A solemn Mass at the Missionaries of Charity’s global headquarters here on Thursday marked the formal beginning of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of Mother Teresa by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kolkata.
The early morning Mass at the first-floor chapel of Mother House was attended by Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi as the main celebrant.
Archbishop of Kolkata Lucas Sirkar, Bishop of Baruipur Salvadore Lobo, Archbishop Emeritus Henry D’Souza were the concelebrants of the Mass along with nearly 60 other priests, including Fr. Brian Kolodeijchuk, the postulator for the cause of Mother Teresa’s sainthood.
MoC superior-general Sister Prema, and her predecessor, Sister Nirmala also attended the Mass, taking their position near the praying statute of Mother Teresa inside the chapel.
In his homily, Cardinal Toppo dwelt on the stages of Mother’s life and exhorted the world to follow the philosophy which she embodied — being an instrument of God’s love.
A message from Pope Benedict XVI was read out at the Mass.
The service over, Cardinal Toppo, the Bishops, Sisters Prema and Nirmala came down to the courtyard of Mother House to release balloons and pigeons as a symbol of peace, amid thunderous applause from the assembled nuns and the laity.
Kolkata had a special place in Mother’s heart as it was here that she began her service for the poor and made the headquarters of her global order.