The life and work of the late Mother Teresa of Kolkata will be remembered at the fifth Annual Interfaith Meeting at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in the Auckland suburb of Mt Roskill on Saturday, November 23, 2014.
Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, who was appointed as Minister of Ethnic Communities (a newly created Ministry) last month, will be the Guest Speaker at the event, which is expected to attract more than 700 men, women and children of various faiths, religions and ethnic groups living in Auckland and beyond.
Minister Peseta, an active Member of the Royal Oak Baptist Church, will have an opportunity not only of echoing the prayer of Mother Teresa (‘Make me a Messenger of Love and Peace’) but also of interacting with various ethnic groups. His role encompasses minority communities, reminding the local and central governments of the changing demography of New Zealand in general and Auckland in particular and the need to foster love and peace among all peoples.
The country’s leaders, visiting dignitaries and leaders of various religions and faiths have been among the participants in the annual Mother Teresa Interfaith Meetings, which have the blessings of Archbishop Patrick Dunn and the availability of the Catholic Church of Christ the King since the series was launched in 2010.
In his inaugural speech at the Church on November 7, 2010, the then Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand described Mother Teresa as “one of the most influential and iconic people of the 20th Century.”
He said that she gave up a relatively comfortable position as Headmistress of the Content School and moved into the slums where she began work establishing the ‘Missionaries of Charity,’ dedicated to assisting the poorest of the poor.
“The increasing cultural and religious diversity poses challenges, which New Zealand should address, recognising the human values of justice, tolerance and respect for others. New Zealand is a nation whose cultural, religious and ethnic makeup has become considerably diverse, particularly in Auckland and especially so in the last quarter century. That diversity poses both opportunities and raised many challenges that need to be discussed,” he said.
Sir Anand said that there were three key messages inherent in Mother Teresa’s life and work.
They were Respect and Dignity towards Humanity, Service to the Community and the Power of Small Acts to Change Lives.
“It is in little things – courtesy to others, helping strangers in need, making donations to charities, volunteering out time to help others – that we being the process of change. In supporting worthy causes, every bit of efforts helps,” Sir Anand said.
The Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee, which organises the Annual Meeting comprises local businessman Wenceslaus Anthony as the Chairperson, representatives of the Catholic Church and community leaders of Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths.
Sir Anand Satyanand, Archbishop Patrick Dunn, Wenceslaus Anthony, Vinod Kumar, Raj Bedi