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St. Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr

August 14, 2021

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s Story

“I don’t know what’s going to become of you!” How many parents have said that? Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s reaction was, “I prayed very hard to Our Lady to tell me what would happen to me. She appeared, holding in her hands two crowns, one white, one red. She asked if I would like to have them—one was for purity, the other for martyrdom. I said, ‘I choose both.’ She smiled and disappeared.” After that he was not the same.

He entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans in Lvív–then Poland, now Ukraine– near his birthplace, and at 16 became a novice. Though Maximilian later achieved doctorates in philosophy and theology, he was deeply interested in science, even drawing plans for rocket ships.

Ordained at 24, Maximilian saw religious indifference as the deadliest poison of the day. His mission was to combat it. He had already founded the Militia of the Immaculata, whose aim was to fight evil with the witness of the good life, prayer, work, and suffering. He dreamed of and then founded Knight of the Immaculata, a religious magazine under Mary’s protection to preach the Good News to all nations. For the work of publication he established a “City of the Immaculata”—Niepokalanow—which housed 700 of his Franciscan brothers. He later founded another one in Nagasaki, Japan. Both the Militia and the magazine ultimately reached the one-million mark in members and subscribers. His love of God was daily filtered through devotion to Mary.

In 1939, the Nazi panzers overran Poland with deadly speed. Niepokalanow was severely bombed. Kolbe and his friars were arrested, then released in less than three months, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In 1941, Fr. Kolbe was arrested again. The Nazis’ purpose was to liquidate the select ones, the leaders. The end came quickly, three months later in Auschwitz, after terrible beatings and humiliations.

A prisoner had escaped. The commandant announced that 10 men would die. He relished walking along the ranks. “This one. That one.”

As they were being marched away to the starvation bunkers, Number 16670 dared to step from the line.

“I would like to take that man’s place. He has a wife and children.”
“Who are you?”
“A priest.”

No name, no mention of fame. Silence. The commandant, dumbfounded, perhaps with a fleeting thought of history, kicked Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek out of line and ordered Fr. Kolbe to go with the nine. In the “block of death” they were ordered to strip naked, and their slow starvation began in darkness. But there was no screaming—the prisoners sang. By the eve of the Assumption, four were left alive. The jailer came to finish Kolbe off as he sat in a corner praying. He lifted his fleshless arm to receive the bite of the hypodermic needle. It was filled with carbolic acid. They burned his body with all the others. Fr. Kolbe was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982.


Reflection

Father Kolbe’s death was not a sudden, last-minute act of heroism. His whole life had been a preparation. His holiness was a limitless, passionate desire to convert the whole world to God. And his beloved Immaculata was his inspiration.


Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe is the Patron Saint of:

Addicts
Drug addiction


franciscanmedia.org

St. Maximilian Kolbe Church
150 Black Point Road Scarborough, Maine

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Catholic Culture

Ordinary Time: August 14th

Memorial of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr

MASS READINGS

August 14, 2019 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor, graciously grant, through his intercession, that striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed, even until death, to your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Library (4)

» Enjoy our Liturgical Seasons series of e-books!

Old Calendar: Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Eusebius, confessor

Maximilian Mary Kolbe was born in Poland. He consecrated himself to the Lord in the Franciscan Order. Filled with love for the Virgin, he founded the Militia of the Immaculate Mary and, with his preaching and writing, undertook an intense apostolic mission in Europe and Asia. Imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Second World War, he offered himself in exchange for the father of a large family who was to be executed. He was given a lethal injection when he failed to die fast enough from starvation in the concentration camp. John Paul II proclaimed him the Patron of Our Suffering Century.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the feast of St. Eusebius is celebrated today. In the Ordinary Form his feast is celebrated on August 2.


St. Maximillian Kolbe
St. Maximilian, born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, Jan. 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.

Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917. In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanow, the “City of the Immaculata.” By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to an incredible 650, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world.

To better “win the world for the Immaculata,” the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques. This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Maximilian started a shortwave radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio–he was a true “apostle of the mass media.” He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide.

Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church’s understanding of Mary as “Mediatrix” of all the graces of the Trinity, and as “Advocate” for God’s people.

In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a “martyr of charity” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is considered a patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

Militia of the Immaculata

Patron: Drug addiction; drug addicts; families; imprisoned people; journalists; political prisoners; prisoners; pro-life movement.

