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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD TUESDAY AUGUST 14, 2012











 

VATICAN : POPE'S BUTLER FORMALLY CHARGED
AMERICA : RIP NELLIE GRAY FOUNDER OF MARCH FOR LIFE
AUSTRALIA : 3 SISTERS PROFESS VOWS AS DOMINICANS
ASIA : SYRIA : COLLAPSE OF REGIME IMMINENT
AFRICA : ETHIOPIA : OVER 800 POOR CHILDREN GET EDUCATION FROM SISTERS
NOVENA TO OUR LADY : OFFICIAL FOR ASSUMPTION FEAST - PLENARY INDULGENCE - DAY 9
TODAY'S SAINT: AUG. 14: ST. MAXIMILIAN MARY KOLBE

VATICAN : POPE'S BUTLER FORMALLY CHARGED
Vatican Radio REPORT– Paolo Gabrielle has been formally charged with aggravated theft and will stand trial for his role in leaking private documents, pertaining to the Holy Father and other Curia officials, to Italian press. A 35 page document outlining the Vatican magistrates’ charges against Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler was presented to journalists Monday. In the document examining judge, Piero Bonnet, also names a second suspect in what has familiarly become known as the Vatileaks scandal, Claudio Sciarpelleti, who will stand trial on minor charges of ‘aiding and abetting’ Gabriele after the fact. (IMAGE SOURCE: FB)

Gabriele was arrested in May 23, after confidential letters and documents were found in his apartment in Vatican City State. Originally held in detention in the Vatican jail, he has since been released under house arrest.

Sciarpeletti, a lay computer technician at the Secretary of State and acquaintance of Gabriele, was briefly detained May 25, after Vatican police found him in possession of an envelope from Gabriele. Held overnight for questioning, Sciarpeletti was released the following morning. However, his “contrasting versions of the facts” during an interrogation lead examining magistrates to proceed with minors charges. He has incurred a cautionary suspension from work but continues to receive his salary.

According to Bonnet’s report, Paolo Gabriele, after having originally denied all involvement in the scandal to Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, during later interrogations confessed to having provided the documents to Italian Journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, but without receiving any money.

While recognising the illegal nature of his actions, he claimed they were motivated by the fact he believed the Pope ill-informed of the evil and corruption which he saw in the Church. Claiming to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit, Gabrielle stated his certain belief that a “media shock” might be “healthy” for the church to bring it “back onto the right track”.

Bonnet’s report also reveals that other important objects were found during a police search on the former Papal assistant’s house. These include; a cheque made out to Pope Benedict XVI dated to March 26 2012, to the sum of 100 thousand euros; a gold nugget from Peru again addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and a 16th
century Venetian edition of the Aeneid, also destined for Pope Benedict.

The report states that Gabriele underwent two independent psychiatric evaluations, at the request of attorneys for the defence and prosecution. The three sessions carried out between June 18 and the beginning of July resulted in diverging opinions on his mental faculty at the time of his actions. The conclusions of the Promoter of Justice are also based on these evaluations, according to whom Gabriele was aware of the gravity and illegality of what he did, and hence the decision to formally charge him and to go to trial. Bonnet emphasised in the report that Paolo Gabriele's case was only one part of the over-all inquiry into the leaking of documents from the Vatican, which magistrates will continue to pursue.

Presenting the complete and detailed finding’s to journalists, Holy See Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, underlined the Vatican’s desire for transparency and Pope Benedict XVI’s respect for the Vatican’ magistrates role, competence and autonomy. A respect the Pope personally spoke of in July meeting with the investigating attorney’s and judges.

This – added Lombardi - also explains the fact that the outcome of Cardinal’s commission of inquiry into the leaks [appointed by Pope Benedict early March] has not yet been published, in order not to interfere with the magistrates work. He also confirmed that Pope Benedict has received the report and that as Pope, he can intervene at any stage of the judicial process should he feel it opportune. However, the fact he hasn’t done so up until now leads us to assume that trial will go ahead.

A date for the trial has not yet been set, concluded Fr. Lombardi, but it will not be before Sept. 20 when the Supreme Tribunal of the HolySee returns from recess.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

AMERICA : RIP NELLIE GRAY FOUNDER OF MARCH FOR LIFE

PRO-LIFE ACTIVIST Nellie Gray has died at the age of 86. She founded the March for Life in Washington, DC in 1974. It has since then gathered thousands in support of life each year. Nellie was from Big Spring, Texas. She was part of the World War II : Women's Army Core. She worked for nearly 30 years for the US Government Department of State and Labour. She earned a Bachelor's degree and Master's in Economics. Nellie then studied Law and obtained a degree.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin L. King, said: “Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the blackcommunity and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against thisterrible injustice,” She is the director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life. “She was avisionary.”


