In Calcutta, an Interreligious Tribute to Mother Teresa

Hindu Mayor Thanks the Church for the Newly Beatified

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CALCUTTA, India, NOV. 14, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Avvenire).- An interreligious gathering in honor of Mother Teresa brought to a close in Calcutta the celebrations for her beatification.



In a solemn ceremony Sunday, the Hindu mayor of the city, Subroto Mukherji, expressed his "gratitude to the Catholic Church" for having given a figure like Mother Teresa to Calcutta.

The day began with an interreligious prayer meeting that included some 20 representatives of different creeds --Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Jews -- in addition to Christian confessions.

Together with the Catholics, all lit a lamp and placed a garland of flowers around the neck of a life-size statue of Mother Teresa.

"She was the incarnation of love, compassion, and purity," said Giani Jogindler Singh Vedanti, high priest of the Sikhs of the Golden Temple of Amristsar, near Calcutta.

Praising her as "a real saint," Muslim Imam Irfan Sher of Calcutta added that "she showed how a woman can become the mother of the whole of humanity."

The previous afternoon, a solemn Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated in the Calcutta cathedral. "We thank God for the gift of Mother Teresa to the world," Archbishop Lucas Sirkar said in his homily. "The presence of so many people witnesses the greatness of the love that God has poured out on us through Mother Teresa."

Sister Nirmala Joshi, superior of the Missionaries of Charity, one of the congregations founded by Mother Teresa, said: "The dream that God had about Mother has become through her the dream of Calcutta and of the whole world: to be his heart and hands to those who are poor and rejected."