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New saint venerated at the cathedral

HONG KONG (SE): Around 1,000 people joined the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity at a thanksgiving Mass expressing their joy over the canonisation of St. Teresa of Kolkata at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Caine Road on September 11.

The Mass was organised by the diocese and celebrated by John Cardinal Tong Hon, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung and Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, together with a number of priests.

Cardinal Tong had attended the canonisation ceremony at the Vatican on September 4.

The sisters of the Missionaries of Charity presented relics of the founder of their congregation as part of the entrance procession, enthroning them before her picture at a special shrine set up for the occasion, after which a life history of Mother Teresa was read.

The sisters then offered a pair of rosary beads and a pencil, as their founding inspiration had always described herself as being a pencil in the hand of God.

They carried an oil lamp, symbolising the woman known to the world as the Saint of the Poor, as being the light on the world in her living out of the teaching of Jesus Christ and placed it on the shrine.

Bishop Ha described her as being inspired by two words uttered by Jesus on the cross that are inscribed in the chapels of every house of the congregation, “I thirst.” He also pointed out that she never wavered in her determination to serve the poor.

Bishop Ha said he learned through attending a two-day exhibition of her life at the Caritas Institute for Higher Education in Tsuen Kwan O on the previous weekend that she was unable to feel the love of God in her life for most of her years as a friend of the streets, but still persisted in loving people during the darkness of her 48 years as a tormented soul, which reflected her virtue and dedication to being with people to the end.

Mother Teresa used to say, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Two men shared during the Mass that they had come to know about God through meeting the Missionaries of Charity.

One, who simply gave his name as Chan, thanked Mother Teresa for the gift of the Home of Love, which took him in after he was estranged from his family more than 10 years ago.

He said that he was baptised after leaving the centre and then sought reconciliation with his family, finally becoming a volunteer at the centre with the sisters’ congregation.

Sister John Vianny Pyloth, the regional superior of the Missionaries of Charity in Hong Kong, expressed her gratitude to the local Church for allowing them to set up their services in the 1980s.

She especially thanked the poor themselves, whom she described as willingly accepting them and the services that they offer, which enabled them to set up a base in the city.

She said that she wishes to thank everyone on behalf of their founder and that she believes the trademark smile of the newly-canonised saint will live in people’s hearts and encourage them to follow her on mission.

Sister Pyloth, who also attended the canonisation ceremony at the Vatican, recalled that the representative of Missionaries of Charity said before the ceremony that it is a beautiful experience to journey with the poor.

She explained that she joined the congregation while Mother Teresa was still living and always found her to be a model of mercy.

Although her mother, Drana Bojaxhiu, was widowed when young Agnes Gonxha was only eight-years-old, she ran an open table in their home inviting any one in need to dine with the family.

“My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others,” she consistently counselled her daughter. “Some of them are our relations, but all of them are our people.”

A lesson never forgotten seems to be at the root of one of Mother Teresa’s favourite sayings, “One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”

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