Roman Catholics observe Sunday, Aug. 14, the feast of Polish Catholic priest and Conventual Franciscan Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, the revered founder of the Militia of the Immaculata (Army of Mary) and the patron saint of journalists, families, prisoners, and pro-life advocates.
A Holy Mass will be celebrated on Aug. 14 by Novaliches Bishop Roberto O. Gaa at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Novaliches, Quezon City at 6 a.m. Novena masses in honor of the revered saint were held from Aug. 5 to 13.
In his native Poland, pilgrims and devotees traditionally gather on his feast day at his major shrine, the Basilica of the Immaculate Mediatrix of Grace to offer special prayers and light candles.
St. Maximilian was known as the “Apostle of Consecration to Mary” and a martyr of charity. He founded the Militia of the Immaculata in 1917 to work for the conversion of sinners and the enemies of the Catholic Church through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. His main apostolate was to help spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 1941, he volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.
On Oct. 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II canonized Father Kolbe and declared him a martyr of charity. The Catholic Church venerates him as the patron saint of amateur-radio operators, drug addicts, political prisoners, of families, of journalists, of prisoners, and of pro-life movement. St. John Paul II declared him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century.”
His major shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Immaculate, the Omni-mediatress of All Glories located in Niepokalanów in Poland.