Calcutta – Only one year after her canonization, the Vatican declared Mother Teresa of Calcutta a patron saint of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, where she spent her life serving the poorest of the poor.
On September 6, 2017, the Archbishop of the Calcutta diocese celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary. Mother Teresa joins Saint Francis Xavier as patrons of the Archdiocese. “We wanted to make Mother our co-patroness. We seek her intercession and give her prominence that is due especially in a city like Calcutta and the Archdiocese of Calcutta,” Archbishop D’Souza told IANS.
Around 500 people attended the Mass, where Vicar General Dominique Gomes read the decree released by the Vatican that affirmed Mother Teresa as the second patron saint of the Archdiocese. The Vatican’s ambassador to India, Giambattista Diquattro, also attended the Mass.
The patronage comes as an answer to the prayers of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa. In celebration of the announcement, the sisters organized all-faith prayer sessions.
“In the evening an all-faith prayer session was conducted which was attended by representatives from temples, mosques and gurudwaras. They assembled, talked about Mother and prayed together. This was important, since whenever Mother prayed, she prayed for all and not just for Christians,” Sunita Kumar, spokesperson of Missionaries of Charity, told the Hindustan Times.
Relics of Mother Teresa will be given to the numerous churches that have asked for one after the patronage was declared. “There are many churches in the world that already have a place preserved in their church where the relic of the Mother will be venerated,” Sister Prema, Superior-General of the Missionaries of Charity, said in an interview with the Vatican.
As co-patronesses, Mother Teresa’s name will be mentioned during the Masses said in the Archdiocese.
At her canonization Mass in 2016, Pope Francis called Mother Teresa a model of holiness, saying, “Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded.”