Mercy, poor at center of Blessed Teresa's canonization events

IMAGE: CNS photo/Michael Collopy

By Junno Arocho Esteves

— The poor, the suffering and those who minister to them will be at the center
of celebrations leading up to the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata at the Vatican.

The main event — the canonization Mass — will begin at
10:30 a.m. Sept. 4, the Vatican announced Aug. 5.

A “family
feast” for the poor, a musical, Masses and prayer vigils will
precede her canonization, according
to programs published by the Vatican and by the Missionaries of Charity, the
order she founded.

Known as the “saint of the gutters,” Mother Teresa was
revered for ministering to the sick and the dying in some of the world’s
poorest neighborhoods.

Born Agnes Gonxha
Bojaxhiu in 1910 to an ethnic
Albanian family in Skopje, in what is now part of Macedonia, Mother Teresa went
to India as a Sister of Loreto in 1929. Receiving what she described as a
“call within a call,” she began her missionary work with the poor and
laid the foundation for what would become the Missionaries of Charity.

Following her death in 1997, St. John Paul II waived the
usual five-year waiting period and allowed the opening of the process to
declare her sainthood. She was beatified in 2003.

The date of Mother
Teresa’s canonization will coincide with the conclusion of the Year of Mercy
pilgrimage for workers and ministers engaged in works of mercy.

Here are the main
events planned around the canonization of Mother Teresa:

— Sept. 1, “feast
for the poor and Missionaries of Charity family,” including a musical
based on Mother Teresa’s life.

— Masses Sept. 2 in
various languages in
Rome’s Basilica of St. Anastasia al Palatino and veneration of her relics. In the
evening, a prayer vigil with solemn eucharistic adoration will be held at Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran with
Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal vicar of Rome, presiding.

— Catechesis Sept.
3 by Pope Francis for the jubilee
celebration of workers and volunteers for mercy. In the evening, a
prayer and musical meditation will be held at Rome’s Basilica of St. Andrea della Valle
followed by veneration of Mother Teresa’s relics and Mass.

— Canonization Mass Sept. 4. Pilgrims will be able to
venerate St. Teresa’s relics in the evening at the Basilica of St. John

— Celebration Sept. 5 of a Mass of
thanksgiving and the first feast of St. Teresa of Kolkata in St. Peter’s
Basilica with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, presiding.
Pilgrims will be able to venerate the relics of St. Teresa at St. John Lateran
in the evening.

— Sept. 6,
continuing veneration of the relics of St. Teresa at St. John Lateran.

— Sept. 7-8, veneration of the relics
of St. Teresa of Kolkata at Rome’s Church of St. Gregory the Great, along with the
possibility of visiting her room at the convent of St. Gregory.

– – –

Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article