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Ordinary Time: August 14th

Memorial of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr

MASS READINGS

August 14, 2008 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Gracious God, you filled your priest and martyr, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, with zeal for souls and love for his neighbor. Through the prayer of this devoted servant of Mary Immaculate, grant that in our efforts to serve others for your glory we too may become like Christ your Son, who loved his own in the world even to the end, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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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.

Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar the feast of St. Eusebius was celebrated today. His feast has been transferred to 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.