Cross-border dioceses unite in honouring Mother Teresa

  • August 27, 2010
Peace BridgeThe Peace Bridge connecting Canada and the United States at Niagara Falls was lit up on Aug. 26 in honour of the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth. But it also represented a coming together of cross-border dioceses, said Kevin Keenan, director of communications with the diocese of Buffalo.

Illuminated in blue and white, the colours of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, the Peace Bridge initiative was a result of efforts of Buffalo Bishop Edward U. Kmiec and Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick, administrator of the diocese of St. Catharines, Ont.

“We’re neighbouring dioceses and when you put in a request to the Peace Bridge authorities, it needs to come from entities from both sides of the bridge,” said Keenan. “So it made sense to come from Canada and the United States because Mother Teresa had such an impact on both of our countries.”

Keenan said idea came after the denial of a request by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights that the Empire State Building in New York be lit on the night of Aug. 26.

The Peace Bridge request was made in late June and approved within a couple of days, said Keenan.

But these sorts of requests are not usually accepted, said Kirkpatrick.

“They normally do not illuminate the bridge for any special figures. They don’t want to show partiality towards any religion,” he said. “But because Mother Teresa was such a great humanitarian, they felt that it was appropriate to do so.”

Keenan said the collaboration between the dioceses had a joint purpose.

“Whether you’re in the diocese of Buffalo or anywhere else, we all have the same mission to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ — and Mother Teresa certainly embodied that.”

“It’s the heads of two dioceses working together for a common goal,” said Kirkpatrick. “And, hopefully, that’s what the Church is all about.

“Mother Teresa was certainly a shining light to this world. I think it’s very significant that we would have this bridge that connects our two countries and our two dioceses illuminated to show... the significance of this woman of faith. She indeed was a light shining in the darkness of our world.”

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