Beatification: October 19-22, The Vatican.
Beatification bash: November 8-9, Calcutta.
Leaders of the Catholic community in Calcutta have confirmed plans to stage a weekend of “massive celebrations” in Mother Teresa’s city within weeks of her beatification during official ceremonies in The Vatican, Rome. Two days of November will see “an unprecedented series of thanksgiving events” dedicated to the memory of the Nobel Peace prize-winning woman.
A core committee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta, along with representatives of the Missionaries of Charity, will meet on Saturday to chalk out detailed plans for the two-day festivities. “We have confirmed the dates, but are still in the early stages of planning,” said Father Michael Bhaju, vicar-general and Archdiocese spokesman. “The main events will be religious and spiritual. We will perform Mass among the community, before opening up events to the city at large. The first day will involve holy Eucharistic celebrations, followed by events attended by high-level government officials and, of course, the people of Calcutta.”
November 8, Saturday, has been set for services focused among the Catholics, with a four-hour Mass scheduled to be held on the St Xavier’s College grounds. Acting principal of St Xavier’s College Father Eaton confirmed: “St Xavier’s has been earmarked as the place where Mass will be held to celebrate Mother Teresa’s beatification.”
Large-scale public celebrations the following day will be led by Archbishop of Calcutta His Grace Lucas Sarkar, probably at Netaji Indoor Stadium. ‘Archbishop Sarkar, who chairs the beatification committee, returned to Calcutta on Friday from The Vatican.
Mother Teresa’s successor at the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala, was said to be keen to make the Calcutta events open to as large a section of the public as possible. “The whole reason Mother Teresa set up Missionaries of Charity was for the poorest of the poor,” said Marc D’Silva, East India representative of US-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
D’Silva, who is part of a special Calcutta delegation — led by the Archbishop, together with several priests, sisters from Missionaries of Charity, and representatives from the Catholic Association of Bengal and the CRS — travelling to Italy for October’s beatification, added: “The Archdiocese is taking the lead in local arrangements for the November celebrations.”