Tribute to Saint Teresa at Seventh Annual Meet

Venkat Raman

An honest array of tributes devoid of verbosity will be the hallmark of the Ninth Annual Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting due to held next fortnight in Auckland.

Gautam Lewis, Chief Executive of ‘Freedom in Air,’ a London based company that trains physically challenged tribute-to-saint-gautam-lewispeople to become commercial pilots will be the main speaker at the meeting scheduled to be held at Paul’s College, 183 Richmond Road, Ponsonby, Auckland at 230 pm on Sunday, November 27, 2016.

He is a living example of the Saint’s love and care.

Peace and Love

Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee Chairman Wenceslaus Anthony said that it was a privilege and honour to have the patronage of Bishop Patrick Dunn, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Auckland.

“We invite everyone to participate in the Meeting and honour one of the greatest personalities of the 20th century. The Interfaith Committee, comprising representatives of the Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh and Zoroastrian communities, is devoted to spread the message of love and peace of the Saint. There will be songs and hymns on Peace and Love and Mother Teresa sisters in Auckland will be taking part,” he said.

The event this year acquires a special status since Mother Teresa was canonised by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016.

“Mother Teresa stood for peace, love and harmony and worked hard throughout her life for the poor and the needy. Those with special needs received her special attention and it is appropriate that Mr Lewis is with us this year,” Mr Anthony said.

Mother the Saint

Earlier this year, Pope Francis held a Consistory of Cardinals and Bishops at which, among others Causes, the Canonisation of Blessed Teresa was approved.

The canonisation, held after the Sunday Mass, was celebrated as a part of the Jubilee for workers and volunteers of mercy.

The entire Missionaries of Charity family – Sisters, Brothers, Fathers, co-workers, Corpus Christi Movement for Priests, lay associates (Lay Missionaries of Charity and  Thirst Movement), volunteers, benefactors, friends of different faiths, and especially the poorest of the poor – rejoiced on that day.

It is providential that the approved miracle that occurred in Santos, Brazil in 2008 through the intercession of Blessed Teresa, was brought to the attention of the Postulation only in late 2013 and received approval in December 2015.

Icon of Mercy

Even in her lifetime, Mother Teresa was an icon of God’s tender mercy, radiating the light of God’s love to many through the works of mercy, both material and spiritual.

From heaven, she continues to fulfil her mission as she lights the light of those in darkness on earth. With her canonisation, the Church presents her as a model and intercessor of those who, like her, long to light the fire of love and peace throughout the world. She can be taken as a Patron Saint especially for those who are most in need of God’s mercy.

A Statement from the Mother Teresa Charities in Kolkata said, “By her example and through her intercession, may Mother Teresa inspire many to give their ‘hearts to love and their hands to serve,’ starting with those closest to them. May we all continue to live and deepen our awareness of being in need of mercy and our willingness to extend mercy in our communities, in our families and in our service of the poor.”

Freedom in Air

Freedom in Air is a not-for-profit organisation that helps physically challenged people become qualified pilots in the United Kingdom.

Born in Kolkata in 1977, Mr Lewis contracted polio when he was three years old and was abandoned. He was raised at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata for two years and thereafter at the Rehabilitation Centre outside the City for another two years. It was here that his life changed.

Dr Patricia Lewis, a nuclear physicist adopted him and they moved permanently to England, where he attended the prestigious Bedales School.

After obtaining a business degree, Mr Lewis entered the music industry and worked for renowned management agencies including Ricochet Artist Management, Creation Management and Poptones Records.

While working with Alan McGee (the driving force behind Oasis) at Creation Management, he co-managed groups such as ‘The Beta Band’ and the Libertines.

In 2007, Mr Lewis fulfilled his childhood dream and became a qualified pilot, passing all his ground and air examinations in just six months.

Still dependent on crutches from his childhood battle with polio, he founded ‘Freedom in the Air,’ a flying school for people with a range of disabilities.

The not-for-profit organisation is committed to empowering disabled people through the freedom that flight offers, benefitting at emotional, physical and professional levels.

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