103rd Anniversary of the Founding of the M.I.

As we are about to celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the Militia of the Immaculate by our Franciscan confrère, St. Maximilian Kolbe, I am happily recalling the M.I. Initiative carried out over the last sixteen months in the Franciscan parishes of Our Lady of the Angels Province. Although Covid-19 has interrupted the tour, I was able to visit 22 of our 39 parishes to promote consecration to the Immaculate and enrollment in the M.I. My heart still swells with joy when I think of the enthusiastic congregations who warmly embraced the Initiative and, then, the thousands who decided to make the act of total consecration to Mary and enroll in the M.I.

In contemplating the anniversary of the M.I during this pandemic, I could not help but think back to the 1918-1920 flu pandemic which, like Covid-19, was also driven by a respiratory virus. One of the worst pandemics in human history, its four waves infected 500 million people, a third of the world’s population at the time. Sadly, according to the estimates, the virus took the lives of between 17 and 50 million people. St. Maximilian was ordained a Franciscan priest in Rome on April 28, 1918, during the pandemic’s first wave, and he celebrated his first Christmas as a priest in Rome just as the second and worst wave of the pandemic ended. He returned to Poland in July of 1919 just after the third wave and he was teaching in Krakow during the pandemic’s fourth and final wave in 1920. According to the statistics, the pandemic claimed 466,000 victims in Italy and between 200,000 and 300,00 in Poland. Nevertheless, upon examining St. Maximilian’s letters and other writings, I could not find any references or reflections on the tragic losses caused by the pandemic. This was all the more surprising given that, since his 1917 diagnosis, St. Maximilian was suffering from tuberculosis, an underlying condition whose side effects include difficulty breathing.

At the same time, however, we cannot lose sight of St. Maximilian’s intense focus and sense of mission already animated by an ardent love of the Lord and His Blessed Mother. Having founded the M.I. in 1917 to combat the evils present in the world, St. Maximilian intended by the consecration or entrustment to the Immaculate that he and, indeed, all M.I. members would offer themselves totally to the Blessed Mother as instruments in Her hands to bring about the salvation of all and thereby lead them ever closer to the source of Love, the Sacred Heart. Although St. Maximilian’s writings do not contain direct references to the 1918 flu pandemic, it is curious that, when Father Maximilian celebrated Christmas Mass that year, he noted in the Mass register the following intention: Pro amore usque ad victimam (For love even unto victimhood). By “victimhood” Father Maximilian may well have intended the lengths to which he was committed to sacrifice for the work of the Immaculate but I believe it is also possible that St. Maximilian thought for a moment, “If, in pursuit of Love, I fall victim, even as a result of the pandemic, then so be it.” Thus, his apostolic zeal was already heroic, standing him in good stead for his battle with the evil of Nazism he would later experience in Poland and, especially, at Auschwitz.

As we celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the M.I., I send you all my warmest greetings of peace and every good. May St. Maximilian pray for us, through the Immaculate, to Our Lord for the grace that the Covid-19 pandemic cease, that the sick regain their health and that those who have died may rest in peace.

~Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv.
Our Lady of the Angels Province M.I. Assistant

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Consecration to the Immaculate

April 17-18, 2021
Baltimore, MD (St. Casimir Church)

April 24-25, 2021
Baltimore, MD (St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church)

May 1-2. 2021
Siler City, NC (St. Julia Catholic Community)

May 4, 2021
Chapel Hill, NC (Newman Catholic Student Center Parish)

May 8-9, 2021
Durham, NC (Holy Cross Catholic Church)

June 19-20, 2021
Trevorton & Coal Township, PA (St. Patrick Parish & Our Lady of Hope Parish)

June 26-17, 2021
Shamokin, PA (Mother Cabrini Catholic Church)

July 10-11, 2021
Johnstown, PA (St. Francis of Assisi Parish)

July 13, 2021
Dysart, PA (St. Augustine Church)

July 15, 2021
Chest Springs, PA (St. Monica Parish)

July 17-18, 2021
Hooversville, PA (Holy Family Parish)

August 7-8, 2021
Winston-Salem, NC (Our Lady of Fatima Mission & Our Lady of Mercy Church)

August 14-15, 2021
Burlington, NC (Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community)

September 11-12, 2021
New Bedford, MA (Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church)

September 18-19, 2021
Chicopee, MA (St. Anthony of Padua Parish)

October 9-10, 2021
Kensington, CT (St. Paul Catholic Church)

October 16-17, 2021
Cromwell, CT (St. John Catholic Church)

Notes: Follow the parish links for Mass time.
This provisional schedule for 2021 is subject to change.