She is quoted as saying: "After 40 years and 55,000,000 killed preborn babies, we must get unity
among prolife people to gain the “prolife strength and sound message”.
Fr. Pavone, Director of Priests for Life, credits his vocation to the priesthood to the March for Life. He released this prayer:
A Prayer for Nellie Gray
Father of Life,
You have created each human being
To reflect your glory
From the moment of fertilization.
You have also planted in our hearts
The awareness that no human power
Can authorize the taking
Of a single human life.
You have stirred the hearts of your people
To respond to evils like the holocaust
And you have awakened their consciences
To likewise battle the evil of abortion.
We thank you for the pro-life movement
And for all its leaders.
We thank you for the life and example
Of Miss Nellie Gray
And for the work she did
In leading the Annual March for Life
And reminding us all
About the Life Principles which shape our movement.
Lord, give us new strength.
Bring us together in greater unity.
Give success to the work of our hands
As we defend every preborn child.
May we speak and pray,
May we write and march,
May we lobby and vote,
And may we see the victory of life!
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

AUSTRALIA : 3 SISTERS PROFESS VOWS AS DOMINICANS

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
10 Aug 2012



Familes and friends from Australia flew to Nashville to witness this moving ceremony
Vocation Awareness Week has every reason to celebrate. On Saturday, 4 August, eight priests were ordained by Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell while in Nashville, Tennessee three young Australian women professed their vows as Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia. The next day a further four Australians became novitiates receiving the Dominican habits and a new religious name.
"And from next week, 11 August two more young Australians will enter our community in Nashville as postulants joining a group of 19 others from across the US, Canada and Sweden," says Sister Mary Rachel Capets OP, one of the of the original three sisters who came to Australia to help with World Youth Day 2008, and who now heads up the teaching order's Mission House here in Sydney.
She says she is filled with joy at the increasing numbers of women seeking a consecrated life and is filled with gratitude to God not only for the recent upsurge in religious vocations but the fact that after taking their final vows the Australians sisters will return to Australia to teach here in the years to come.
After spending a year as postulants, Kelly Edmunds, Rachel Reeves and Helenka Pasztetnik became canonical novitiates. Given the Dominican habit and the novice's white veil they spent the following year in theological, philosophical, ascetical and spiritual formation. At this time they were also given new religious names.
Then on 28 July this year - 29 July EST - Sr Susanna Edmunds 24, Sr Anastasia Reeves 37 and Sr Helena Pasztetnik 20 joined a group of 18 other young women and professed their vows of poverty, obedience and chastity at a moving ceremony and Mass celebrated by US Bishop Lee A Piche at Nashville's Cathedral of the Incarnation.


Three Australians and 16 others profess their vows in Nashville, USA
Friends and families of the three young women flew to the US from Australia to be at this very special Mass.
More than 1000 including 280 Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia packed the Cathedral as the white veils of novitiates were exchanged for black veils, symbolising conversion, penance and total consecration to God.
Each of the women who came from across the US, Sweden and Canada as well as Australia professed their vows kneeling in front of the Superior of the Congregation, Mother Anne Marie Karlovic OP.
Delighted at the news from Nashville, Fr Michael de Stoop, Director of the Vocations Centre for the Archdiocese of Sydney believes the number of women choosing religious vocations and the increasing numbers of men entering Australian seminaries is testament to a strong revitalisation of faith, particularly among young people.


Sister Anastasia Reeves with her parents after professing her vows in Nashville
He also believes Sydney's World Youth Day has played a leading role in this resurgence.
Australia's awareness of the Nashville-based Community of Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia grew after three of the community's American-born sisters, including Sr Mary Rachel Capets, arrived in Sydney in September 2007 at the invitation of Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP. Bishop Anthony, who is now Bishop of Parramatta, was Coordinator of Sydney's WYD and enlisted the sisters' help in preparing for the historic and momentous event.
A teaching Order, the Sisters from the Community have wide experience from their involvement with young people and their energies, faith, humour and warmth became a distinct feature of Sydney's World Youth Day, and was followed by the establishment of a Mission House in Sydney, the first to be established anywhere outside the USA.
As an engineering student at the University of Sydney, Sr Susanna whose family live at Wahroonga, vividly remembers the Sisters' first visit to the university's campus.


l to r Sr Anastasia Reeves, Fr Albert OP, Sr Susanna Edmunds and Sr Helena Pasztetnik
"I'll never forget the reaction of students. Just to watch them walking across the lawns wearing their habits. It was just such a powerful witness! My friends in engineering knew I was Catholic and would ask 'who are these nuns?' So it really was a great witness to me of the power of religious life."
While there is much going on in the world that is very irreligious she says what has also emerged is an idealism along with "a whole hearted desire to give of self," she says and since joining the community in Nashville two years ago to begin her discernment she insists there has not been one moment of doubt that this is the life to which God has called her.
"It's a really great...a springtime for the Church, I suppose. There is such a lot of hope here, and such a lot of life," she says.
Vocations Awareness Week began last Sunday. To find out more about vocations log on to the Archdiocese of Sydney's Vocation Centre at www.vocationcentre.org.au
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

ASIA : SYRIA : COLLAPSE OF REGIME IMMINENT

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
At a press conference in Amman (Jordan), Hijab said the government is in control of only 30 per cent of the territory. He calls on Syrian political leaders and officials to break away from the regime. Assad's special envoy is in Beijing to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict.


