They prayed, they celebrated Mass, and they were among the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 4 when Pope Francis celebrated the Canonization Mass of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
“To see something like that and have it relate to our church,” said parishioner Al Mozingo, one of the pilgrims. “It was really special.”
Back home in Winchester a week later the parish welcomed Bishop Gerald Barnes for two Masses on September 11. Bishop Barnes presented the parish with a first classic relic of Mother Teresa (a lock of her hair) and a plaque bearing the new name of the parish – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the title they had requested.
“I think ‘Mother’ is very important,” Fr. Burdick said. “The Pope made the point during his address that Teresa of Calcutta has been canonized but she’ll always be Mother Teresa.”
The Winchester group attended the general audience with Pope Francis on Sept. 7 and he blessed them and the intentions they had presented from the people back home. The name of the parish and Fr. Burdick was announced among those communities of faith who had traveled to Rome for the occasion of the Canonization.
While they were glad to be part of the spectacle of the Canonization Mass, the parishioners were moved equally if not more by the intimate Masses celebrated in chapels at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Basilica of Mary Major, the Tomb of St. Catherine of Siena and in the lower levels of the Basilica of St. Peter, said Fr. Burdick.
“Those little Masses that we did really affected our people,” he said. “Some of the men were brought to tears.”
As they processed through different Holy Doors of Mercy, the parishioners were encouraged to pray and reflect on different aspects of Mercy, such as God’s infinite mercy and love for them, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and those in their life for whom they need to show greater mercy.
Bishop Barnes celebrated an 8:30 am Mass in Spanish at the new parish worship space on Sept. 11 and a Mass in English at 10:30 am. The first reading of the English Mass was proclaimed in Tagalog, reflecting the Filipino presence in the parish, and the second reading was proclaimed in Vietnamese, reflecting the presence of that culture at St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta parish.
Fr. Burdick said the parish is in the process of determining where the relic will be located.