Prayer and Reflection Highlight Acies of Mary Celebration
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
April 5, 2018
SOUTH BELOIT—Legion of Mary members from around the diocese gathered at St. Peter Parish, here for a morning of prayer and reflection to honor Mary. 
The annual Acies of Mary celebration included a rosary procession, prayer and Mass at which Legion of Mary members rededicated themselves to the Blessed Mother.
“We re-consecrate ourselves to Mary every year and pray for our world that it would be safeguarded from the forces of evil,” said Barb Olson, of St. James Parish in Belvidere. 
Olson is the president of the Rockford Diocese Legion of Mary Curia. She estimates that there are 65 members and 165 auxiliary members in the Legion of Mary for the diocese.
“Acies is a Latin word that means an army that is sent to battle,” Olson said. It is pronounced 
“There is a very real spiritual struggle going on in our world for the souls of the faithful,” Olson said.
 “Gathering together in the Acies celebration is a way for Legion of Mary members to rejuvenate themselves and stand as a witness to the power of prayer and dedication to Mary.”
Olson said that it is helpful to think of the word Acies as standing for Annual Consecration (of one’s) Interior, Exterior and Soul to Mary. 
Legion of Mary members celebrate the Acies after 33 days of preparation in which they undertake personal acts of service, prayer, good deeds and Scripture study. 
Legion of Mary members from Rockford, Belvidere, Aurora, McHenry, Woodstock and Wonder Lake participated in this year’s Acies. 
Father Steven Sabo, diocesan spiritual director for English speakers of the Legion of Mary and pastor of St. Peter Parish, presided at the Acies and celebrated Mass following the rosary procession and rededication of members. 
“You have found the short cut to Jesus which is through His mother, Mary,” Father Sabo said. “The Legion of Mary is all about encouraging each other and our Church to imitate the beautiful example of our mother Mary.”
Mary Rita McCarthy is a member of the Our Lady of the Holy Family chapter of the Legion of Mary at Holy Family Parish in Rockford. 
“Last year was my first year to attend an Acies,” she said, “and I love the process of growing closer to Mary. It’s such a meaningful devotion to pray for the intentions of our Church and our loved ones.”
A luncheon followed the Acies procession and Mass.