Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Church named for Mother Teresa celebrating her canonization

Published:Sunday | August 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Volunteers stand at the entrance of a movie house beside a poster of Mother Teresa International Film Festival in Kolkata, India, yesterday.


When Blessed Teresa of Calcutta becomes St Teresa of Calcutta next month, bells will ring all over the world, and some of that joyful clanging will be at a church in this coal region borough where the Albanian nun left an indelible impression during a 1995 visit.

The time of canonisation, it should be noted, is expected to be about 10:30 a.m. Rome time, which means the bells will be chiming in Mahanoy City at 4:30 a.m., give or take a few minutes.

"I'm not sure our neighbours are going to be happy," said Donna DiCasimirro, head of the canonisation activities committee for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish.

"But it's from that minute on, not later in the day when we do our own celebration, she will be a saint."

Not that the church is waiting until the September 4 canonisation to celebrate. It has a long list of events scheduled, from a peace rally to a nine-day prayer to a Mass celebrated by Bishop John O. Barres.

No one is more excited about Mother Teresa's elevation to sainthood than the congregation at Blessed Teresa at 600 W. Mahanoy Ave.

In 1995, at the end of a tour of the United States, the Nobel laureate attended Mass at the parish, then known as St Joseph's, speaking for 15 minutes about love for the poor and mercy for the most vulnerable.

She was 84 at the time, unmistakable with her careworn face and the blue-and-white habit of the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity. The faithful lined the streets of the Schuylkill County town and packed the church to see her.

Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, concluded her tour in the borough because she wanted to visit the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity convent that opened there in 1991.