Legion of Mary: Pilgrimage for Christ to Farmington, N.M.

October 14, 2014

HOUSTON — On Sept. 7, nine Legion of Mary members from the Houston area, accompanied by Father Alvaro Interiano, parochial vicar at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, as team spiritual director, ventured to Farmington, N.M., to offer the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people at their door steps by the invitation of Father Frank Chacon, pastor, and Deacon Frank Chavez of St Mary’s Church. The group, joined by clergy and local legionaries, knocked at the doors of 1,038 homes, sharing the beauty of the Catholic faith, inviting Catholics to come home, and spreading friendship and faith. 

Door-to-door visits are a regular ministry of the Legion of Mary, and part of what is known as a Peregrinatio Pro Christo (PPC). Home visits are conducted in pairs, in areas chosen by the pastor. After explaining they are visiting on behalf of the church pastor and welcoming people to visit the local parish, the conversation is left wide open with the intent to meet people where they are in their lives and to direct people to a growth in faith. Topics range from explaining aspects of the Catholic faith to listening to someone about a family or personal hardship, or unifying conversations with people of other faiths. 

Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary, said of the visits, “There must be nothing of the controversial, nothing overbearing. Every word must breathe humility, affection, sincerity... they will seldom be seriously resented and will never fail to leave a deep impression.” (Legion of Mary Handbook, Ch. 40, p. 315) 

The Pillar Fire/Pillar of Truth booklet about the Catholic faith, rosaries, miraculous medals, other literature and prayer cards are offered at each home, depending on the situation. The visits usually conclude with prayer and the resident often entrusts the legionaries with very personal prayer requests. The parish follows up on specific encountered needs, such as anointing of a sick, interest in the RCIA program, desire to talk with a priest, etc. 

The visits in Farmington provided many amazing shared experiences. One visit encountered a young man, baptized Catholic but no longer attending. He was so happy when he saw a miraculous medal shining in the packet the legionaries offered him, as he said he had lost a miraculous medal just the week before that his grandmother had given him! He, of course, was also offered an invitation to return to the Church. 

On another visit, a struggling young man expressed, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence you are here,” and said he had been thinking of returning to the Church. He answered the door at his brother’s home. With an evangelical Christian family, the group prayed for their two children and unborn child and that God would lead them to become the people they were meant to be. The mother was very touched, as she said she had never had anyone pray for family before. Additionally, Father Alvaro’s presence gave people the opportunity to receive a blessing and to have their home blessed. The PPC experience led to a growth in faith for all involved. 

PPC’s from Houston were first established in 1995 under the spiritual direction of the late Monsignor Francis G. Wearden, when the first team was sent to Chihuahua, Mexico. Other destinations have included Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and in 2012 Dublin, Ireland, the birthplace of the Legion of Mary. Regular door-to-door visits are conducted locally. 

To learn more about PPCs or the Legion of Mary, contact Legion of Mary president, Sharon Reese at sfmreese@sbcglobal.net.