Shyamal Baran Roy
Kolkata: Mother Teresa, who has become synonymous with this city, was Wednesday formally named as the co-patron of the Archdiocese of Calcutta.
‘’Since 1886, the Archdiocese has seen a number of blessings through the intercessions of St. Francis Xavier. It has been decided that from yesterday (September 5) we will have another intercessor for the Archdiocese in St. Teresa. From now on, together with St. Francis Xavier, we will have St. Teresa as the co-patron of the Archdiocese of Calcutta,’’ Archbishop Thomas D’Souza said.
D’Souza, who was speaking at a special mass at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary on the occasion of the first anniversary of Mother Teresa’s canonisation,said that by naming St. Teresa as the co-patron of the Archdiocese would not diminish the intercessory powers of St. Xavier in any way. ‘’With Mother as the co-patron, the Archdiocese will receive more blessings.’’
Vicar-general of the Archdiocese, Fr. Dominic Gomes, read out the decree from the Archbishop proclaiming Mother Teresa as the co-patron.
Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop GiambattistaQuadritto was the main celebrant of the Mass. Archbishop Thomas D’Souza and the bishops of three other adjacent dioceses were concelebrants.
‘’St. Teresa lived in the imitation of Christ in poverty and in his love for the poor.Jesus challenged Mother Teresa to take seriously His approach to life.St. Teresa (of Calcutta), who chose Jesus’ approach to life, was strong. She had the courage to swim against the tide and say ‘no’ to a superficialway of life,’’ Quadritto said.
The 220-year-old cathedral was packed to the full with religious and lay people, including physically and mentally challenged children from a number of Missionaries of Charity homes founded by Mother Teresa.
Before the mass, Quadritto and the accompanying prelates were given a traditional Indian welcome by parishioners with an aarti (waving of incense sticks) and application of sandalwood paste on their foreheads.
Inside the sanctuary, Apostolic Nuncio inaugurated a statue of Mother Teresa holding a child.
The history of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary dates back to the 17th century when the Portuguese built a chapel at the site. In 1799, the chapel was replaced by a church and it was later elevated to the status of a cathedral. It was the main church of the Portuguese Padroado in Kolkata till 1834, when it became the first parish Church of the newly erected Vicariate Apostolic of Bengal.
The Salesians took over charge from the Jesuits in 1921 and they, in turn, handed it over to the diocesan clergy in 1972.