Designated in the Gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” St. John appears therein as the model of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Faithful to the end, he clung to that Heart till he saw it stilled and pierced in death. Afterwards, he is manifested as the model of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
No saint has played a greater part in the development of the Legion than he. The handbook is full of his spirit. The prayers re-echo his very words. He is really the tutor of the Legion: thus invocation is due to him by the Legion almost as a matter of moral obligation. He was canonised on 20 July, 1947, and his feast occurs on 28 April.
“Although the prince of all the heavenly court, St. Michael is the most zealous in honouring Mary and causing her to be honoured, while he waits always in expectation that he may have the honour to go at her bidding to render service to some one of her servants.” (St. Augustine)
In some of the liturgies St. Gabriel and St. Michael are jointly hailed as: champions and princes, leaders of the heavenly army; captains of the angels; servants of the divine glory; guardians and guides of human creatures. St. Gabriel is the Angel of the Annunciation.
“Mary is the general of the armies of God. The angels form the most glorious troops of her who is terrible as an army set in battle array!” (Boudon: The Angels.)
From the first, the angels were invoked in the Legion prayers. Every legionary, active and auxiliary, has a guardian angel who fights blow for blow at his side.
St. John The Baptist is more intimately bound up with the devotional scheme of the Legion than any of its other patrons, with the exception of St. Joseph. (a) He was the type of all legionaries, that is, a forerunner of the Lord, going before him to prepare his way and make straight his paths.
“St. Peter, as prince of the apostles, is pre-eminently the patron for an apostolic organisation. He was the first Pope, but stands for all the illustrious line of Pontiffs, and for the present Holy Father. In invoking St. Peter, we express once again a Legion’s loyalty to Rome, the centre of our faith, the source of authority, discipline, unity.” (Decision of the Legion placing St. Peter’s name in the list of invocations.)