Beijing (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - The "regime is collapsing [. . .]. Militarily it is crumbling as it no longer occupies more than 30 per cent of Syrian territory," said Riad Hijab, a former Syrian prime minister who fled, at a press conference in Amman, Jordan. Its fall is a matter of weeks. Morally, materially and economically, the system has imploded. The ex premier urged the opposition to set up a united front to build a new Syria, and called on the military to stop slaughtering civilians. He said he will join the rebels and wants Assad supporters to break away from the regime.
Hijab, who fled last week, is the highest ranking official from the Assad regime to defect and to call for his removal. He is not the only top official to do so. Syrian Republic Guard Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, one of Assad's top military advisers, and Nawaf al-Faes, Syrian ambassador to Iraq, have also defected.
Hijab's statement comes as Syrian President's special envoy Bouthaina Shaaban met Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing. His visit, which is meant to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict and revive the Annan plan, has also rekindled the debate over China's support for the current Syrian government, a position criticised by the European Union, the United States and the Arab League, which back the opposition, financially and otherwise.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said yesterday that the meeting with Bouthaina was part of Beijing's diplomatic effort to mediate between rebels and the regime. The latter includes a future meeting with rebel representatives to negotiate an immediate ceasefire.
In 17 months of war, China and Russia have vetoed three UN Security Council's resolutions in order to prevent any anti-Assad measure from being taken.
Meanwhile, fighting continues in Aleppo as rebels claim to have shot down a Syrian fighter plane, producing footage of a man they say was the captured pilot.
Since violence broke out, some 20,000 people have died and 2 million civilians have been caught in the crossfire. About a million have been made homeless. About 140,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is in Damascus today to assess ways to increase the flow of emergency aid. She is expected to ask rebels and government for a humanitarian corridor to help civilians.
She should meet Syria's new prime minister, Wail al-Halqi, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, and his deputy Faisal Meqdad.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AFRICA : ETHIOPIA : OVER 800 POOR CHILDREN GET EDUCATION FROM SISTERS

Agenzia Fides report - There are 813 children who have been educated in schools run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul near a small cemetery in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
According to a statement sent to Fides Agency from Aid to the Church in Need, despite the limited space, (in fact the school is located on a hill at the edge of a cliff) the nuns were able to obtain a small library and even a small field where the children can play . "Here everything is in a small-scale version- says the director, Sister Belaynesh Woltesi - but our children are not lacking in anything: books, uniforms and especially food. Although, with prices which continue to rise, it is increasingly difficult for us to buy food.
"All students come from poor families and the majority of parents have AIDS or leprosy. There are many children born to HIV positive, but the Daughters of Charity do not know the exact number. AIDS in Ethiopia, although widespread, is still a taboo and the womwn religious avoid even uttering the name of the syndrome before the sick.
Many pupils were picked up in the streets of the capital, while begging to support their own family. Some were selling lottery tickets, chewing gum and sweets, others belonged to the gang of "professional beggars" who dress up as clowns and perform stunts to impress passersbys. Begging is illegal in Ethiopia and for this reason parents allow their children o go out alone in the afternoon, when the number of policemen on duty is lower. Unfortunately, even prostitution is widespread.
The sisters continue to look for small beggars around the city. "But it is not easy - explains Sister Belaynesh - because often the money they make is the only entry for families. And now the children know the rules of the road and cannot accept that someone will take care of them. "
In 2011, recalls the statement, Aid to the Church in Need donated to the Ethiopian Catholic Church over 620mila euros. Part of the money collected helped to support many religious men and women who assist the poor and needy throughout the Country. In Ethiopia over 10 million people benefit from the immense work of charity of the Catholic Church, despite the Catholic faithful are only 700 thousand. The Church runs 203 kindergartens and 222 schools attended by over 180 thousand students of all religions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 09/08/2012)