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The Immaculate Concepton: Principal Patroness of the Order for 300 Years

The following article has been shared by our Province Delegate to the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.) ~ Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv.:

From our Order’s Website: “300 Years as the Principal Patroness of the Order”

On May 7, 2020 the Order marked three hundred years since the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, was declared the principal patroness of our Order. That declaration was made by decree of the 156th General Chapter (May 1719) and approved by Pope Clement XI on May 7, 1720. To celebrate this significant anniversary, our new General, Friar Carlos Trovarelli, presided at a Mass in Rome at the Basilica of Santi Apostoli, still closed because of Covid-19. After the Mass, Friar Carlos renewed “today and forever” (oggi e per sempre) the consecration of the entire Order to the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoked under the title of the Immaculate Conception (see the Order’s website for the beautifully detailed prayer of entrustment).

The Order’s Communications Office recounts that what occasioned this joyous commemoration was a letter which our General received from one of the oldest friars in the Order, Friar Oreste Casaburo (age 94) of the Neapolitan province. In a letter to the General, Friar Oreste reported that he had made a happy discovery last year when he found an article by St. Maximilian Kolbe, entitled “Two Hundred Years Ago” (see The Writings of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, 1271).

In the article, which was written in Japan in May 1934, Friar Maximilian explained that, at the conclusion of the 156th General Chapter in Rome, it was decided to raise up and establish the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Principal Patroness of the Order. The newly elected General, Friar Carlo Giuseppe Romilli of Bergamo, Italy, together with his definitory, decreed:

Since its origin and throughout its history, the Order of Friars Minor Conventual has surrounded the Conception of the Blessed Virgin with special manifestations of devotion. Therefore in the footsteps of their fathers, the Venerable Definitory has decreed to establish the Blessed Virgin, under the title of Immaculate Conception, as their main Patroness, in the firmest hope that more and more every day in our Order, devotion and veneration toward the Mother of God and toward the mystery of her Immaculate Conception increase and develop.”

Our Communications Office stated that, in his letter, Friar Oreste underscored: “In Father Kolbe’s day, it was 200 years, now it is 300 years, three centuries.” He invited the Minister General to seize the occasion: “Given this curious but happy coincidence, the idea popped into my head of asking if you might not address to us a few words of comfort during this bitter “virus” situation by way of a “Franciscan prayer” to the Virgin, entrusting your apostles and sons to Her, as our Seraphic Father, St. Francis, once did.” It was very soon after receiving Friar Oreste’s letter that our 120th Minister General decided to accept the proposal and renew forever the consecration of the Order to the Immaculate Conception. The Communications Office ended its report stating: “Once again we encounter the tradition of the Order; we hope and trust in the protection and guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Cf. Constitutions, art. 1, §§ 6-7).”

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May 1- Video Consecration to Mary

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Friday May 1st, the bishops of the United States and Canada are going to reconsecrate our countries to Mary, Mother of The Church. Here at the shine will be doing the same. First, we will be praying the Rosary together with each of the five decades in a different language, reflecting the cultural diversity of our fraternity and public ministry. Secondly, we will pray together the consecration prayer, lifting up our country, our states, counties, cities, and all our people to Mary, Mother of the Church. Please join us. The video will be posted on the front page of our website on Friday, May 1st for on-demand viewing.
Change the narrative! Stay close to the Lord and his holy Mother…  and St. Anthony!
We continue to pray for all of you. Please send us your prayer intentions or light a candle by going to the “worship” tab on our website.
May the Lord give you peace.
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Consecration to the Immaculate

Since May 2019, in an effort to more fully tap into our Kolbean heritage (Franciscan charism and tradition of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the example of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. and the continued efforts of his Militia of the Immaculata’s “M.I.” unconditional consecration to the Immaculate), Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., who serves as our Province M.I. Assistant, had been on an M.I. Initiative Tour of our pastoral ministries.
Friar Jobe has had to postpone the 2020 stops for April and May because of the pandemic limitations, including the closure of the US – Canada (where he resides) Border. He hopes to be able to do resume a new schedule, in June. If he is able to do so, it will be released and published on this site.

Together, let us continue to pray:

USCCB Prayer Resources for the Coronavirus Crisis

 

 

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Consecration to the Immaculate

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Consecration to the Immaculate

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Consecration to the Immaculate

St. Anne Catholic Church, Columbus, GA
On the weekend of March 14-15, 2020 the M.I. Initiative promoting consecration to the Immaculate and enrollment in the Militia of the Immaculate made its 20th stop at St. Anne Catholic Church, in Columbus, GA.  Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, attendance at the four Masses was limited but over 1400 of the faithful followed the celebrations on live stream. The friars of Franciscan Martyrs Friary (Columbus, GA): Fr. Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. (Guardian and Pastor of St. Anne’s), Fr. Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv. (Pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Parish where the MI Tour plans to visit on March 19th as Tour Stop #21), Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv. (Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church where the MI Tour plans to visit on the weekend of March 21-22nd as Tour Stop #22), Fr. Manny Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar of St. Anne’s & Campus Ministry Chaplain at Columbus State University), and Fr. Paul Pantiru, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar of St. Anne’s) are joyfully hosting their confrere, Fr. Jobe, as he visits their Columbus pastoral ministries. The parishioners pf St. Anne’s were very appreciative in welcoming our M.I. Initiative as well. Some are seen below in the photo taken just before they worked on disinfecting the pews and doors before the next Mass.

