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Mother Teresa’s 100 years celebrations begins
Kolkata, Aug 26 (IANS):
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Published on 26 Aug. 2010 11:38 PM IST
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A two-hour holy mass attended by around 1,000 nuns, priests and commoners at the Missionaries of Charity global headquarters here formally began Mother Teresa’s birth centenary celebrations Thursday.
The Mass, which started at 6.30 a.m. at Mother House, was led by Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, the Archbishop of Ranchi, and concelebrated by around 60 other priests, including the Archbishop of Kolkata Lucas Sarkar and Bishop of Baruipur Salvadore Lobo.
Nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic Christian Order founded by Mother Teresa, took part in the prayers, draped in their traditional white saris.
Missionaries of Charity superior-general Sister Prema, and her predecessor, Sister Nirmala, also attended the mass, held at the first-floor chapel.
“People from all sections of the society, including some of the inmates of the 19 homes run by the Missionaries of Charity in the city, took part in the mass,” said a sister, after Pope Benedict XVI’s message was read out describing Mother Teresa as an “exemplary model of Christian virtue”.
Candles were lit at Mother Teresa’s grave, a simple, rectangular three-feet-high cement tomb on the ground floor of the two-storeyed building decorated with flowers.
Pigeons and balloons were also released in the air on the occasion.
Film festivals, cultural programmes, a special train and exhibitions are lined up to mark the centenary celebrations in the city -- the epicentre of the nun’s work among the poor, old, infirm and the dying.
An exhibition train -- a tribute from the Indian Railways -- showcasing the nun’s life and philanthropic deeds will be opened for public viewing by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Sealdah Station here Thursday evening.
Christened “Mother Express”, the train will travel to different stations of the country over the next six months. It comprises three air-conditioned coaches in which photographs and write-ups on Mother Teresa will be exhibited to project her life, work and message.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in Skopje, which is now in Macedonia, Aug 26, 1910, Mother Teresa left her parental home at 18, and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.
Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and given India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. The Missionaries of Charity now comprises over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.
It runs homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also conducts children’s and family counselling programmes and runs orphanages and schools.
Patil to inaugurate centenary function
President Pratibha Patil will inaugurate a commemorative meeting here to mark Mother Teresa’s birth centenary Saturday.
Sister Prema, the superior general of Missionaries of Charity (the religious order founded by Mother Teresa), representatives of different religions and political leaders will also address the function to be held at the Vigyan Bhawan here, Father Babu Joseph, convenor of the celebrations committee told IANS.
University Grants Commission chairman S. Thorat will Friday deliver the keynote address at a national symposium on Mother Teresa, the Albanian-born nun who dedicated her life to helping leprosy patients, the poor and the abandoned in Kolkata.
Navin Chawla, former chief election commissioner and biographer of Mother Teresa, Girija Vyas, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, P.K. Abdul Azis, vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and Valson Thampu, the principal of St Stephen’s College, Delhi, will be among the speakers at the symposium.
Pope greets Missionaries of Charity on Teresa centenary
Describing Mother Teresa as an “inestimable gift”, Pope Benedict XVI has exhorted the Missionaries of Charity to draw inspiration from her in serving the poor, the sick, the lonely and the abandoned.
“I am confident that this year will be for the Church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work for you, her spiritual children,” the Pope said in a message to MoC superior-general Sr. Prema.
The message was read out by Archbishop of Kolkata Lucas Sirkar at the Mass offered on Thursday morning at the chapel of the MoC headquarters here.
Greeting the MoC on the occasion, the Pope said Mother Teresa exemplified the message of St. John — ”...If God loves us, we ought also to love one another. God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
“May this love continue to inspire you as Missionaries of Charity, to give yourselves generously to Jesus, whom you see and serve in the poor, the sick, the lonely and the abandoned,” the message read.
The Pope said he was spiritually joining the centenary celebrations. “I encourage you to draw constantly from the spirituality and example of Mother Teresa and in her footsteps, to take up Christ’s invitation: ‘Come be my light.”

 
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