PROVIDENCE — As the world gathers to celebrate the canonization of Mother Teresa at the Vatican on Sept. 4, the faithful in the Diocese of Providence will also have an opportunity to commemorate this momentous occasion in the history of the Church.
“Her canonization in Rome is a wonderful event for the whole Church,” Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said. “But for those who can’t be in Rome, we are celebrating this historic event right here in Providence, in our own cathedral.”
Bishop Tobin will celebrate a Mass for the Canonization of Mother Teresa at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans will be among those concelebrating the liturgy.
“All are invited to join us for Mass – to proclaim Mother Teresa as a saint of the Church, and to ask her intercession in our lives,” the bishop shared.
He noted that Mother Teresa — a woman of great faith, prayer and charity — is the perfect role model for Christians today.
Although Pope Francis has declared that Blessed Mother Teresa now has the required miracles attributed to her in order to be canonized in just a couple of weeks, a Johnston family has said the healing intercession offered to their ailing daughter by Bishop Tobin with one of her relics has long made her a saint in their eyes.
“I am so thrilled. It’s been a longtime coming and she’s such a wonderful person who has done so much for people, I just am so happy,” said Michele Khoury, whose then six-year-old daughter Sydney made a rapid and remarkable recovery after being blessed with the relic after falling critically ill with a cancerous tumor on her kidney in 2008.
On Feb. 28, 2008, following chemotherapy and radiation treatment, with Sydney breathing on a respirator, Bishop Tobin visited the young girl in the ICU and prayed over her with a relic of Mother Teresa, a gift from a fellow priest in the bishop’s native Pittsburgh who had obtained it in Rome where he worked with the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa.
Both of Sydney’s parents and Bishop Tobin witnessed the young girl’s body convulse during the prayers for her recovery.
Sydney, who has been declared cancer free since 2012, will join her mother in bringing up the gifts at the Mass for Mother Teresa in Providence. The young girl attributes her healing from cancer to the soon-to-be-saint’s intercession after being blessed by Bishop Tobin with the relic.
“I was very happy to hear that she will become a saint,” Sydney said in an interview with Rhode Island Catholic, after it was announced earlier this year that Mother Teresa would be canonized in September. “I’ve always envisioned her like that.”
Bishop Tobin said he was pleased to hear the news about Mother Teresa and believes that it could be through the intercession of Mother Teresa that Sydney was cured from a devastating illness so quickly following the blessing with the relic, although he is quick to minimize his role in Sydney’s healing process.
This special relic of Mother Teresa will also be present on the altar during the Mass on Sept. 4, and those in attendance will have the opportunity to venerate the relic following the Mass.
With reports from Rick Snizek, editor of Rhode Island Catholic
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