NOVENA TO OUR LADY : OFFICIAL FOR ASSUMPTION FEAST - PLENARY INDULGENCE - DAY 9

Assumption painting by Mateo Cerezo courtesy of Wikipedia

To all faithful Christians who, in private or public, in church or in their own houses, shall keep any of the following Novenas, in preparation for the principal feasts of most holy Mary, Pope Pius VII., at the prayer of several holy persons, granted, by Rescripts issued through his Eminence the Cardinal-Vicar, Aug. 4 and Nov. 24, 1808, and Jan. 11, 1800 (all of which are kept in the Segretaria of the Vicariate) -
i. An indulgence of 300 days, daily.
ii. A plenary indulgence to all who shall assist at these Novenas every day, and who shall afterwards, either on the Feast-day itself, to which each Novena respectively has reference, or on some one day in its Octave, after Confession and Communion, pray to our Lord and to the Blessed Virgin ac cording to the pious intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
OFFICIAL RACCOLTA PRAYER WITH INDULGENCE:

Veni Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
Oremus.
Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.
TRANSLATION.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant us in the same Spirit to relish what is right, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
HYMN.
O gloriosa Virginum,
Sublimis inter sidera,
Qui te creavit, parvulum
Lactente nutris ubere.
Quod Heva tristis abstulit,
Tu reddis almo germine:
Intrent ut astra flebiles,
Coeli recludis cardines.
Tu regis alti janua,
Et aula lucis fulgida:
Vitam datam per Virginem,
Gentes redemptae plaudite.
Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.
TRANSLATION.
O Queen of all the Virgin choir,
Enthroned above the starry sky;
Who with pure milk from thy own breast
Thy own Creator didst supply.
What man hath lost in hapless Eve,
Thy sacred womb to man restores;
Thou to the sorrowing here beneath
Hast open’d Heaven’s eternal doors.
Hail, O refulgent Hall of light!
Hail, Gate sublime of Heaven’s high King!
Through thee redeem’d to endless life,
Thy praise let all the nations sing.
O Jesu! born of Virgin bright,
Immortal glory be to Thee;
Praise to the Father infinite,
And Holy Ghost eternally.




GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH.
In her patronage of man.
Let us meditate how glorious Mary is in heaven, by reason of her patronage of man, and for the power she has to aid him, with great watchfulness in all his necessities; wherefore with lively confidence, in having for our patroness the very Mother of our God, let ns implore her:
i. Mary, our most powerful Patroness, whose glory it is in heaven to be the advocate of man; O take us from the hands of the enemy and place us in the arms of our God and Creator.
Three Ave Marias.
ii. Mary, our most powerful Patroness, who, being in heaven the advocate of man, wouldest that all men should be saved; make it thy care that none of us despair at the sight of our past relapses into sin.
Three Ave Marias.
iii. Mary, our most powerful Patroness, who, to fulfil thine office, dost love to be invoked by men; obtain for us such true devotion, that we may ever call upon thee in life, and above all at the awful moment of our death.
Three Ave Maria’s.
Now with all our hearts let us celebrate the glories of Mary; and consoled at having Mary for our advocate in Heaven, let us join the ninth choir of the angels in praising her while we sing:
The Litany of Our Lady :

Lord, have mercy on us. (Christ have mercy on us.)
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. (Christ graciously hear us.)
God, the Father of heaven, (have mercy on us.)
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, (have mercy on us.)
God the Holy Ghost, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Trinity, one God, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renouned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary.
Queen of the family,
Queen of Peace,
p
r
a
y

f
o
r

u
s
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us.)

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. (That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.)

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto us Thy servants, that we may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and, by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness, and enter into the joy of Thine eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. (Amen.)

V. Exaltata est Sancta Dei Genitrix.
R. Super choros angelorum ad coelestia regna.
Oremus.
Famulorum tuorum, quaesumus Domine, delictis ignosce: ut qui tibi placere de actibus nostris non valemus, Genitricis Filii tui Domini nostri intercessione salvemur.
Oremus.
Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen
TRANSLATION.
V. The holy Mother of God is exalted.
R. Into the heavenly kingdom above the angel choirs.
Let us pray.
We beseech thee, Lord, pardon the shortcomings of Thy servants; that we who by our own works are not able to please Thee, may be saved by the intercession of the Mother of thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ.. Who, & c.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant us in the same Spirit to relish what is right, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. R. AMEN

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE TUESDAY AUGUST 14, 2012

John 15: 12 - 17

12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 This I command you, to love one another.

