By Sean Ryan - 12 September, 2016
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Maximilian Kolbe at the World War II concentration camp in Auschwitz in 1941.
St Maximilian, a Conventual Franciscan friar, demonstrated heroic charity by giving his life in place of fellow prisoner Franek Gajowniczek who was about to be executed.
Pope St John Paul II declared St Maximilian Kolbe the “patron saint of our difficult century” and a martyr of charity.
To commemorate this historic anniversary, the Franciscan Conventual friars of the Our Lady of the Angels Province, in concert with Kolbean Institutes and the Conventual Franciscans worldwide, are sponsoring a pilgrimage of St Maximilian’s relics.
The Saint’s relics will visit Ireland on 1 – 2 October 2016 when they will visit the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fairview, Dublin 3.
Fr James McCurry OFM Conv and Fr Jobe Abbass OFM Conv will conduct this visitation by preaching at all the weekend Masses and concluding with a healing service at 3pm on 2 October, beseeching St Maximilian to intercede for those who are imprisoned, both bodily and spiritually, with any chemical, physical or emotional addiction.
Before his death, St Maximilian was active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, operating a radio station, and founding or running several other organisations and publications.
He was canonised on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II.
He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement.
St John Paul II declared him ‘The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century’.
In 2013, Ten Ten Theatre produced a play by author David Gooderson’s entitled ‘Kolbe’s Gift’ which sold out in London’s West End.