A woman reaches to touch a painting of Mother Teresa at Christo Rei parish in Mississauga, Ont., Sept. 4. The parish celebrated a Mass in the new saint’s honour on the day she was named St. Teresa of Calcutta. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Philippines cardinal joins Mississauga parish in celebrating Mother Teresa

  • September 7, 2016

Mississauga, Ont. –Mother Teresa was a true example of Christian discipleship, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle told a congregation of more than 1,300 people gathered Sept. 4 at Cristo Rei parish in Mississauga to celebrate her elevation to sainthood.

Members of the Indian, Albanian and Filipino community flocked to the parish on Sept. 4 to hear the cardinal from the Philippines speak about his own personal encounter with the recently canonized saint.

Earlier that day, at the Vatican, Pope Francis canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta before an estimated 120,000 people.

“When we were seminarians, she visited Manila and we had an encounter with her,” he said. “Somebody asked her, ‘How could you stand those poor, sick people that you pick up from the gutters?’... With a smile, she said, ‘But I see Jesus in them.’ ”

Tagle said St. Teresa of Calcutta loved in the right way, according to how Jesus defined true discipleship in the Sunday Gospel. In Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate their father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even their life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

“At first hearing, the words of Jesus seem harsh, insensitive,” said Tagle. “He is not telling us not to love our wives, husbands, sons, daughters, children. He is saying, ‘Do you love me more than these?’ The same question He asked of Peter.”

Following the example of St. Teresa, Tagle said that in order to be a disciples of Jesus, one must put Him above all else. Family, one’s self and one’s possessions can become a hindrance, but in loving Jesus above all, a person can gain everything.

“We thank the Lord today for giving us such a wonderful gift in Mother Teresa,” said Tagle.

“Someone who loves Jesus will love everyone and will make everyone, even the unlovable, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a child. I can love them, as I love myself. And for them, I can share my possessions.”

Tagle said he was grateful to have celebrated the canonization of Mother Teresa with the Cristo Rei community and he was surprised by the large crowd. Cristo Rei was built by the Portuguese community in 1995. Since then, the parish has grown to attract a predominantly Southeast Asian community.

Tagle was in town to preside over his niece’s wedding when his former student at Divine Word Seminary, Cristo Rei pastor Fr. Carlos Macatangga, invited him to celebrate Mass at his parish.

Macatangga had moved the parish’s 1 p.m. Sunday Mass to noon to accommodate the cardinal’s schedule. Local consulate generals of India, Albania and the Philippines were also in attendance.

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