TODAY'S SAINT: AUG. 14: ST. MAXIMILIAN MARY KOLBE

 


Information:
Feast Day:
August 14
Born:
7 January 1894 at Zdunska Wola, Poland
Died:
August 14, 1941, Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
Canonized:
10 October 1982, Rome, Italy by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:
Basilica of the Immaculate Mediatrix of Grace, Niepokalanów, Poland
Patron of:
20th century, Pro-Life Movement, drug addiction, drug addicts, families, amateur radio
His name wasn't always Maximilian. He was born the second son of a poor weaver on 8 January 1894 at Zdunska Wola near Lodz in Poland, and was given the baptismal name of Raymond. Both parents were devout Christians with a particular devotion to Mary. In his infancy Raymond seems to have been normally mischievous but we are told that one day, after his mother had scolded him for some mischief or other, her words took effect and brought about a radical change in the child's behaviour. Later he explained this change. 'That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.' Thus early did the child believe and accept that he was destined for martyrdom. His belief in his dream coloured all his future actions.
In 1907 Raymond and his elder brother entered a junior Franciscan seminary in Lwow. Here he excelled in mathematics and physics and his teachers predicted a brilliant future for him in science. Others, seeing his passionate interest in all things military, saw in him a future strategist. For a time indeed his interest in military affairs together with his fiery patriotism made him lose interest in the idea of becoming a priest, The fulfilment of his dream would lie in saving Poland from her oppressors as a soldier. But before he could tell anyone about his decision his mother announced that, as all their children were now in seminaries, she and her husband intended to enter religious life. Raymond hadn't the heart to upset his parents' plans and so he abandoned his plans for joining the army. He was received as a novice in September 1910 and with the habit he took the new name of Maximilian. From 1912 to 1915 he was in Rome studying philosophy at the Gregorian College, and from 1915 to 1919 theology at the Collegio Serafico. He was ordained in Rome on 28 April 1918.
The love of fighting didn't leave him, but while he was in Rome he stopped seeing the struggle as a military one. He didn't like what he saw of the world, in fact he saw it as downright evil. The fight, he decided, was a spiritual one. The world was bigger than Poland and there were worse slaveries than earthly ones. The fight was still on, but he would not be waging it with the sword. At that time many Catholics in Europe regarded freemasonry as their chief enemy; and it was against the freemasons that Maximilian Kolbe began to wage war. On 16 October 1917, with six companions, he founded the Crusade of Mary Immaculate (), with the aim of 'converting sinners, heretics and schismatics, particularly freemasons, and bringing all men to love Mary Immaculate'.


As he entered what was to be the most creative period of his life, Fr Maximilian's health had already begun to deteriorate. He was by now in an advanced state of tuberculosis, and he felt himself overshadowed by death. His love for Mary Immaculate now became the devouring characteristic of his life. He regarded himself as no more than an instrument of her will, and the only time he was known to lose his temper was in defence of her honour. It was for her that he strove to develop all the good that was in him, and he wanted to encourage others to do the same.
When Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 he rejoiced to see his country free once again, a liberation which he typically attributed to Mary Immaculate. Pius XI in response to a request from the Polish bishops had just promulgated the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Poland, and Fr Maximilian wrote: 'She must be the Queen of Poland and of every Polish heart. We must labour to win each and every heart for her.' He set himself to extend the influence of his Crusade, and formed cells and circles all over Poland. The doctors had by now pronounced him incurable; one lung had collapsed and the other was damaged. Yet it was now that he flung himself into a whirlwind of activity. In January 1922 he began to publish a monthly review, the , in Cracow. Its aim was 'to illuminate the truth and show the true way to happiness'. As funds were low, only 5,000 copies of the first issue were printed. In 1922 he removed to another friary in Grodno and acquired a small printing establishment; and from now on the review began to grow. In 1927 70,000 copies were being printed. The Grodno Friary became too small to house such a mammoth operation, so Fr Maximilian began to look for a site nearer to Warsaw. Prince Jan Drucko-Lubecki offered him some land at Teresin, west of Warsaw, Fr Maximilian promptly erected a statue of Mary Immaculate there, and the monks began the arduous work of construction.


On 21 November 1927 the Franciscans moved from Grodno to Teresin and on 8 December the friary was consecrated and was given the name of Niepokalanow, the City of the Immaculate. 'Niepokalanow', said Fr Maximilian, 'is a place chosen by Mary Immaculate and is exclusively dedicated to spreading her cult. All that is and will be at Niepokalanow will belong to her. The monastic spirit will flourish here; we shall practise obedience and we shall be poor, in the spirit of St Francis.'
At first Niepokalanow consisted of no more than a few shacks with tar-paper roofs, but it soon flourished. To cope with the flood of vocations all over Poland, a junior seminary was built at Niepokalanow 'to prepare priests for the missions capable of every task in the name of the Immaculate and with her help'. A few years later there were more than a hundred seminarians and the numbers were still growing. Before long Niepokalanow had become one of the largest (some say largest) friaries in the world. In 1939 it housed 762 inhabitants: 13 priests, 18 novices, 527 brothers, 122 boys in the junior seminary and 82 candidates for the priesthood. No matter how many labourers were in the vineyard there was always work for more. Among the inhabitants of Niepokalanow there were doctors, dentists, farmers, mechanics, tailors, builders, printers, gardeners, shoemakers, cooks. The place was entirely self-supporting.


