St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan friar and priest who was canonized by the Catholic Church for his martyrdom at Auschwitz during World War II. A fellow prisoner who was married and had children had been selected by the camp guards for starvation in an underground bunker in an attempt to deter further escape attempts by the prisoners. Father Kolbe volunteered to take the man’s place, and accordingly was starved, although his actual death resulted from lethal injection.
I thought I’d write a little about him today as he is the patron saint of many things, including drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. Pope St. John Paul II declared him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century.” Did you know he is the patron saint of the pro-life movement? I hadn’t known this until very recently! I think it’s also quite significant that he’s the patron saint of journalists. What are all of us, each and every time we write letters to editors, compose 40 Days blog entries, post pro-life messages to social media, and publicly share the pro-life message in any way!
St. Max said this:
And he said it back during (or before) World War II. How relevant it is in our own time.
He also said this:
And sacrifice we do, for love of our fellow unborn human beings and their troubled, abortion-minded parents. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us and especially for the unborn and their parents!
Pat M. covered the 7:00-9:00 a.m. shift, and he writes:
My parish, St. Regis in Trafford, kicked off today’s vigil. We had a nice mixture of prayer and good conversation, and were joined for the entire shift by Vince from St. Sebastian in the North Hills, and by Bill H. for a short while. The streets and the sidewalk were very quiet and peaceful.
After wondering if I (Sue M.) would be alone this morning for my 9:00-11:00 a.m. shift, I was so pleasantly surprised to find Vince and Pat M. faithfully MANning the vigil. Pat was kind enough to stay for a little while, as did Vince. Shortly thereafter, I received a text from Marian to say she was on her way – then Nadine and Patty joined me as well! When the call for prayer warriors goes out, you 40 Days folks faithfully answer! Thanks to all! We prayed a lot this morning. The sidewalks were peaceful and not too busy. Marian, always the active Sidewalk Advocate even during 40 Days shifts, passed out quite a bit of 40 Days for Life literature. And the R kids arrived toward the end of my shift and just lit up the sidewalk, as they are known to do, with their smiles, songs, and cheerfulness. What a family!
Rich and Roseann arrived early as they always do for their 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. shift. They write:
Thanks to Cole, Amy, Bob, and Pat from Transfiguration, and also Lisa from Word of God who came to pray and witness with us.
Trish M. shared these photos from her 1:00-3:00 p.m. shift, and she writes:
The weather was damp and chilly. I had Transfiguration Church with me. We got a lot of praying done. Their pastor, Fr. Jim, led a lot of the prayers. When I left, they were singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It was a wonderful day.
Trish closes with this:
As I was pulling away a large crowd surrounded Jim and Cathy S. for their 3:00-5:00 p.m. shift — I will assume to join them to pray. I thought it was a great sight and snapped this picture.
Jeff closed out the day by covering 5:00-7:00 p.m. He writes:
I would like to thank the folks from St. Joseph Church in Amsterdam, Ohio and St John Fisher in Richmond, Ohio for standing with me tonight. Both towns are east of Steubenville, Ohio. Those folks’ drive was longer than my shift. The “D” family was with me from 5-6, as well as Ellen P. and her daughter Clare. Cory and Suzanne and their five kids stayed from 6-7. Maggie and Clare V. were with me from 5-6, and Lisa from Word of God stood from 6-7 after attending St. John’s Passion performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony, and Kathy L. stopped to say a prayer as well.
I took the “D” family to the corner by the alley to see the faded “Jesus is Lord” sign on the side of the building of the gyro shop. It was painted over years ago, but that only served to preserve the original “Jesus” sign, leaving Jesus to show through the attempt to cover Him up. With His help, we can shine through the attempts to thwart His will as well.
This week, prayer warriors are needed to stand with shift manager Marian on Thursday, March 10, from 7-8 a.m. If you can help, please go to https://40daysforlife.com/login/, log in, and sign yourself in for that time slot – or, let Nikki know. Other than that one time slot, I am so happy to report that the weekday hours are all full! Praise God! However, if you can, please do stop down to the vigil this week. It’s predicted that we’re to enjoy record-high temperatures (record-high for this Lent 2016 vigil so far, anyway!), so why not come down and add your voice to our prayers? Hope to see you this week on the sidewalk!