Franciscans Honor Saint of Auschwitz with Relic Tour
Commemorating 75th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s martyrdom,
Friars proclaim legacy of this modern saint.
Ellicott City, MD, January 15, 2016—To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan who died in the World War II concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, the Franciscan Friars Conventual of the Our Lady of the Angels Province, are sponsoring a pilgrimage of St. Maximilian’s relics.
The largest tour of his relics ever mounted in the United States, this pilgrimage of St. Maximilian’s relics will start on January 15 at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, Maryland, and will visit 38 ministry sites along the east coast and Canada. The pilgrimage of St. Maximilian’s relics concludes with a closing ceremony at the Shrine of St. Anthony on St. Maximilian’s feast day, August 14.
Crafted from bronze and silver and presenting different symbols from his life, the beautiful reliquary houses strands from Maximilian’s beard. Describing the value of relics to contemporary believers, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Minister Provincial of the Our Lady of the Angels Province, says, “Relics remind us that saints were real human beings with hair, skin, bones and blood. We venerate relics to connect with the real person behind them – now proclaimed by the Church to be in Heaven, from where he or she remains interested and involved in our lives.” Each visit will include a liturgy, opportunities for veneration, and materials for further prayer and study.
In his lifetime St. Maximilian established the Militia Immaculata (MI), an evangelization movement identifying with Mary, the Immaculate, founded “Cities of the Immaculata” in Poland and Japan, and published countless religious works, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000, and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Arrested by the Gestapo in 1941 and transferred to Auschwitz, Fr. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of an innocent husband and father who was scheduled to be killed by the Nazis. Still alive after two weeks of starvation, Fr. Kolbe was injected with a lethal dose of phenol on August 14, 1941.
Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a “Martyr of Charity” and “Patron Saint of our difficult century” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron saint of prisoners, journalists, families, the pro-life movement, and the chemically addicted.
Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., Provincial Assistant to the MI, says “As Christians, we are called to reveal God’s love by our concrete actions. In our day, St. Maximilian’s martyrdom at Auschwitz is a preeminent manifestation of that.” Following up on what his confrere said, Fr. McCurry added, “His relevance to people in the 21st century lies in his validation that love conquers hate, and goodness will ultimately triumph over evil.”
The complete pilgrimage itinerary is as follows:
The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City ~ January 15-17 (Opening Ceremonies)
Provincial House (Portiuncula Friary), Ellicott City ~ January 18-21
St. Casimir Church, Baltimore ~ January 22-25
St. Wenceslaus Church, Baltimore ~ January 29-31
Archbishop Curley High School, (Students Only) Baltimore ~ February 2-4
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore ~ February 5-12
St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Church, Baltimore ~ February 13-15
WASHINGTON DC AREA
The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC ~ February 17-21
Post Novitiate (St. Bonaventure Friary), Silver Spring, MD ~ February 22-24
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Burlington ~ February 27-29
Holy Cross Catholic Church, Durham ~ March 4-6
Newman Catholic Student Center Parish, UNC at Chapel Hill ~ March 7-9
Iglesia Catolica de St. Julia (Catholic Church), Siler City ~ March 11-13
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Winston-Salem ~ March 15-18
UPSTATE NEW YORK and CANADA
St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, Athol Springs, NY ~ May 20-22
St. Francis High School, Athol Springs, NY ~ May 24-26
The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure, Toronto, ON ~ May 27-29
The Church of St. John Apostle and Holy Family, Kingston, ON ~ May 30 – June 2
The Franciscan Church of the Assumption, Syracuse, NY ~ June 3-5
National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, Fonda, NY ~ June 10-12
Sisters of the Resurrection, Castleton, NY ~ June 13-15
Return to MASSACHUSETTS
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, New Bedford ~ July 8-10
NEW YORK CITY, NY
St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church, Elmhurst ~ July 15-17
San Damiano Mission, Brooklyn ~ July 18-20
The Roman Catholic Community of Most Holy Trinity-St. Mary, Brooklyn ~ July 22-24
Return to MARYLAND
The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City ~ August 14 (Closing Ceremonies)