Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (17: 22-27) in which Jesus predicts his death saying, ‘“The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men. They will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised to life, again”. Afterwards Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Maximilian Kolbe whose memorial we celebrate today. Maximilian was born on 8 January 1894 in occupied Poland: he joined the Franciscans in 1910, and was ordained eight years later, as his country became free and independent for the first time in over 120 years. Maximilian believed that the world was passing through a time of intense spiritual crisis, and that Christians must fight for the world’s salvation with all the means of modern communication. He founded a newspaper, and a sodality called the Knights of Mary Immaculate, which spread widely both in Poland and abroad. In 1927 he founded a community, a ‘city of Mary’ at Teresin: centred round the Franciscan friary, it attracted many lay people, and became self-supporting, publishing many periodicals and running its own radio station. In 1930 he went to Japan. He studied Buddhism and Shintoism, and through the Japanese edition of his newspaper spread the Christian message in a way that was in harmony with Japanese culture. In Nagasaki, he set up a ‘Garden of the Immaculate’, which survived the atomic bomb. He also travelled to Malabar and to Moscow but was recalled to Poland in 1936 for reasons of health. When the Germans invaded in 1939, the community at Teresin sheltered thousands of refugees, most of them Jews. In 1941 Maximilian was arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he helped the inmates. In August of that year a prisoner escaped, and in reprisal the authorities were choosing ten people to die by starvation. One of the men had a family, and Maximilian Kolbe offered to take his place. The offer was accepted, and he spent his last days comforting his fellow prisoners. The man he saved that day was present at his canonization as a saint. So today Fr Paul invites us to pray ‘St Maximilian Kolbe…pray for us!’