St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Catholic priest and Conventual Franciscan friar who, through broadcasts and publications, strongly criticized the Nazi political party for its disrespect for human life and religious freedom. As a result, they put him in the death camp at Auschwitz, where he volunteered to die in place of a husband and father named Franciszek Gajowniczek. St. Maximilian died in 1941 and his Feast Day is August 14.
St. Maximilian Kolbe,
Faithful priest of God,
And preacher of the Gospel of Life,
We honor you
And we praise God for the example of your life and death.
The Lord gave you the courage
To speak out against a political party
That was destroying innocent human life
And oppressing the freedom of the Church.
You did not simply pray,
But you preached, published, and proclaimed
That the Nazi regime was evil.
You willingly suffered like Jesus did
In being led away in captivity,
And sentenced to death.
Your act of love,
In voluntarily taking the place
Of the husband and father they chose to kill,
Was your final act of witness
And prophetic challenge
To the godless contempt of the Nazis for human life.
St. Maximilian, we need you today.
Intercede for all God’s people
To stand up and speak up against political leaders and parties
That devalue the lives of the unborn
And attack the Church’s freedom.
Intercede for our priests,
That, like you, they may preach and write,
Teach and witness to the sanctity of life.
Obtain for us from God
The grace to be ready to sacrifice ourselves
For our most vulnerable brothers and sisters,
The children in the womb,
Who reflect the glory of God
And of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life