.- Thousands of New Yorkers will gather for Mass at St. Patrickâs Cathedral in New York City on Thursday evening to pray and commemorate the life of Blessed Mother Teresa. The event is being organized by area Albanian Catholics who seek to continue her works of charity and faith.
Our Lady of Shkodra Church, an ethnic Albanian parish in Hartsdale, New York, is arranging the 7 p.m. Mass at the cathedral on the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresaâs birth. She had visited the parish church at its previous location in the South Bronx, near where she opened her first Missionaries of Charity mission in the United States.
The church is named after a miracle in the northern Albanian city of Shkodra, where Mother Teresa's family hails from.
Organizers of the Mass said in a press release that although the saintly woman served everyone regardless of background, âshe held a special place in her heart for her Albanian kinfolk, especially during the dark days of the cold war when Albaniaâs communist government banned religion in the country.â
They also described her as a special âsource of prideâ for Albanians.
In her trips to New York she reported that she still prayed in Albanian. One of her most well known comments refers to her background: âBy blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.â
After the fall of communism, in 1993 Mother Teresa attended Pope John Paul IIâs inauguration of Shkodraâs cathedral. Before her death in 1997, she said she is âpraying much for all my dear people of Albania.â
Upon her death, New Yorkâs Albanian community celebrated a special Mass at St. Patrickâs Cathedral. An overflowing crowd attended.
Our Lady of Shkodra Church has named its community organization The Mother Teresa Center and plans to have an annual community day of service inspired by Mother Teresaâs works of charity. Parishioners are helping to raise funds to build a large cathedral named for Mother Teresa in Prishtina, the capital city of Kosovo.
âHer legacy is the thousands of Missionaries of Charity sisters who continue to serve the poorest of the poor in almost every country throughout the world,â organizers of Thursdayâs Mass at St. Patrickâs Cathedral said. They encouraged everyone to attend the Mass and to follow Mother Teresaâs counsel to âshow great love for God and our neighbor.â