Things to Do:

  • From the Catholic Culture library, read The Holy Spirit and Mary, an explanation of St. Maximillian’s Marian theology and Maximillian Kolbe, Apostle of Mary by Fr. John Hardon.
  • Offer a Mass, say a rosary for those who suffer in the world today from man’s inhumanity. Pray for an end to abortion, our nation’s own holocaust. Read about Auschwitz and ponder the modern gas chambers in every state of our Union and resolve to do all that you can to end the killing.

 


 

The Word Among Us

Meditation: Matthew 18:15-2

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (Memorial)

Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

We often associate today’s Gospel reading with intercession. We find great comfort in knowing that Jesus is with us even when only a few of us gather to pray for people! But there is more going on here than intercession. If you look at the stories that surround this passage, you can see that Jesus is talking about another particular time when he is present with us: when we come together to repair relationships.

You can imagine Jesus needing to teach his followers about how to handle wounded relationships. After all, they were ordinary human beings like us. They bickered over who was the greatest, they disagreed about who did the most work, and they surely rubbed each other the wrong way at times. So Jesus wanted to teach them how to get reconciled.

It’s hard to talk about what we’ve done wrong. It’s even harder to bring up a wrong done to us and do it in a loving and humble way. And it’s hardest of all to forgive and start anew. We need God’s grace to begin this process at all, and we really need his help to do it well. That’s why Jesus promised to be with his disciples—with us—whenever we gather to do the hard work of rebuilding a relationship wounded by sin or weakness.

You can probably think of a relationship in your life that could use some fixing right now. Maybe you feel that it’s time to take the first step and reach out. That might well be the Holy Spirit.

Jesus longs to see his children forgiving one another just as he forgave us. He is so dedicated to our reconciliation that he promises to be with us every step of the way. When you’re holding the phone and trying to muster up the courage to call, he is there to help you do it. When you’re sitting down together for that difficult conversation, he is there to give you loving words and grace to listen well. When things get tense, he is there to give you self-control and compassion. He is there to work miracles every time we try to choose unity over division!

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace and reconciliation.”

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17

 


Regnum Christi

August 14, 2019 – Tough Moments

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Matthew 18: 15-20

Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Introductory Prayer: Father, thank you for this time of prayer. Help me to be attentive to the inspirations of your Holy Spirit. This day may be filled with many challenges and activities but throughout them all I invite you to be with me.

Petition: Lord, help me to me an instrument of your peace.

  1. If Your Brother Sins Against You: Catholic life is filled with many peaks and valleys. The Church’s soul is the Holy Spirit, but the body’s members can be less than saintly. At times, people can be scandalized by the “humanity” of the Church. “Isn’t he a Catholic? How can he do that?” Jesus, however, was not surprised, and we find him in the Gospel today outlining a procedure to deal with sinful behavior. Our love for the Church is realistic: Jesus came to save sinners; we can’t be surprised when we encounter sin. But realism isn’t cynical. We know that God is infinitely more powerful than our sinfulness. “Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).
  1. Fraternal Correction: Very often the sin that we encounter in the Church is right under our own roof. Fraternal correction can be a duty of charity; however, if we relish the thought, that’s a bad sign. We need to purify our intention of wounded pride or any thought of payback. Our motive must be to truly help the other person. Part of this is the desire to be effective, and this means doing things the right way. Going public is not the first step, as the Lord makes clear. By quietly seeking reconciliation we can do much to bring healing to our relationships.
  1. The Power of Prayer: Interpersonal conflicts can be among the heaviest crosses that we bear. When the hurts and the slights have accumulated beyond counting and forgiveness is either hard to give or hard to obtain, what is there left to do? The Lord tells us: Pray! Get others to pray with us and for us. “Where two or three are gathered in my name.…” The Lord wants to act in and through our prayer. As Catholics who believe in the gospels, we know that miracles happen. Sometimes it may seem that only a miracle will bring about reconciliation. Miracles will come only to those who ask for them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you taught us to gather together in prayer. Grant your Church greater unity and charity. Help us to help each other. Give us the humility to be open to correction. I believe that your love will triumph!

Resolution: I will pray fervently before correcting anyone.

 

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Homily of the Day

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

The fidelity of God is shown in the Gospel reading: “For where two or three are gathered in my Name, I am there among them.” God shows his presence where fellows reconcile with each other. Where fellows unite in prayer and in action. Christ promises his presence in the Church when members gather and pray together.

