Largest US Tour of Relics Commemorates 75th Anniversary of Martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe


The Franciscan Friars Conventual of the Our Lady of the Angels Province are sponsoring the largest tour of St. Maximilian’s relics in the United States to commemorate the 75th anniversary of his martyrdom.  The pilgrimage of St. Kolbe’s relics began on January 15th in Maryland and will visit 38 locations along the east coast of the U.S. and Canada before returning to St. Anthony’s in Maryland for the closing ceremony of the tour on his feast day, August 14th.

In 1941, Maximilian Kolbe gave up his life in place of a fellow prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during World War II.  On October 10, 1982, St. Maximilian Kolbe was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II and declared the “Patron Saint of our difficult century,” and a Martyr of Charity.  He is the patron Saint of prisoners, the pro-life movement, addicts, journalists, and families.

Kolbe Reliquary

Courtesy of Franciscan Friars Conventual

The special reliquary holds strands of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s beard and is one of four that were created in 1971, 11 years before his canonization (hence the designation of Blessed on the reliquary).  According the the Franciscan Friars Conventual, “[The reliquary] contains many symbols from the life of St. Maximilian: the base is in the shape of his birthplace of Poland, covered in the “thorns” of occupation by the Third Reich. Out of those thorns, however, burst forth a lily of purity and a tulip of martyrdom – symbols of love triumphing over hate. The strands of our saint’s beard are housed in a glass case entwined with our Franciscan knotted cord representing his vocation to our Order and our vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.”

In 1917 Maximilian Kolbe established the Militia Immaculata (MI), “a worldwide evangelization movement [that] encourages total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.”

The complete tour schedule by state for U.S. and Canada is as follows.  For a list by date go here.  Make sure to contact the parish for details before making your plans.  For other relic tours visit our Relics & Events page.

The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure, Toronto, ON  ~  May 27-29
The Church of St. John Apostle and Holy Family, Kingston, ON  ~ May 30 – June 2

Felician Franciscan Sisters (Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice), Enfield  ~  June 28-30
St. Paul Catholic Church, Kensington and St. John Catholic Church, Cromwell  ~  July 1-7

St. Lucie Catholic Church, Port St. Lucie  ~ April 1-3
St. Mark Catholic Church, Boynton Beach  ~  April 8-10

Holy Cross Catholic Church, Atlanta  ~  April 15-17
St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Jonesboro  ~  April 21-24

The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City  ~  January 15-17 (Opening Ceremonies)
Provincial House (Portiuncula Friary), Ellicott City  ~  January 18-21
St. Casimir Church, Baltimore  ~  January 22-24
St. Wenceslaus Church, Baltimore  ~  January 29-31
Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore  ~  February 2-4
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore  ~  February 5-7
St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Church, Baltimore  ~  February 13-15
Post Novitiate (St. Bonaventure Friary), Silver Spring, MD  ~  February 22-24
The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City  ~  August 14 (Closing Ceremonies)

Our Lady of the Cross Parish, Holyoke  ~  June 17-19
St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Chicopee  ~  June 21-23
Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, Chicopee  ~  June 24-26
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, New Bedford  ~  July 8-10

St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, Athol Springs  ~  May 20-22
St. Francis High School, Athol Springs  ~  May 24-26
The Franciscan Church of the Assumption, Syracuse ~  June 3-5
National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, Fonda~  June 10-12
Sisters of the Resurrection, Castleton ~  June 13-15
St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church, Elmhurst  ~  July 15-17
San Damiano Mission, Brooklyn ~  July 18-20
The Roman Catholic Community of Most Holy Trinity-St. Mary, Brooklyn ~  July 22-24

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Point Pleasant Beach  ~  July 29-31
The Church of St. Catharine of Siena, Seaside Park
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Seaside Heights  ~  August 5-7

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Burlington  ~  February 27-29
Holy Cross Catholic Church, Durham  ~  March 4-6
Newman Catholic Student Center Parish, UNC at Chapel Hill  ~  March 7-9
Iglesia Catolica de St. Julia (Catholic Church), Siler City  ~  March 11-13
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Winston-Salem  ~  March 15-18

Mother Cabrini Catholic Church, Shamokin  ~  April 29-May 1
St. Patrick Parish, Trevorton  ~  May 6-8
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Johnstown  ~  May 13-15

The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC ~  February 17-21

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