MUMBAI, India — Joy erupted across India, Mother Teresa’s adopted country, as Pope Francis pronounced her a Saint in a canonization ceremony in the Vatican on Sunday.
The Indian Government was well represented in Rome by separate delegations led by Foreign Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Chief Minister of Western Bengal Miss Mamta Banerjee, and Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal, besides the host of Missionaries of Charity and Catholic pilgrims.
In various states in India, Mother Teresa’s canonization was declared a public holiday. In the Archdiocese of Bombay, bells pealed in all the churches at 2:11 pm local time, to coincide with the moment of canonization.
In Ahmedabad, at 4 pm on Sept. 4, a rally was led by the Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Thomas Macwan, beginning from St. Xavier’s College to Loyola Hall and displaying scenes from the life of Mother Teresa. The event was converted into a civic function at 5:30 pm, when leaders from various religions shared their memories of Mother Teresa in the pavilion of Loyola School, followed by a Mass.
In Odisha, also known as Orissa, the Chief Minister inaugurated an important road in front of the Archbishop’s house in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, coinciding with Mother Teresa’s canonization ceremony at the Vatican.
Dedicating the road in her memory, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said henceforth the pathway would be known as ‘Saint Mother Teresa Road.’
“I pay my heartfelt tributes to Mother Teresa on her cannonization as Saint Mother Teresa,” he said. “She arrived in India in 1929 and made this country her home to serve the poor, the deceased and the destitute,” Patnaik said.
“It is time for all of us to take a leaf from her book of compassion and service and work for the poor and distressed. Let’s work for the dignity of every human being and the people around us,” he said.
The decision to name the road after Mother Teresa was taken at the request of the Odisha Catholic Bishops’ Council (OCBC) Chairman Archbishop John Barwa, who, in his address, thanked the Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik.
“May God bless you Sir, abundantly,” Barwa said, adding that “it was one of the greatest days for our state, our country and the world.”
In Odisha, the Missionaries of Charity have 18 homes. Mother Teresa first visited Bhubaneswar in 1974 and met the then Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy and Governor Akbar Ali Khan. Since then, she visited Odisha several times.
In the southern Indian state of Karnataka, in Mangaluru, a statue was blessed at the Mother Teresa house ashram of Missionaries of Charity by Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza, followed by a procession of devotees from there to Milagres church and concluding with a Mass.
In Maharashtra on Sunday evening, a special Mass included the rechristening of a Church and was celebrated by the Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai Diocese.
The Blessed Mother Teresa Church in Virar was rechristened as “Saint Mother Teresa Church.'” The mass was preceded by a solemn procession as people recalled Mother Teresa’s only visit to the Vasai Diocese in April 1986 for a couple of functions.
The church also possesses a drop of her blood, as a relic enshrined in a glass case and houses a full-size one-ton Makrana marble statue.
All the Christian areas in Vasai Diocese were illuminated with lights and candles and decorated to mark the momentous occasion coinciding with Pope Francis’ proclamation elevating Mother Teresa to Saint.
The Indian Post released a special commemorative stamp of St Teresa to mark her canonization at a function in Divine Child High School in Andheri, Mumbai on Sunday. The Union Minister of State for Communications, Manoj Sinha, unveiled the postage stamp.
In Kerala, devotees released 1,001 colorful balloons bearing the image of Mother Teresa at St Joseph’s Church in Pushpagiri in Thellakam in the Kottayam district, where Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil led special prayers. A large number of people gathered at the church premises when the canonization ceremonies were shown live on the big screen.