At a noon blessing Aug. 15, accompanying the recitation of the Angelus on the feast of the Assumption, Pope John Paul II spoke about the deep Marian devotion of a fellow Pole, St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was put to death at the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz, Aug. 14, 1941.

Recalling Mary's assumption and marking the 60th anniversary of St. Maximilian's martyrdom, the Pope said he wanted to underline how the saint's dedication to Mary fueled his faith and his sense of self-sacrifice.