THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARTYRDOM OF ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE
(1941 – August 14 – 2021)
Dear M.I. Members,
As the Covid-19 pandemic winds down in North America, we remember in prayer those who contracted the illness, those who continue to suffer from the virus and those, over four million persons worldwide, who have died on account of the disease. In a special way, we give thanks to the Lord for the sacrifices made by heroic front-line health care and other essential workers who risked, and even lost, their lives to protect us over these eighteen months. After the example of Christ, who laid down his life for us, these dear souls came to know and embody the love of God by laying down their lives for others (see 1 Jn 3).
This year, we commemorate the 80th anniversary of another heroic act of sacrificial love. On August 14, 1941, St. Maximilian Kolbe was martyred after he had volunteered to take the place of Franciszek Gajwoniczek, the father of a family and a prisoner condemned to die at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Even as Father Kolbe awaited a sure death with fellow prisoners in the starvation bunker, he repeated to them what might be called his axiom for life, “Hatred destroys; love alone creates.” How could he have come to know and live the depths of such love other than through his total consecration to the Immaculate Mother of God? After all, Mary is the creature most completely filled with this love, united as She is to the Holy Spirit as His Spouse. Indeed, the Mother of Jesus, who is Love, is also fittingly venerated as Our Lady of Charity. Molded as an instrument in the hands of the Immaculate, Maximilian’s consecration to Mary was not an end in itself but, rather, a means through Mary of leading all souls to the very source of love, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The zeal with which Father Maximilian proclaimed the Kingdom of Christ’s Sacred Heart ultimately merited for him the martyr’s crown as, for the first time in the Church’s history, Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Maximilian Kolbe for his ultimate witness as a martyr, not in defense of the faith, but in the living out of supernatural charity.
To commemorate the 80th anniversary of St. Maximilian’s martyrdom, the Militia of the Immaculate of Our Lady of the Angels Province is sponsoring the first annual pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 30, 2022. This will also be a time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of St. Maximilian’s canonization (October 10, 1982). So please organize, involve your friars and pastors, drive in groups or rent a bus and come to join us for this special Marian pilgrimage and Mass. Individual groups may plan and schedule their own activities both before and after the Saturday festivities. We look forward to seeing you!
August 14, 2021
Friar Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv.
Our Lady of the Angels Province M.I. Assistant
Be sure to mark your calendars and check back as more information will follow about the First Annual Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington D.C., on Saturday, April 30, 2022.