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Blessed Mother Teresa parish’s namesake to be canonized

Photo from the Vatican website.

The Catholic world celebrated an announcement Friday by Pope Francis that Mother Teresa of Calcutta will become a saint. 

Mother Teresa is known for educating the poorest children of Kolkata, India (formerly Calcutta) and her devotion to helping the world’s most destitute people. A self-described “citizen of the world,” she founded the religious order “Missionaries of Charity” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Credit Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish
Father Lawrence Damian, Pastor of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Depew, NY

Father Lawrence Damian, Pastor of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Depew, said it’s "marvelous" to honor Mother Teresa during the Catholic Year of Mercy. He said Mother Teresa was the epitome of a merciful Christian.

“She extended herself to extend God’s mercy to the lost and the forlorn, the sick and the dying, the abandoned,” said Damian. “She’s a tremendous model for us to share God’s mercy with people whom we know and people who we meet.”

Mother Teresa passed away in 1997 and was beatified five years later with attribution of her first miracle by Pope John Paul II. Pope Francis approved a second miracle, required for canonization, involving the healing of a Brazilian man suffering from brain tumors.

The announcement was long-awaited by many in the Catholic world. Damian said members of his parish always knew in their hearts that Mother Teresa was a saint.

“We just waited for the process to continue and to conclude and decisions to be made to officially honor her as a saint for the Catholics around the world and for the world itself,” explained Damian.

Just a week before the Christmas holiday, Damian said the decision by Pope Francis brings with it an important message about Mother Teresa.

“As Christians here in America – especially when there are so many people who are poor or homeless, out of work, hungry, especially children – she should be a model for how we should be leading our lives.”

The canonization is expected to occur in 2016, presumably around the date of Mother Teresa’s death in September. At this point it is unclear if the ceremony will take place in Rome or Kolkata.

Damian said plans for a celebration in the parish have yet to be formalized, but he hopes it will be a grand occasion.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.