On October 22, 2022, the fraternities in Barcelona and Granollers, belonging to the Province of Our Lady of Montserrat in Spain, took part in a cordial meeting organized by members of the Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.) at the San Francisco de Asís Friary in Barcelona. The M.I. International President, Miquel Bordas PRÓSZYNSKI, was among those present.
The meeting began with prayer, followed by lectures on some of the more touching and moving aspects of St. Maximilian’s life. The lecturer was Friar Piotr BIELENIN from the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow). He gave two reflections: “Maximilian Kolbe: A Saint for Today” and “Maximilian Kolbe in the Doctrine and Spirituality of St. John Paul II.” Friar Piotr mentioned some significant anniversaries related to St. Maximilian: 128 years have passed since his birth; 81 years since his death in the Auschwitz starvation bunker; 40 years since his canonization; and finally, 100 years since the publication of the first issue of his Knight of the Immaculata magazine. Referring to the writings of St. Maximilian, Friar Piotr, in his first reflection, repeatedly emphasized Kolbe’s charisma and spiritual heritage: “Have ideals. Do not accept the world as it is or as it tries to present itself to you. Do not listen to the voices of those who say that nothing can change, especially those that claim you cannot change anything in yourself.” His second reflection focused on what Pope St. John Paul II said [then as Cardinal Wojtyła] about St. Maximilian: “I wish with all my heart that the ideals of St. Maximilian and the desire of his apostolic heart, the Immaculate Conception, be known, venerated and loved throughout the world, so that these ideals may spread wherever possible.”
After a break for some relaxation and conviviality, Mass was celebrated with the Guardian Friar Bernardino HOSPITAL POSADA presiding. At the beginning of the celebration, the rite was performed to receive the relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe that had been donated by the fraternity in Niepokalanów, Poland. In his homily, Friar Bernardino talked about St. Maximilian’s missionary work in Japan. He pointed out how St. Maximilian, despite his health and other obstacles, demonstrated absolute faith in Providence and in the Immaculate Conception, in a culture and mindset that was very different from those he came from, and nevertheless, managed to implant and establish the M.I. in Japan.
At the end of the Mass, the relic was venerated and a devout reading of the Litany of St. Maximilian was carried out by M.I. International President PRÓSZYNSKI. Finally, a friendly agape meal was served in the courtyard of the San Francisco de Asís Center. The delicious snacks were joyfully shared among the members of the M.I. and the local faithful who normally attend the Mass on Saturday.
This day-long event provided solid formation on the charism of St. Maximilian, together with community prayer and joyful and fraternal time spent together, in order to pay homage to the life of St. Maximilian and recognize his relevance today, the saint whom Pope St. John Paul II defined as “the patron of our difficult century.”
Friar Marek WAWRZYSZKO