On October 15-16, 2022, the 40th anniversary of the canonization of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe and the 105th anniversary of the foundation of the Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.) was celebrated at the St. Maximilian M. Kolbe General House in Rome. Pope St. John Paul II, described St. Maximilian as “the first Martyr of Charity.”
These two days of prayer and formation, culminated with Pope Francis’ greeting during the Angelus on Oct. 16.
Those participating included some Italian members of the M.I.; the M.I. International President, Miquel Bordas PRÓSZYNSKI, the M.I. International Assistant, Friar Gilson Miguel NUNES; the M.I. National President for Italy, Margherita PERCHINELLI; the M.I. National Assistant for Italy, Friar Salvatore M. PULIZZOTTO; some M.I. members from Spain and Poland led by the M.I. Vice President in Poland, Friar Arkadiusz BĄK; and finally some Father Kolbe Missionaries of the Immaculata.
On the afternoon of October 15, after the International Rosary, there was a tribute by the artists from Poland with musical meditations on St. Maximilian by Adam MICHALAK (tenor), Robert ADAMCZAK (piano) and Mariusz MONCZAK (violin). This was followed by “The Canonization of the Saint of Auschwitz” a dramatization by Simone BENNATI, Lucia SARACENO and Simone FORCELLA, enacted by the Father Kolbe Missionary, Tiziana DI SABATO, whose excellent performance was warmly appreciated. At the end of the evening there was a prayer vigil.
The next day, as a further showing of the love that M.I. lay members have for the Church, members of the M.I. went to St. Peter’s Square to listen to the Pope during the Angelus. Pope Francis clearly expressed the Church’s gratitude to the M.I.
Earlier that afternoon, Friar Raffaele DI MURO, the Dean of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Seraphicum) in Rome, gave a brilliant lecture entitled “La fede in San Massimiliano” [The Faith in St. Maximilian] which revealed the depth of the Saint of Auschwitz. Next, there was an speech by Friar Salvatore M. PULIZZOTTO, who recalled with joy and great detail his attendance at the canonization ceremony for St. Maximilian on October 10, 1982.
As a fitting conclusion to these two important days, there was a Mass presided over by the Most Reverend Gianfranco GIROTTI, OFM Conv., Regent Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary. The Mass was animated by a fine group of friars from the Seraphicum.
Heartfelt thanks go to all those who did their utmost to make this event a success, especially Friar Germano TOGNETTI, the Guardian of the St. Maximilian M. Kolbe General House, and the confreres of the community for their extraordinary welcome.