09/14/2016, 17.06
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Love, faith and devotion: Sri Lanka celebrates Saint Teresa of Calcutta

by Melani Manel Perera

The ceremony began with a procession of the statue of the saint. The apostolic nuncio and the auxiliary bishop of Colombo celebrated the service. Nuncio stressed three reasons "why Mother Teresa is really important to us.” Some who met her remember.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – About 1,500 faithful took part in a Thanksgiving Mass in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo dedicated to Mother Teresa, who was declared a saint on 4 September by Pope Francis.

The service was held last Sunday at the St John the Baptist Church in Mutwall, a Colombo neighbourhood, which is where the Missionaries of Charity have their headquarters.

After the Mass, their ‘Shanthi Niwasa’ (House of Peace) was open to the public and hosted an exhibition dedicated to the saint of Calcutta.

The thanksgiving ceremony began with a short procession in which a statue of the Mother, later placed in the church, was carried.

Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot, apostolic nuncio to Sri Lanka, celebrated the Mass together with Mgr Emmanuel Fernando, auxiliary bishop of Colombo, and 15 other priests.

The service was celebrated in three languages ​​– Tamil, English and Sinhalese – with as background choral music sang by parishioners and missionaries.

The faithful offered prayers for the poor, the sick, and the patients abandoned and welcomed into the homes of the Sisters of Mother Teresa, and also for the Holy Father.

“On behalf of Pope Francis, I thank you and the benefactors for the great service you do for the poor of Sri Lanka,” said the apostolic nuncio in the homily. He also stressed three reasons "why Mother Teresa is really important to us.”

“The first is that she taught us to be kind to others. World leaders refer to her as 'Angel of kindness'. She served for free and today her work is carried on by the sisters here and in many parts of the world. "

The second reason is that "even when the Mother experienced ‘God’s silence’, which is the period in which she felt abandoned by the Lord and questioned his presence, she maintained strong her faith."

The third reason "is the shared message that she spread around the world: she did not care about the religious affiliation of people, she stretched out her merciful hands to every human being."

During the offertory, Sr Johannes MC, the mother superior, offered two relics of Mother Teresa – strands of hair - to enrich the exhibition in the house of the Missionaries.

People who knew her confirmed Saint Teresa’s kindness. They include Joseph Bertram, 67, and Kingston Perera, 87, who talked to AsiaNews about the joy "of working together with her. Her kindness, holiness and overflowing love filled everyone, no matter who they were."

Even those who never met Mother, like Maureen Dias and Dinushi Perera (mother and daughter), today thank God "because having her as a saint is a great blessing for all of us."

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