Kolkata to celebrate Mother’s sainthood with thanksgiving mass

Kolkata, March 15 (IANS) To celebrate the historical event of Mother Teresa’s canonisation, the Archdiocese of Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity will be organising a big thanksgiving mass, it was announced on Tuesday.

The news of Pope Francis announcing September 4 as the date for Mother Teresa’s canonisation sent ripples of joys across the city including the Nobel laureate-founded Missionaries of Charity (MoC).

“The occasion is historic not just for Kolkata or India but for the entire world. Nothing can match the momentousness of the occasion, but we have planned a thanksgiving mass which will be hosted at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on October 2,” said Archbishop Thomas D’Souza.

“The event is being planned and several eminent personalities from across the world including representatives from the Vatican would be invited for the event,” he said, adding that on September 4, holy mass will be held across the churches.

Besides Archbishop D’Souza, MoC superior-general Sister Prema Pierick and several other dignitaries and individuals connected to Mother House, will travel to Vatican for the ceremony.

Monica Besra –a tribal woman from West Bengal’s South Dinajpur district– whose ‘miracle’ cure was instrumental in Mother’s beatification, is also expected to accompany the delegation to the Vatican.

MoC spokesperson Sunita Kumar, who spent 36 years of her life with Mother, is overjoyed at the prospect of actually witnessing the event in her life time.

“The greatest joy for me is that this has happened in my lifetime. I spent 36 years of life with her before her death and it was she who appointed me at the MoC spokesperson,” she said.

“She is being given highest honour of sainthood for the work she has done for poor people. The feeling cannot be described in words,” added Kumar.

Known across the world as the Mother, Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor, sick, old and lonely in the slums of Kolkata.

She died on September 5, 1997, and was beatified just six years later by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

More than 300,000 pilgrims went to Rome in 2003 for Teresa’s beatification — the first step towards sainthood.

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