Not only the friary but the printing house had been expanding. More modern machinery had been installed, including three machines which could produce 16,000 copies of the review in an hour. New techniques of type, photogravure and binding were adopted. The new machinery and techniques made it possible to meet the growing demand for —which had now reached the incredible circulation figure of 750,000 per month—and to produce other publications as well. In 1935 they began to produce a daily Catholic newspaper, , of which 137,000 copies were printed on weekdays and 225,000 on Sundays and holydays.


Maximilian did not rest content with mere journalistic activity. His sights were set even further. On 8 December 1938 a radio station was installed at Niepokalanow with the signature tune (played by the brothers' own orchestra) of the Lourdes hymn. And now that there was so much valuable equipment around, Niepokalanow acquired its own fire brigade to protect it against its enemies. Some of the brothers were now trained as firemen.
There was no doubt that Niepokalanow was going from strength to strength, a unique institution within Poland. The results of the work done there were becoming apparent. Priests in parishes all over the country reported a tremendous upsurge of faith, which they attributed to the literature emerging from Niepokalanow. A campaign against abortion in the columns of the (1938) seemed to awaken the conscience of the nation: more than a million people of all classes and professions ranged themselves behind the standard of Mary Immaculate. Years later, after the war, the Polish bishops sent an official letter to the Holy See claiming that Fr Kolbe's magazine had prepared the Polish nation to endure and survive the horrors of the war that was soon to follow.


Fr Maximilian was a restless spirit, and his activities could not be confined to Poland. His junior seminary had been started in 1929 but he didn't intend to wait for its first priest to be trained before he himself set out for the mission lands. To those who pointed out that Niepokalanow wasn't yet up to undertaking foreign apostolic work, he quoted the example of St Francis, who had risked himself on the mission fields when the other Orders had remained uninvolved. With the blessing of his Father General, Maximilian prepared his expedition. Asked whether he had money to finance it, he replied: 'Money? It will turn up somehow or other. Mary will see to it. It's her business and her Son's.'
On 26 February 1930 Fr Maximilian left Poland with four brothers from Niepokalanow on a journey to the Far East. They travelled by way of Port Said, Saigon and Shanghai, and on 24 April they landed at Nagasaki in Japan. Here they were given episcopal permission to stay. In fact Archbishop Hayasaka received them very warmly when he learned that Fr Maximilian had two doctorates and would be able to take the vacant chair of philosophy in the diocesan seminary in exchange for a licence to print his review.
The going was hard. The Poles' only shelter was a wretched hut whose walls and roof were caving in. They slept on what straw they could find and their tables were planks of wood. But despite such hardships, and the fact that they knew no word of the Japanese language, and had no money, on 24 April 1930, exactly a month after their arrival, a telegram was despatched to Niepokalanow: 'Today distributing Japanese . Have printing press. Praise to Mary Immaculate.' After that, it was scarcely surprising that a year later the Japanese Niepokalanow was inaugurated, Mugenzai no Sono (the Garden of the Immaculate), built on the slopes of Mount Hikosan. The choice of this site in the suburbs had been dictated by poverty, but it proved a lucky one. People thought Fr Maximilian was crazy to be building on steep ground sloping away from the town; but in 1945, when the atomic bomb all but levelled Nagasaki, Mugenzai no Sono sustained no more damage than a few broken panes of stained glass. Today it forms the centre of a Franciscan province.
Despite his passionate zeal in the cause of Mary, Fr Maximilian proved to be a wise missionary. He did not attempt to impose Western ideas on the Japanese. He respected their national customs and looked for what was good in Buddhism and Shintoism. He entered into dialogue with Buddhist priests and some of them became his friends. In 1931 he founded a noviciate and in 1936 a junior seminary. And of course he continued to publish his beloved magazine. , the Japanese , had a circulation six times that of its nearest Japanese Catholic rival. This was because it was aimed at the whole community, not just Catholics. The first 10,000 copies had swollen to 65,000 by 1936.


