Thursday, August 26, 2010

European Catholics prepare host of celebrations for Mother Teresa's 100th birthday

The founder of the Missionaries of Charity will be remembered in celebrations all over Europe, and all over the world, on her birthday and feast day coming up in the next three weeks. At least a dozen cardinals will be presiding over Masses across Europe in her memory.Blessed Mother Teresa was born Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on Aug. 26, 1910 in the city of Skopje, in what is now the Republic of Macedonia. On that same day this year, she will be remembered for what would have been her 100th, the official site for the saintly sister, details the broad cross-section of principally European celebrations that began earlier this year and will continue until the final days of 2010. The majority of the memorials have been organized for Rome and former Eastern Bloc nations, but Masses, Novenas and art exhibitions and other initiatives are taking place all over the continent.

Many celebrations will take place on the actual anniversary of her birth, Aug. 26. For example, on that day in Skopje, after flowers are laid at the memorial statue of Mother Teresa, the Macedonian Parliament will observe a ceremonial session and award the national "Mother Teresa" prize. That afternoon, Archbishop of Belgrade Stanislav Hočevar will preside over Mass at the city's Sacred Heart Cathedral. Eucharistic celebrations will be offered for Blessed Mother Teresa in a variety of other countries as well. Among the high-ranking prelates celebrating Masses in her honor on Aug. 26 will be Cardinal Angelo Comastri at the Church of St. Lawrence in Damascus in Rome and the Emeritus Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, who will preside over Mass at the Church of St. Margaret in Munich, Germany.

These two Church leaders will be joined by 10 other cardinals celebrating Masses around her birthdate or for the Sept. 5 Feast of Blessed Mother Teresa, including the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Ivan Dias, and Cardinal André Vingt Trois, who will preside over Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. According to the Mother Teresa website, memorial initiatives will be staged from Switzerland to Bulgaria, Albania and the United Kingdom, with a special Christmas Concert being held in Rome on Dec. 19 to mark the final days of the 2010 centenary celebrations.


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