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Saint Teresa: Pride Of India


THE VATICAN - Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square on Sunday morning to witness Pope Francis confer on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta the stauts of Saint.

The crowd received the long-awaited declaration with thunderous applause, a throng comprised people from all walks of life, from Cardinals to presidents to priests to ministers to beggars. And they came from all the continents.

Nearly 200 television companies from around the world were present to give live coverage to tens of millions of viewers. Also present were nearly 700 journalists representing print and other media.

Security did not allow visitors to gather at the square the night before, and so they crowded at the gates from early morning to get a vantage position. Everyone had to face the security paraphernalia.

The sun was mercilessly hot, but that did not deter those who wanted to see Mother Teresa, the woman who saw Christ in the poorest of the poor, raised to the galaxy of saints beginning with St. Michael to St. Peter to St. John Paul II.

Long before the ceremony began with the singing of the hymn of the Jubilee of Mercy, the square was filled to capacity with many left to wait outside. They did not miss the programme, however, as huge screens were in place to give them a clear view of the proceedings.

The large audience listened in silence as Cardinal Angelo Amato read a brief biography of Mother Teresa. In about seven minutes, he recounted how the Mother who was born at Skopje, Albania, on August 26, 1910, and was named Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu, founded the Missionaries of Charity and became an icon of care, compassion and love for the poor. He concluded saying, "She thus became an icon of God's tender and merciful love for all, especially for those who are unloved, unwanted and uncared for. From heaven she continues to "kindle a light for those living in darkness here on earth."

Nuns -- some wearing the distinctive blue and white robes of Mother Teresa’s order -- crammed into the square in front of St. Peter's Basilica along with pilgrims and tourists for the two-hour ceremony.

A large portrait of the Mother overlooked the square from its position on the much-photographed walls of the Basilica. Police officers and volunteers in yellow tabards and baseball caps marshalled the crowds between crash barriers, and Red Cross workers handed out bottles of water.

About 1,500 homeless people from Italy were given seats of honor at the celebration, which was to be followed by a pizza lunch served by 250 nuns and priests of the Missionaries of Charity on the orders of the Pope.

When Cardinal Amato and Mother Teresa's Postulator P. Bryan, implored Pope Francis to declare her Saint, the head of the Catholic Church rose and said, "For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith, and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, and after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a Saint and we enroll her among the Saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church. In the name of the father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

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