Father Maximilian's health was rapidly deteriorating, but he didn't allow this fact to diminish his zeal or his restless energy. Although he often complained of the lack of manpower and machines needed to serve the people of Japan, in 1932 he was already seeking fresh pastures. On 31 May he left Japan and sailed to Malabar where, after a few initial difficulties, he founded a third Niepokalanow. But his superiors requested him to return to Japan, and as no priests could be spared for Malabar that idea had to be given up. On another of his journeys he travelled through Siberia and spent some time in Moscow. Even here he dreamed of publishing his magazine-in Russian. He had studied the language and had a fair acquaintance with Marxist literature. Like Pope John XXIII he looked for the good elements even in systems which he believed to be evil; and he tried to teach his friars to do likewise.
In 1936 he was recalled to Poland, and left Japan for the last time. He had thought that he would find martyrdom there; and indeed he had found martyrdom of a kind. He was racked by violent headaches and covered with abscesses brought on by the food to which he could not grow accustomed. But these things were only pinpricks: the real martyrdom awaited him elsewhere.
Just before the Second World War broke out Fr Maximilian spoke to his friars about suffering. They must not be afraid, he said, for suffering accepted with love would bring them closer to Mary. All his life he had dreamed of a martyr's crown, and the time was nearly at hand.
By 13 September 1939 Niepokalanow had been occupied by the invading Germans and most of its inhabitants had been deported to Germany. Among them was Fr Maximilian. But that exile did not last long and on 8 December the prisoners were set free. From the moment that he returned to Niepokalanow Fr Maximilian was galvanized into a new kind of activity. He began to organize a shelter for 3,000 Polish refugees, among whom were 2,000 Jews. 'We must do everything in our power to help these unfortunate people who have been driven from their homes and deprived of even the most basic necessities. Our mission is among them in the days that lie ahead.' The friars shared everything they had with the refugees. They housed, fed and clothed them, and brought all their machinery into use in their service.
Inevitably the community came under suspicion and was closely watched. Early in 1941, in the only edition of which he was allowed to publish, Fr Maximilian set pen to paper and thus provoked his own arrest. 'No one in the world can change Truth', he wrote. 'What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is an inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?'