Friar Jobe (top center) & Friar Robert (front center), who also headed up the work crew, is pictured along with the parish volunteers who volunteered to keep the church disinfected and clean for the next Mass.

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Relics of St. Maximilian ~ Philippines Pilgrimage

Most of the friar priests and brothers of the Custody with Bishop Pabillo holding the relic, Friar Jobe on his right and the Filipino custos, Fr. Francis Victor Mateo, OFM Conv. on his left. On the left end of the row of concelebrants is also Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Eric de la Pena, OFM Conv., who was home on vacation with family.

At the invitation of the Custos and Definitory of the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception and Bl. Bonaventure of Potenza in the Philippines of the Province of Seraphic Father St. Francis in Italy, the relics of St. Maximilian Kolbe were brought by Our Lady of the Angels Province friar ~ Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. to the Philippines for a two-week (February 4-18, 2020) Pilgrimage to our confrere’s friaries and parishes.

The first stop highlight was at the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Manila Cathedral, where the relics were welcomed by hundreds of faithful at a Mass at which the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, His Excellency Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D. presided and gave the homily. His Eminience, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle had intended to preside but was called to Rome to head the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Follow the rest of the tour via the Facebook Page of the Philippines Custody, including the second stop St. Maximilian M. Kolbe Parish (Quezon City) and Mass with the Bishop of Novaliches, His Excellency, Most Rev. Roberto Orendain GAA, D.D. This second stop highlight was held at the only parish in the Philippines that bears St. Maximilian’s name. The friars have been entrusted with that parish. On Sunday, February 9th, the relics of St. Maximilian were warmly welcomed at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Novaliches. Together with many concelebrating friars, Bishop Gaa, presided at the liturgy before a packed and enthusiastic congregation.

His Excellency, Most Rev. Roberto Orendain Gaa, D.D. (top left) next to Friar Jobe, and many of the local friars, including the Provincial Custos, Friar Francis Victor and the pastor of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe Parish ~ Friar Linus Bacayan, OFM Conv. holding the reliquary

 

The third stop highlight is an important one recalling the visit Maximilian made to the pontifical delegate on May 30, 1936 at the Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat of the Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation, of Monte Serrato, in Manila. On Monday, February 11th, the relics of St. Maximilian were joyously received by the abbot and monks of Our Lady of Montserrat Abbey. The friars traveling with the reliquary were welcomed by San Beda Rt. Rev. Dom Austin P. Cadiz, OSB (8th Abbot of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat) with hospitably offered meals and accommodation for the two days that the relics were venerated in the abbey church. The stop was made to recall St. Maximilian’s visit to the abbey on his return trip from Japan to Poland. On that date, Fr. Kolbe celebrated Mass in the abbey church and consulted with the papal delegate who, at that time, had his office and living quarters at Montserrat Abbey. (Photo cred: San Beda University)

The friars and monks of the abbey, took a photo with the abbot, Very Reverend Austin Cadiz, OSB, (center), Friar Francis Victor Mateo to his left and Friar Jobe

February 21, 2020: Fr. Jobe (center) celebrated Mass with the Novices and had morning classes with them. The Novitiate Community of southeast Asia, normally located at Tagaytay, has been relocated to Parañaque because of the recent eruption of the Taal Volcano. These ten novices hail from the Philippines (4), Indonesia (3) and Vietnam (3).

More Photos and Information on our Order’s Website

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Consecration to the Immaculate

St. Lucie Catholic Church, Port St. Lucie, FL

On the weekend of January 25-26, 2020 the M.I. Initiative promoting consecration to the Immaculate made its 19th stop at St. Lucie Catholic Church, in Port St. Lucie, Florida. At a parish mission given just a few days before, the presenter focused on three important things: prayer, the sacraments and cultivating a devotion to the Blessed Mother. We couldn’t have asked for a better introduction for our message. At the six Masses (five in English and one in Spanish), the parishioners, who already have a strong Marian devotion, embraced the ideals of consecration to the Immaculate characteristically promoted in our Franciscan tradition and Kolbean heritage. Friar Jobe was welcomed graciously by the friars of St. Lucie Friary: Fr. Curt Kreml, OFM Conv. (Friary Guardian and Parochial Vicar), Fr. Mark Szanyi, OFM Conv. (Pastor), Fr. Daniel Pal, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) and Fr. Milton de Jesus, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar).

A sampling of St. Lucie Catholic Church Parishioners are pictured with Friar Jobe (top center in green vestments) and their pastor, Friar Mark ( to his left in habit).

 

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