As members of Christ’s Church each one of us has the responsibility to be a shepherd to one another; each of us is accountable to one another, “If your brother or sister has sinned against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” It would be good if we can reconcile by ourselves; only if we cannot, do we involve others and the greater Church community.

We live in an imperfect world; we ourselves are imperfect. There will be conflicts among us. Somehow these conflicts should be resolved. Jesus offers us simple practical guides on how to resolve conflicts. And, more important, Jesus assures us of his abiding presence and help. Let us therefore pray to be able to talk to and respect one another and, when there are conflicts, to have the courage and perseverance to resolve them, knowing God is with us.


Stained glass in Our Lady of Czestochowa Grotto (Sorrowful Mother Shrine) | photo by NheyobImage: Stained glass in Our Lady of Czestochowa Grotto (Sorrowful Mother Shrine) | photo by Nheyob

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Saint of the Day for August 14

(January 8, 1894August 14, 1941)

 

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s Story

“I don’t know what’s going to become of you!” How many parents have said that? Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s reaction was, “I prayed very hard to Our Lady to tell me what would happen to me. She appeared, holding in her hands two crowns, one white, one red. She asked if I would like to have them—one was for purity, the other for martyrdom. I said, ‘I choose both.’ She smiled and disappeared.” After that he was not the same.

He entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans in Lvív–then Poland, now Ukraine– near his birthplace, and at 16 became a novice. Though Maximilian later achieved doctorates in philosophy and theology, he was deeply interested in science, even drawing plans for rocket ships.

Ordained at 24, Maximilian saw religious indifference as the deadliest poison of the day. His mission was to combat it. He had already founded the Militia of the Immaculata, whose aim was to fight evil with the witness of the good life, prayer, work, and suffering. He dreamed of and then founded Knight of the Immaculata, a religious magazine under Mary’s protection to preach the Good News to all nations. For the work of publication he established a “City of the Immaculata”—Niepokalanow—which housed 700 of his Franciscan brothers. He later founded another one in Nagasaki, Japan. Both the Militia and the magazine ultimately reached the one-million mark in members and subscribers. His love of God was daily filtered through devotion to Mary.

In 1939, the Nazi panzers overran Poland with deadly speed. Niepokalanow was severely bombed. Kolbe and his friars were arrested, then released in less than three months, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In 1941, Fr. Kolbe was arrested again. The Nazis’ purpose was to liquidate the select ones, the leaders. The end came quickly, three months later in Auschwitz, after terrible beatings and humiliations.

A prisoner had escaped. The commandant announced that 10 men would die. He relished walking along the ranks. “This one. That one.”

As they were being marched away to the starvation bunkers, Number 16670 dared to step from the line.

“I would like to take that man’s place. He has a wife and children.”
“Who are you?”
“A priest.”

No name, no mention of fame. Silence. The commandant, dumbfounded, perhaps with a fleeting thought of history, kicked Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek out of line and ordered Fr. Kolbe to go with the nine. In the “block of death” they were ordered to strip naked, and their slow starvation began in darkness. But there was no screaming—the prisoners sang. By the eve of the Assumption, four were left alive. The jailer came to finish Kolbe off as he sat in a corner praying. He lifted his fleshless arm to receive the bite of the hypodermic needle. It was filled with carbolic acid. They burned his body with all the others. Fr. Kolbe was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982.


Reflection

Father Kolbe’s death was not a sudden, last-minute act of heroism. His whole life had been a preparation. His holiness was a limitless, passionate desire to convert the whole world to God. And his beloved Immaculata was his inspiration.


Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe is the Patron Saint of:

Addicts
Drug addiction


Click here to read more about Saint Maximilian Kolbe!


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Maximilian Kolbe’s Story Shows us Why Sainthood is Still Meaningful
St. Maximillan Kolbe ~ pray for us, on this your feast day August 14th ~
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Maximillian Kolbe, Apostle of Mary [Catholic Caucus]
Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s ‘Secret’ Weapon (Catholic Caucus)
[Father Maximillian Mary] Kolbe, Saint of Auschwitz
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Poland: Auschwitz martyr Kolbe remembered
The Man Who Stepped Out of Line (St. Maximilian Kolbe and Christian Masculinity)
St. Maximilian Kolbe VOLUNTEERED To Be Starved To Death; Terri Schiavo Did NOT
St Maximilian Kolbe-Priest, Martyr, Saint
August 14 – Memorial, St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe
Blessed[Saint]Maximilian Kolbe-Priest Hero Of A Death

Details

Date:
August 14, 2021