As a Christ-centered,
Spirit-led faith community,
fed by Word and Sacrament, we
bring the “Good News”
of God’s love into all areas of our lives, that we may lead others to Christ.
Mother Teresa in 1980
– L'Osservatore Romano
The canonization of Mother Teresa on Sept. 4 marks the end of one of the faster causes of canonization in modern times. This is not surprising, given the wide acclaim among the faithful at the time of her passing, on Sept. 5, 1997, that she be proclaimed a saint immediately.
Pope St. John Paul II waived the normally mandatory five-year waiting period to start a cause, but the subsequent process was still very carefully followed, according to the Church’s regulations. That included validating two miracles: one for the beatification and another for canonization.
The diocesan inquiry (the first key step in the process) began in 1999, and the postulator for the cause, Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, a Missionaries of Charity priest, said at the time, “The five-year rule is to ensure that there is a genuine reputation for holiness among the people and that there is not just passing enthusiasm soon after a person dies. But in Mother’s case, there was no need to wait, as her holiness was a matter of worldwide belief.”
Within days of Mother Teresa’s death, possible miracles were reported around the globe. As with all such claims, the Church launched comprehensive and meticulous investigations.
The importance of these rules was reiterated by the postulator: “Some people asked why we needed a process at all, given that it would have been much more surprising if a negative decision had been given. But I see the great value of having the process — and we did the whole process. We did not just do the minimum to say that we had done it — we did a well-done process, which was necessary for a major figure like Mother Teresa. And now we have the material for a much deeper understanding of Mother Teresa, which would likely not have been the case otherwise.”
In the end, two miracles were approved.
The first took place in West Bengal, India, and involved the healing of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, whose abdominal tumor was so severe that her doctors abandoned hope of saving her. Taken into the care of the Missionaries of Charity, she continued to decline and endured such agony from the tumor that she could no longer sleep. On the one-year anniversary of Mother’s passing, the sisters at the home placed a Miraculous Medal that had been touched to the body of Mother Teresa on Besra’s stomach. The suffering woman fell asleep, and when she woke up, her pain was gone. Doctors examined her and found the reason why: The tumor had disappeared completely.
A board of medical specialists worked with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to study the alleged miracle. After assessing the records and interviewing the medical staff involved, the committee determined that the healing was medically inexplicable. Pope John Paul approved the miracle on Dec. 20, 2002, barely five years after Teresa’s death.
Our Alpha courses have been incredibly fruitful and faith building. Many people have talked about how they made new friends, got to talk about things freely and not be judged, how they came to know Jesus in a deeper way and experience the power and work of the Holy Spirit.
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek Alphabet-it is meant to be only the beginning. A beginning means something follows - so we are meant to continue this journey that mayhave started with Alpha - or may have started before Alpha. Either way, we are meant to walk with each other and help one another get to heaven.
Here are some ideas:
Say hello to the people around you at Mass
Help with Alpha in March 2016!