Religious leaders pay homage to Mother Teresa

Leaders of major religions represented in New Zealand will get together next fortnight to pay homage to the late Mother Teresa, celebrated as one of the most outstanding personalities of the 20th Century who dedicated her life in the service of the poor and needy in India.

India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Admiral Sureesh Mehta will be the Chief Guest at the Annual Interfaith Meeting of the Mother Teresa Birthday Committee at the Catholic Church of Christ the King (260 Richardson Road) in Mt Roskill on Sunday, November 13, 2011.

Catholic Bishop of Auckland Diocese Most Rev Bishop Patrick Dunn, who is supporting the event, second in an annual series, will be among the main speakers. He will pay tribute to Mother Teresa and outline how she brought solace and comfort to thousands of impoverished people around the world, setting an example of service, with her message of love and peace to the poverty and grief-stricken people in and around Kolkata.

Committee Chairman Wenceslaus Anthony, who has worked closely with Mother Teresa on a number of projects, said that she was one of the greatest personalities whose mission in life was to serve the poor and sick people.

“She saw every human being as a child of God and dedicated her life in looking after those who were in real need,” he said.

Sister Mary Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity of Calcutta, said that Mother Teresa’s life and work continue to inspire the young and old, rich and poor from all walks of life, religions and nations.

“Her message, ‘God has created us for greater things, to love and to be loved’ makes us look beyond the struggles, loneliness and grievances of our daily life. We are called for something infinitely greater than riches, talent, fame or passing pleasures. We are called to look at God, our loving Father, and know that He loves us with an unconditional and tender, everlasting love,” she said in a message to commemorate Mother Teresa’s birthday.

The speakers at the forthcoming meeting will explain the relevance of Mother Teresa’s sayings and beliefs to their own religious teachings.

Among them would be Vinod Kumar, President, the Hindu Council of New Zealand, Dr Anwar Ghani, President, Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand, Raj Bedi, Secretary, Sri Dasmesh Darbar (Auckland Sikh Society), Evgeny Orlov, a prominent barrister representing the Jewish community, Robert (Bobby) Newson of the Maori community, ESOL Teacher and community worker Homi Shroff (Zoroastrian) and Resident Teacher Ven. Geshe Thupten Wangchen of the Dorje Chang Institute (Tibetan Buddhist Centre)

Wenceslaus Anthony, Warwick Wright (Catholic Church), Ahemad Bhamji (FIANZ), Vinod Kumar (Hindu Council), Mr Robert Newson (Maori), Raj Bedi (Sikh Community), Kerry Coleman (Catholic Diocese), Patricia Thake (Honorary Consul of Malta), John Sax (Founder & Chairman of the For the Sake of Our Children Trust), Dame Lyndsay Freer (Catholic Diocese), Master of Ceremonies at the meeting and Venkat Raman (Indian Newslink) are the members of the Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee.

The Committee is keen to consider ‘ongoing projects’ that would not only reflect and relive the beliefs of the departed Mother but also promote overall wellbeing and integration of


“Mother Teresa was an epitome of simplicity, humility and self-sacrifice. We should 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,” Mr Kumar said.

Mr 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 Interfaith Committee 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.

What: Tribute to Mother Teresa

Organiser: Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee

Speakers: Indian High Commissioner, Archbishop, Religious leaders

When: Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 3 pm

Where: Catholic Church of Christ the King

260 Richardson Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland

Contact: Wenceslaus Anthony on 0274- 833676


A Great solace to the sour world

Mother Teresa was born in Albania on August 26, 1910. She was named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.

She dedicated her life to the cause of the poor and the needy. Migrating to India, she established the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (then Calcutta) in 1950 and for more than 45 years, she served the poor, sick, orphaned and dying.

Starting from a four-room and one hall set up at 14, Creek Lane in the West Bengal Capital, the Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and now comprises over 4500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.

It runs homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also conducts children’s and family counselling programmes and runs orphanages and schools.

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. The Government of India conferred the highest civilian honour of ‘Bharat Ratna’ (‘The Gem of India’) on her in January 1980.

The world was plunged into sorrow when she died on September 5, 1997.

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