Bells chimed, people cheered and nuns sang hymns at the mother house of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MC) in eastern India’s Kolkata city, formerly Calcutta, as Pope Francis declared her a saint at a canonization Mass in the Vatican. They broke into an applause when they watched on big TV screens the live ceremony of the canonization. Hundreds of local people, including nuns, volunteers at the Missionaries of Charity houses from India and abroad had gathered at the motherhouse of the congregation where St. Teresa died and was buried 19 years ago.
The Missionaries of Charity nuns had put up three big TV screens in different parts of the MC headquarters so people could watch the ceremony. The city's civic authorities had also installed a big screen on a street next to the motherhouse for the people to watch the live ceremony. The police too had made elaborate security arrangements assisting the nuns in handling the crowd inside and outside the Missionaries of Charity headquarters. Leaders from other faiths also came to pay their respects at St. Teresa's tomb.
After the canonization Mass in the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio celebrated Mass by the side of the tomb of new St. Teresa of Kolkata. "She was a great gift for India, a witness of hope, joy and peace. The great secret power of St. Teresa was to care for the needy, hungry, wounded and those in the prison as she saw Christ in each one of them. She was tiny in physical stature but strong as a rock of faith," he told the gathering in Kolkata. "Pope Francis told me that St. Teresa is the icon of mercy and must have her sainthood in this special jubilee Year of Mercy," he said.
During the Mass, Archbishop Pennacchio gifted the nuns a chalice and a special stamp on Mother Teresa released at the Vatican. The nuns ended the celebrations with singing of hymns, much clapping and distribution of cake among the devotees.
Meanwhile, the chief minister of West Bengal, of which Kolkata is the capital, was a guest of the Missionaries of Charity nuns in Rome, attending the canonization ceremony by Pope Francis. There was also an official delegation of the government of India at the canonization, headed by the minister for foreign affairs, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj.
While Pope Francis proclaimed Mother Teresa of Calcutta a saint in Rome, hundreds of Catholics in Pakistan flocked at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore for a Mass and visited an exposition of Mother Teresa's relics. Archbishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore, led the Mass in honour of Mother Teresa, which was attended by many disabled women accepted and treated in the ‘Home of Love’ run by the Missionaries of Charity nuns. Those present followed the live television coverage of Mother Teresa’s canonization Mass in Rome’s St Peter’s Square. Speaking to the faithful, Archbishop Shah said Mother Teresa "lived a life of poverty to show that God is with the poor. She became the model of His mercy and love. We need such people in our society today. Every Catholic is called to be a saint: do not be afraid to become one,” he added.
At the end of the Mass, the MC nuns showed three relics of the saint which have been in the chapel of their home since Mother Teresa’s beatification in 2003. Today, some 50 women and girls with mental and physical disabilities are cared for by the nuns in the facility.
In the Union Territory of Puducherry, also in South India, people cherished their bond with Mother Teresa remembering her visits to the coastal town. She had visited Puducherry four times — in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1995. The Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Puducherry, organized a photo exhibition with a huge board that read, “Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata”. A thanksgiving rally was also held at the church, Sunday evening. Mother Teresa established two centers in Puducherry and a centre for AIDS patients in Kalapet.
Meanwhile, in the southern Indian city of Vijayawada people from various walks of life, including several civil authorities, paid tribute to Mother Teresa on Sunday, as Pope Francis declared her a saint. At an event organized by the Conference of Religious India (CRI) of the Diocese of Vijayawada, a large number of sisters of the Missionaries of Charity and others from various churches took out processions from the Gunadala Church, St. Paul’s Cathedral and IGMC stadium. The processions culminated at the Siddhartha College centre where floral tributes were paid at the statue of ‘St. Teresa’. “This is a moment every human being should cherish and resolve to contribute his or her mite for the uplift of the dying and the destitute,” chief guest, Police Commissioner D. Gautam Sawang said.