On Thursday night, Aug. 26, Catholics from all over the Diocese of Camden came together at Mary, Queen of All Saints in Pennsauken to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of Charity, and remember the Albanian nun who dedicated her life to caring for the poor, sick, and dying.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the woman known as “Mother Teresa” was born on Aug. 26, 1910, and died Sept. 5, 1997. In 2003, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II, granting her the title “Blessed.”
Close to 150 worshippers filled the church, “to celebrate her life, inspired by her commitment to the Lord,” said Msgr. Michael Mannion, who celebrated the Mass.
Msgr. Mannion is director of the Office of Community Relations for the Diocese of Camden. He knew Blessed Teresa for 28 years and spent some time working with her in Calcutta.
The Blessing of the Hands ceremony at the Mass was particularly significant for the occasion, he said.
“Mother Teresa saw her hands as a beautiful vehicle to those hurting,” he mentioned, noting that if a person was close to death, the nun would place her hands on the person’s head, for comfort.
Her hands were “powerful, yet gentle instruments of her ministry,” he said.
Concelebrating Mass with Msgr. Mannion were Father Charles Colozzi, parochial vicar, Mary, Queen of All Saints; and Father Edward Friel, Priest Convener in the merger of Holy Saviour, Westmont and St. John, Collingswood, whose new parish name will be Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.