One hundred years ago (April 28, 1918), St. Maximilian KOLBE was ordained a priest at the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome.

“On the morning of the 28th, after prayers recited together in the chapel, I went out to prepare (with the others who were to be ordained) and before 7 we walked to the Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, where the general ordinations would be held. I came into the sacristy, I dressed in the vestments of a deacon, and I recited with the others the preparatory prayers for my first Holy Mass (because, indeed, during the ordinations the new priests already celebrate the Holy Mass). So they arranged us into two lines, according to the orders that were to be received. We were more than a hundred, both religious and secular clerics of various nationalities; there was even a black man among those who had to be ordained, while another acted as a servant to the cardinal during the ordination. It was a moving scene: despite their differences, they were all united in the bond of the Catholic faith and in brotherly love in Jesus. […] The ceremony took place starting with those who were to receive the tonsure, the minor orders, the sub-diaconate, the diaconate (because during the general orders usually all orders are conferred). There were about twenty candidates for the priesthood. Finally they called us by name, one by one, and, coming from our pews, we went to the center of the sanctuary, and after the singing of the Litany of the Saints, during which those who were to receive the sub-diaconate, the diaconate, and the priesthood were prostrate on the ground, the real rite of priestly ordination began. Before the elevation we were already priests and with His Eminence the Cardinal we pronounced the words of consecration as well as the other prayers of the Holy Mass. I gratefully understand that this whole affair was a gift obtained through the intercession of the Immaculata, our common Mother. How many times in my life, but particularly in the most important ones, have I experienced her special protection! Glory, therefore, to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus through her who was conceived without sin, who is the instrument in the hands of God’s mercy for the distribution of graces. In her, I place all my confidence for the future” (SK 19).
The next day, April 29, 2018, at 5:30 p.m., the International President of the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.) presided over Mass at the Church of St. Andrea delle Fratte, with numerous faithful attending. This was the church where St. Maximilian celebrated his first Mass, one hundred years ago.
These were two powerful and emotional events, during which the M.I. commemorated the Polish saint’s wonderful gift of himself through the priesthood. It was this kind of self-giving that heralded the heroic gesture that would take place in Auschwitz. St. Maximilian, through his example and message, rightly provides a benchmark for priests today. On the same days, 100th anniversary celebrations took place in Niepokalanów, Poland, the city-friary founded by St. Maximilian KOLBE. The Minister General, Friar Marco TASCA was present for those celebrations.

Friar Raffaele DI MURO, M.I. International President