He would never know that kind of defeat; but a more obvious defeat was near. On 17 February 1941 he was arrested and sent to the infamous Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Here he was singled out for special ill-treatment. A witness tells us that in March of that year an S. S. guard, seeing this man in his habit girdled with a rosary, asked if he believed in Christ. When the priest calmly replied 'I do', the guard struck him. The S. S. man repeated his question several times and receiving always the same answer went on beating him mercilessly. Shortly afterwards the Franciscan habit was taken away and a prisoner's garment was substituted.
On 28 May Fr Maximilian was with over 300 others who were deported from Pawiak to Auschwitz. There he received his striped convict's garments and was branded with the number 16670. He was put to work immediately carrying blocks of stone for the construction of a crematorium wall. On the last day of May he was assigned with other priests to the Babice section which was under the direction of 'Bloody' Krott, an ex-criminal. 'These men are lay-abouts and parasites', said the Commandant to Krott, 'get them working.' Krott forced the priests to cut and carry huge tree-trunks. The work went on all day without a stop and had to be done running—with the aid of vicious blows from the guards. Despite his one lung, Father Maximilian accepted the work and the blows with surprising calm. Krott conceived a relentless hatred against the Franciscan and gave him heavier tasks than the others. Sometimes his colleagues would try to come to his aid but he would not expose them to danger. Always he replied, 'Mary gives me strength. All will be well.' At this time he wrote to his mother, 'Do not worry about me or my health, for the good Lord is everywhere and holds every one of us in his great love.'
One day Krott found some of the heaviest planks he could lay hold of and personally loaded them on the Franciscan's back, ordering him to run. When he collapsed, Krott kicked him in the stomach and face and had his men give him fifty lashes. When the priest lost consciousness Krott threw him in the mud and left him for dead. But his companions managed to smuggle him to the Revier, the camp hospital. Although he was suffering greatly, he secretly heard confessions in the hospital and spoke to the other inmates of the love of God. In Auschwitz, where hunger and hatred reigned and faith evaporated, this man opened his heart to others and spoke of God's infinite love. He seemed never to think of himself. When food was brought in and everyone struggled to get his place in the queue so as to be sure of a share, Fr Maximilian stood aside, so that frequently there was none left for him. At other times he shared his meagre ration of soup or bread with others. He was once asked whether such self-abnegation made sense in a place where every man was engaged in a struggle for survival, and he answered: 'Every man has an aim in life. For most men it is to return home to their wives and families, or to their mothers. For my part, I give my life for the good of all men.'
Men gathered in secret to hear his words of love and encouragement, but it was his example which counted for most. Fr Zygmunt Rusczak remembers: 'Each time I saw Father Kolbe in the courtyard I felt within myself an extraordinary effusion of his goodness. Although he wore the same ragged clothes as the rest of us, with the same tin can hanging from his belt, one forgot this wretched exterior and was conscious only of the charm of his inspired countenance and of his radiant holiness.'
There remained only the last act in the drama. The events are recorded in the sworn testimonials of former inmates of the camp, collected as part of the beatification proceedings. They are as follows:
Tadeusz Joachimowski, clerk of Block 14A: 'In the summer of 1941, most probably on the last day of July, the camp siren announced that there had been an escape. At the evening roll-call of the same day we, i.e. Block 14A, were formed up in the street between the buildings of Blocks 14 and 17. After some delay we were joined by a group of the Landwirtschafts-Kommando. During the count it was found that three prisoners from this Kommando had escaped: one from our Block and the two others from other Blocks. Lagerfuhrer Fritzsch announced that on account of the escape of the three prisoners, ten prisoners would be picked in reprisal from the blocks in which the fugitives had lived and would be assigned to the Bunker (the underground starvation cell).' Jan Jakub Szegidewicz takes up the story from there: 'After the group of doomed men had already been selected, a prisoner stepped out from the ranks of one of the Blocks. I recognized Father Kolbe. Owing to my poor knowledge of German I did not understand what they talked about, nor do I remember whether Fr Kolbe spoke directly to Fritzsch. When making his request, Fr Kolbe stood at attention and pointed at a former non-commissioned officer known to me from the camp. It could be inferred from the expression on Fritzsch's face that he was surprised at Fr Kolbe's action. As the sign was given, Fr Kolbe joined the ranks of the doomed and the non-commissioned officer left the ranks of the doomed and resumed his place in his Block; which meant that Fritzsch had consented to the exchange. A little later the doomed men were marched off in the direction of Block 13, the death Block.'
The non-commissioned officer was Franciszek Gajowniczek. When the sentence of doom had been pronounced, Gajowniczek had cried out in despair, 'O my poor wife, my poor children. I shall never see them again.' It was then that the unexpected had happened, and that from among the ranks of those temporarily reprieved, prisoner 16670 had stepped forward and offered himself in the other man's place. Then the ten condemned men were led off to the dreaded Bunker, to the airless underground cells where men died slowly without food or water.
Bruno Borgowiec was an eye-witness of those last terrible days, for he was an assistant to the janitor and an interpreter in the underground Bunkers. He tells us what happened: 'In the cell of the poor wretches there were daily loud prayers, the rosary and singing, in which prisoners from neighbouring cells also joined. When no S. S. men were in the Block I went to the Bunker to talk to the men and comfort them. Fervent prayers and songs to the Holy Mother resounded in all the corridors of the Bunker. I had the impression I was in a church. Fr Kolbe was leading and the prisoners responded in unison. They were often so deep in prayer that they did not even hear that inspecting S. S. men had descended to the Bunker; and the voices fell silent only at the loud yelling of their visitors. When the cells were opened the poor wretches cried loudly and begged for a piece of bread and for water, which they did not receive, however. If any of the stronger ones approached the door he was immediately kicked in the stomach by the S. S. men, so that falling backwards on the cement floor he was instantly killed; or he was shot to death ... Fr Kolbe bore up bravely, he did not beg and did not complain but raised the spirits of the others.... Since they had grown very weak, prayers were now only whispered. At every inspection, when almost all the others were now lying on the floor, Fr Kolbe was seen kneeling or standing in the centre as he looked cheerfully in the face of the S. S. men. Two weeks passed in this way. Meanwhile one after another they died, until only Fr Kolbe was left. This the authorities felt was too long; the cell was needed for new victims. So one day they brought in the head of the sick-quarters, a German, a common criminal named Bock, who gave Fr Kolbe an injection of carbolic acid in the vein of his left arm. Fr Kolbe, with a prayer on his lips, himself gave his arm to the executioner. Unable to watch this I left under the pretext of work to be done. Immediately after the S. S. men with the executioner had left I returned to the cell, where I found Fr Kolbe leaning in a sitting position against the back wall with his eyes open and his head drooping sideways. His face was calm and radiant.'
The heroism of Father Kolbe went echoing through Auschwitz. In that desert of hatred he had sown love. Mr Jozef Stemler, former director of an important cultural institute in Poland, comments: 'In those conditions ... in the midst of a brutalization of thought and feeling and words such as had never before been known, man indeed became a ravening wolf in his relations with other men. And into this state of affairs came the heroic self-sacrifice of Fr Maximilian. The atmosphere grew lighter, as this thunderbolt provoked its profound and salutary shock.' Jerzy Bielecki declared that Fr Kolbe's death was 'a shock filled with hope, bringing new life and strength.... It was like a powerful shaft of light in the darkness of the camp.'
His reputation spread far and wide, through the Nazi camps and beyond. After the war newspapers all over the world were deluged with articles about this 'saint for our times', 'saint of progress', 'giant of holiness'. Biographies were written, and everywhere there were claims of cures being brought about through his intercession. 'The life and death of this one man alone', wrote the Polish bishops, 'can be proof and witness of the fact that the love of God can overcome the greatest hatred, the greatest injustice, even death itself.' The demands for his beatification became insistent, and at last on 12 August 1947 proceedings started. Seventy-five witnesses were questioned. His cause was introduced on 16 March 1960. When all the usual objections had been overcome, the promoter spoke of 'the charm of this magnificent fool'. On 17 October 1971 Maximilian Kolbe was beatified. Like his master Jesus Christ he had loved his fellow-men to the point of sacrificing his life for them. 'Greater love hath no man than this ... and these were the opening words of the papal decree introducing the process of beatification.

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