Monday, 5 September 2016

Kolkata - Blessed by Mother Teresa

By Isaac Harold Gomes

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”.

At 90, Archbishop Emeritus Henry Sebastian D'Souza Goes To His Heavenly Abode

30th June 10 am St Thomas Parish, Middleton Row, Kolkata was the venue for the funeral mass of Archbishop Emeritus Henry Sebastian D'Souza. Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo led the Eucharist concelebrated by 14 prelates. As the church was packed to capacity, many devotees who thronged St Thomas Church were accommodated in the Loreto House AC hall, where a video screen was put up to catch up with the proceedings.
Fr. Dominic Gomes, Vicar General, read out the life sketch of Archbishop Emeritus Henry D’Souza, in particular the milestones during his long years of pastoral service as Bishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and then as Archbishop of Calcutta (All reports said that the Archbishop was born in Calcutta whereas the says he was born in Igatpuri, a town and hill station in Nasik).
Archbishop Thomas D’Souza in his homily read out a message from His Holiness Pope Francis who expressed his condolence for the demise of Archbishop Emeritus Henry D’Souza. He said: “And let us pray for those in the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Calcutta.”  In his message His Holiness joined the faithful gathered in giving thanks to God for the years of pastoral service which Archbishop Henry D’Souza gave to the church in Calcutta and prayed for the repose of his soul. To all present he imparted his cordial blessing as a pledge of consolation and hope in the Risen Lord.  The Archbishop’s tenor was one of thanksgiving and making an effort to emulate the good work of the late prelate.

Bishop Monis Cyprian of Asansol Diocese expressed profound gratitude to his mentor Henry for all his success. He narrated how Calcutta Archdiocese was bifurcated and Asansol Diocese carved out, with him being installed Bishop on 12th March 1998.

There were several speakers including the late Archbishop’s brother & niece and Derek O’Brien Rajya Sabha MP who shared their fond memories of the late Archbishop Henry D’Souza.

The sedate choir of the Missionaries of Charity sisters caught everyone's attention – it was simply sublime. The Bengali choir too sang very well.

Among the 14 prelates, including Archbishops Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur and John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Monsignor Joseph Chinnayyan Deputy Secretary General of CBCI, and scores of priests and nuns who bid farewell to the founder and former President of Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), was   Mother Teresa’s Spiritual Adviser Fr Rosario Stroscio (Auxilium Parish) who on 18th May celebrated his 95th birthday.

Fr Rodney Borneo of the Young Brigade conducted the proceedings admirably.

Brief Sketch of Archbishop Emeritus Henry D’Souza’s pastoral life:

Born in Igatpuri (Nasik) in1926

Igatpuri (Nasik)

On 24th August 1948 he was Ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church

24 January, 1974: He was appointed Bishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, India

He was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of   Calcutta, India on 5th April 

He then succeeded to become  Archbishop of  Calcutta, India

2 April 2002, he retired from the post of Archbishop Of Calcutta, India

On 27 Jun 2016, he passed away to meet his maker at his heavenly abode.