen of the Legion, and from her to receive strength and blessing for yet another year’s battle with the forces of evil. Moreover, the word is in effective contrast with praesidium, which contemplates the Legion, no longer drawn up in united array, but split up into its various sections, each engaged in its own particular sphere of duty.

The Acies is the great central annual function of the Legion, so that it is necessary to stress the importance of attendance on the part of every member. The essential idea of the Legion, upon which all else is built, is that of working in union with and in dependence on Mary, its Queen. The Acies is the solemn expression of that union and dependence, the renewal-individual and collective-of the legionary declaration of fealty. Hence it is manifest that any legionaries who can attend, and yet fail to do so, have little or none of the spirit of the Legion in them. The membership of such persons is not an asset to the Legion.

The following is the procedure:-
On the day fixed for the ceremony, the legionaries shall assemble – if possible in a church. At a convenient spot is placed a statue of the Immaculate Conception, suitably decorated with flowers and candles. In front of the statue will stand a large-size replica of the Legion vexillum, which is described in chapter 27.

The proceedings commence with a hymn, followed by the opening prayers of the Legion including the Rosary. An address by a priest on the significance of the consecration to Our Lady follows. Then the procession towards the statue begins. The Spiritual Directors go first in single file.

Then the legionaries, also singly, except in the case of great numbers when they may advance in pairs. On reaching the vexillum, each one (or each pair) pauses; then, placing the hand upon the staff of the vexillum, he repeats vocally, as an individual act of consecration, the following words: “I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours.” This done, the vexillum is relinquished, the legionary bows slightly and passes on. If the number of legionaries is large, the making of the individual act of consecration will occupy some time, but the impressiveness of the ceremony will gain rather than lose by that fact. It will help if an organ be played during the procession of the legionaries to and from the statue.

It would not be in order to use more than one vexillum. Such expedient would shorten the proceedings, but it would destroy their unity. Moreover, the note of haste would be discordant. The special characteristic of the Acies should be its order and dignity.
When all legionaries have resumed their places, an act of consecration to Our Lady is said aloud by the priest on behalf of all present. Following this, the Catena is recited, all present standing. Then follows, if at all possible, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament; after which the concluding prayers of the Legion are recited, a hymn is sung, and the Acies terminates. It would be in order, of course, to have Holy Mass celebrated on the occasion of the Acies, in place of the Benediction, the other details of the ceremony remaining the same. The Celebration of the Paschal Mystery would absorb into itself and present to the Eternal Father, through the “one Mediator” and in the Holy Spirit, all the consecrations and spiritual offerings which are placed in the maternal hands of “the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord.” (LG 61)

The above formula of consecration: “I am all yours, etc.” should not be mechanically or thoughtlessly pronounced. Each one should compress into it the fullest degree of understanding and gratitude. As a help towards this, he should study A Marian Synthesis, appendix 11. This endeavors to set forth the unique part played by Mary in
salvation, and accordingly the extent of each one’s debt to her. Perhaps the Synthesis could be made the subject of the spiritual reading and of the Allocutio at a praesidium meeting shortly before the Acies. It is suggested that it be also used as the collective act of consecration at the ceremony itself.

Since the Handbook says, “The Acies is the great central annual function of the Legion,” and since the Handbook says, “it is manifest that any legionaries who can attend, and yet fail to do so, have little or none of the spirit of the Legion in them. The membership of such persons is not an asset to the Legion.” It is clear that there is great importance in informing all active members of the Legion of Mary about the Acies.  It is also very important to invite Auxiliary members to the Acies.

Key points to note

  1. Consult your Spiritual Director as you set the day for the Acies. Confirm with the main Celebrate on all the arrangements prior to the function (Especially as regards to the Consecration and Marian Synthesis, Appendix 11).
  2. This year, 25th March is followed by Holy Week. We suggest you find an appropriate date before the Holy week.
  3. All Praesidia once informed, make an effort to make sure that each and every member is informed of the arrangement.
  4. For my guidance, read this document that is in English.