26th August 2016 Kolkata the City of Joy witnessed two events. The first took place at 6 am at the Mother House where in the presence of a large contingent of Press Photographers, a Holy Eucharist was celebrated to commemorate the Birthday of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who is going to be canonized in Rome on 4th September 2016 as Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
In his homily, the Archbishop said the Mass was offered to commemorate the 107th Birthday of Mother Teresa and also to pray for children, especially for Mamta and Shilpi who were going to Italy for adoption. His homily was on Wisdom and Foolishness based on the parable of 5 wise virgins. He said wisdom consisted not in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in lofty words but in telling the world of the power of Jesus crucified.
He mentioned of Pope Francis’ visit to World War II Concentration Camp in Poland where the Germans in their smallness of mind put to death more than one million Jews - that was foolishness. His Grace said that we must thank the Lord for having given us the gift of life and the Mother. Her life was a mission to proclaim the Good News of Jesus who said “I am the way, the Truth and the Light.” Renunciation, asceticism and sacrifice were the hallmarks of Mother Teresa who emulating Jesus on the Cross, dedicated her life in the service of others. All of us are called to share our lives for others whether we are priests, religious or people having families. That is God’s wisdom of life for us. That is why mother chose the name Missionaries of Charity - for love involves charity, sharing and sacrifice. He mentioned an anecdote where the Mother gave a short speech in Bengali. There was pin-drop silence in the large gathering and all listened with rapt attention. One priest whispered “We say the same thing but nobody listens! “ Mother’s life was a message. In passing, the Archbishop said that it was his birthday too. What a pleasant coincidence!
The second event was at the Archbishop’s House in the evening, where in a closed ceremony, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, unveiled a 5.2 feet tall bronze statue of Blessed Mother Teresa, along with the birthday boy Archbishop Thomas D’Souza and sister Lysa, Assistant General of Missionaries of Charity. The statue has been donated by industrialist and philanthropist, Mr Namit Bajoria who is the Designate Honorary Consul of Republic of Macedonia in Kolkata. It was a rare event because the statue was erected just beside that of St John Paul II who on 19th October 2003 had declared the Mother “Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta” when he was the Pope. What a turn of events for the Mother who destined by God travelled miles from her birth place Macedonia (Skopje) to do her missionary work in the dingy slums of Motijheel, Kolkata. Even before she is being canonized as “St Teresa of Calcutta” on 4th September 2016, to the world she is already famous as the “Saint of the Gutters”.