If Diwali heralds a new era of hope, good health and prosperity to all human beings, then the Festival this year would augur well with the Centenary Celebrations of Mother Teresa, due to be held in Auckland on November 7, 2010.
A recently formed Mother Teresa Centenary Committee is organising the function to pay tribute to the departed soul, who won the hearts of Heads of State, Politicians, Celebrities and millions of ordinary people around the world.
Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand will be the Chief Guest at the event at Church of Christ the King, located at 260 Richardson Road in Mt Roskill.
He will speak on the life and times of Mother Teresa.
Catholic Bishop of Auckland Diocese Most Rev Bishop Patrick Dunn is supporting the forthcoming event and would be among the speakers.
Warwick Wright of the Catholic Church and a member of the Committee said the forthcoming meeting would emphasise the human cause for which Mother Teresa had dedicated her life.
“Mother Teresa was above religion, politics and all other trappings of life. She had genuine concern for the poor and the needy and her Missionaries of Charities in Kolkata (India) have brought solace and comfort to thousands of people, especially impoverished and sick children. The forthcoming meeting would not only pay homage to her selfless service but also emphasise the need to promote inter-faith,” he said.
WA Marketing Limited Director and India New Zealand Business Council Chairman Wenceslaus Anthony, who initiated the Centenary meeting, said that the world was marking the Birth Centenary of Mother Teresa, revered by world leaders and people of all faiths and communities as one of the greatest souls ever born.
The 100th Birthday celebrations have special significance as people gather in prayer, recalling her famous quotes, one of which was, ‘Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted, according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow down to do the humble work.’
“We are fortunate to have the Blessings of God and the support of faith and community leaders in New Zealand to organise a meeting in Auckland on November 7,” he said.
Vinod Kumar, Chairman of Megasons Mitre 10 (Henderson & Botany) and Chairman of the Hindu Heritage Council, said Mother Teresa was a source of inspiration and piety to all human beings, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
“She was an epitome of simplicity, humility and self-sacrifice. The least we can do is to follow her principles and serve the poor and the needy. The world can be a better place if we follow her path of service to humanity,” he said.
Community leader Ahemad Bhamji agreed, saying that there was no greater community service than tending for the poor and ensuring their welfare.
“We are pleased to be associated with the Centenary Celebrations of Mother Teresa, a great person who genuinely cared for the needy. She set an example for social work and we must follow her simplicity and sincerity.
“I hope the Centenary Committee will continue to promote the welfare of the people in the true spirit of the departed soul,” he said.
Robert Newson (Families Commission), Gek Hoon, Raj Singh Bedi (Kolmar Road Gurdwara) and Venkat Raman (Indian Newslink) are other members of the Committee.
The organisers said the Committee would consider implementing ‘ongoing projects’ that would not only reflect and relive the beliefs of the departed Mother but also promote overall wellbeing and integration of communities.
Tribute on Track
Indian Railways, the second largest of its type in the world, is currently running an Exhibition Train dedicated to Mother Teresa.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off the Mother Express at the Sealdha Station in Kolkata on September 27, saying that it would give an insight into her life devoted to poor and destitute.
“The Train would showcase the life and philanthropic deeds of this great soul who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian honour ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1980 for her humanitarian work,” she said.
The Train comprises three air-conditioned coaches in which photographs, posters and other materials concerning Mother Teresa and her work. It will tour India over the next six months.
India’s President Pratibha Patil described Mother Teresa as “an epitome of compassion,” saying that all through her life the Mother served selflessly to spread the message of love and compassion through her work.
“She embraced India as India embraced her. She came to be known as Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The people conferred on her their love, as well as their respect,” she said, speaking at the Centenary Celebrations in New Delhi on August 26.
She released the Five Rupee Commemorative Coin on behalf of the Government and people of India in homage to the great soul.
“Mother Teresa’s Mission begun small gradually established itself and began to grow.
Often, we may feel that our efforts are miniscule as compared to the challenges that confront us, and what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
“Mother Teresa would say that the ocean would be less without that drop. As an example, she would refer to the schools started to teach poor children, and would point out that if these schools were not there, these children would be left on the streets. It is a tribute to her work,” Ms Patil said.
What: Mother Teresa Centenary
By Whom: Church of Christ the King
Where: 260 Richardson Road
Mt Roskill, Auckland
When: Sunday, November 7 at 3 pm
1. Warwick Wright
2. Wenceslaus Anthony
3. Vinod Kumar
4. Ahemad Bhamji
5. The ‘Mother Express’