"Welcoming, charitable, and empowered
to live the Gospel"

Our Mother of Good Counsel,
located in Bryn Mawr, PA,
just 20 minutes west of Philadelphia,
welcomes all!

St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Nazis and Us

The following is an abridged version of the homily I preached last Monday evening on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

We have gathered here this evening to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Mass is celebrated on the vigil – the night before - therefore, today, the 14th is still the feast of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe. 

Because of the great love that he had for the Virgin Mary – [indeed, he was proclaimed by JPII the “Apostle of Consecration to Mary”] it is appropriate that he was executed and entered the Kingdom on this date in 1941 at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and that the eve of her great Feast became his feast day.

St. Maximilian was an extraordinary human being:  

  • Extraordinary in his love for Jesus Christ and for his Mother Mary;
  • Extraordinary in his hard work and dedication;
  • Extraordinary in his skills and his talent – which he used for the sake of the Gospel;
  • Extraordinary in his talents as a leader of men.  

He was born in Poland 1894. His father was ethnic German; his Mother Polish.  

Kolbe entered the Franciscans at the age of 13. He studied in Rome.  He was ordained a priest at the age of 24 and by 25 had earned Ph.D.s in both philosophy and theology.  

While still a seminarian he established the Knights of the Immaculate, an organization dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the conversion of those who oppose Christ, Christianity, and the Catholic Church.  

After studies in Rome returned to Poland and taught in the seminary in Krakow. 

In 1927, at the age of 33, he founded a new Franciscan monastery called Niepokalanów [City of the Immaculate Mother of God] near Warsaw, which became a major religious publishing center. Before the Second World War broke out, it was the largest monastery in the world, housing as many as 760 men. The town included printing presses, radio station, and was large enough to have a fire company. 

From 1931 to 1936 he established a monastery and printing press in Nagasaki, Japan.  He taught in the diocesan seminary there.  When I worked in Nagasaki in the 1980s, I knew some priests who had him as a professor and some of the elderly Polish friars he brought to Nagasaki.  

In 1936 he returned to Poland and Niepokalanów. The friars’ work there included ministering to marginalized people.  1939 saw the German invasion of Poland – the beginning of WWII.  Niepokalanów welcomed and sheltered refugees from Poland’s western front, including as many as 2000 Jews.

Kolbe refused to sign the Deutsche Volksliste, which would have given him rights similar to those of German citizens in exchange for recognizing his German ancestry.  He published some anti-Nazi publications, so the Gestapo finally shut down the monastery and arrested Kolbe and four other friars.  He was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz in May of 1941. 

During his months there he ministered tirelessly to the spiritual and physical needs of his fellow prisoners.

At the end of July 3 prisoners escaped.  The Nazi SS deputy camp commander picked 10 men to be starved to death in their stead.  When one of the selected men cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place.

He continued to minister to the men condemned with him.  Finally, after two weeks he was the only one left alive and was executed by poison injection.  

It’s appropriate for us to think about St. Maximilian Kolbe tonight on the vigil of this feast of the Blessed Mother. 

  • This man who is such a wonderful example to us in his devotion to Christ, to his Mother, and to the Church.
  • Who is such a wonderful example to us in his sacrificial love for his fellow human beings.
  • Who is such a wonderful example to us in his resistance to the forces of hatred within society.  
    • Forces of hatred, bigotry and racial supremacy, embodied by the SS and the Nazis...
    • Forces that finally caused his execution and martyrdom.  

And the frightening thing is that last Saturday in Charlottesville, VA, we were reminded in a very graphic way that those forces of hatred and bigotry are still active within our own society, our own nation!    

Brothers and sisters, on this night and during these difficult days, 
let us call upon the intercession 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Maximilian Kolbe – 
and pray that the Lord grant us the abundant grace and guidance 
as individuals and as a society, 
not to give in to the forces of hatred, bigotry and racial supremacy, 
but to stand up and live as Christ teaches us, in unity, respect, harmony and charity with and for others.  

Ordination of Aldo Potencio, OSA this Saturday

This coming Saturday the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova has the joy of celebrating the presbyteral ordination of our brother, Deacon Aldo Potencio, OSA. The Mass of ordination will begin at 10:30 AM at Our Mother of Counsel Church, Bryn Mawr.

Ordaining bishop will be Most Rev. Robert F. Prevost, O.S.A, Bishop of Chiclayo, Peru.

Father Aldo’s Mass of Thanksgiving (“First Mass”) will take place this coming Sunday at 9:30 AM, also at OMGC.

All are welcome to both celebrations! 

OMGC Facebook Page Topped 200 users!

The Our Mother of Counsel Parish Facebook page now has over 200 users.  We regularly post upcoming events, Holy Day Mass schedules, information of note from Pope Francis, Archbishop Chaput, the Augustinians and other important items on this page.  If you are a Facebook user, this page will help you stay connected with the parish. 

Click here to get connected: https://www.facebook.com/OMGCBrynMawr

Mass Intentions for 2018

The Mass intention book for 2018 will open on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.

As in the past, each parishioner may request intentions for up to four (4) Sunday Masses per year.  Likewise, in order to ensure fairness for persons at the back of the line, each parishioner may request intentions for up to twelve (12) weekday Masses at this time. Then on Tuesday, August 22 after everyone has had a chance to make their requests, all parishioners who have already secured 12 weekday Mass intentions will be free to request as many as they need.

Thank you very much for your understanding.

Fr. Liam

Morning Prayer at OMGC

Here at Our Mother of Good Counsel, each Monday through Saturday morning, we celebrate Morning Prayer in common following the 8:00am Mass. Everyone is invited (around 8:30am) to join us in the daily chapel for this beautiful way to begin the day!

Parish Reminders

Food Allergies

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