ucanews.com reporter, KolkataUpdated: March 16, 2016 08:24 AM GMT
Nuns sing at the tomb of Blessed Mother Teresa in Kolkata, India, soon after Pope Francis announced Sept. 4 as the date for the canonization of the nun. (Photo by Anne Nigli)
Missionaries of Charity nuns and Catholics in Kolkata are planning a series of cultural and interfaith events to celebrate the canonization of Blessed Teresa on Sept. 4.
The congregation, headquartered in eastern city of Kolkata, will be scheduling events in collaboration with Calcutta Archdiocese.
"The dates and venues are yet to be finalized. We will start with a thanksgiving service," Sunil Lucas, president of Signis India, a world Catholic communications association, told ucanews.com.
After Pope Francis announced Sept. 4 as the date of Mother Teresa's canonization in Rome, the nuns and laity gathered before the saintly nun's tomb and sang hymns of thanksgiving, followed by Mass.
"We are grateful to God and pope. All the sisters were extremely happy and eager to learn more how to live mother's mission of love," Sister Prema, the order's superior, told ucanews.com.
Speaking about the nuns who were shot dead by militants in Yemen, she said that "by shedding their blood, the sisters are assured of the crown of martyrs."
Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Calcutta in his homily said Mother Teresa drew people of all castes and creed.
"When mother was alive, she saw many crosses all around — the cross of illness, misunderstanding and poverty. She understood that the answer lies in the cross of Christ who overcame all the difficulties by love," he said.
He said it was only appropriate that she will be canonized during the Year of Mercy.
"Mother Teresa said she will give saints to the church and she has led by example," he said.
"We have to carry on her legacy with the responsibility to see that poverty is lessened and continue her mission of love in families. She was a humble servant of the poorest of the poor and a model of holiness," he said.
Harsh Singh, 25, who volunteers at the Missionaries of Charity's motherhouse, said he would certainly visit Rome for Mother Teresa's canonization ceremony.
Claire Garrett, a volunteer from California in the United States, said the announcement confirmed what "we already know and it is a beautiful way to tell the whole world."
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia. She went to India in 1929 as a novice with the Loreto nuns. She left the congregation in the late 1940s and started the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.
Mother Teresa died of cardiac arrest at the congregation's motherhouse in Kolkata on Sept. 5, 1997, aged 87. Her canonization process began two years afterward. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2003. Her tomb at the motherhouse has become a pilgrimage center.
In 1979 Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor in the slums of Kolkata.