Speaking of Mother Teresa’s witness to mercy, Archbishop Fisichella said that in addition to honoring all those who give their time in service to others with a special jubilee, Pope Francis also wanted to provide “spiritual assistance” to all those who work in the field, and “who will be the icon of mercy in our sanctuary except Mother Teresa?”
Mother Teresa, he said, “was close to the poorest among the poor and probably for this reason Pope Francis had this inspiration to canonize Mother Teresa and to give a concrete sign how we can be workers of mercy daily.”
Even if Mother Teresa isn’t officially declared a patron for workers of mercy, “she is the icon and the spiritual assistance for everybody,” the archbishop said.
On the topic of security, Archbishop Fisichella stressed that Italian and Vatican police are taking extra precautions to ensure everyone’s safety, so there is no need to fear.
Though groups and pilgrims are still trickling into Rome, the city has already begun to fill up ahead of Mother Teresa’s canonization Sunday.
Archbishop Fisichella said that while he doesn’t have a number as to how many pilgrims might show up, nearly 500,000 came when Padre Pio’s remains were brought to Rome for the launch of the Jubilee, and “so I think that more or less it will be the same number” for Mother Teresa.
For those who aren’t able to make it to the Mass or who aren’t even Catholic, Mother Teresa serves as “a universal sign of goodness, of piety, of mercy, of love,” and will be appreciated as such throughout the world, the archbishop said.
He pointed to Mother Teresa’s often repeated phrase that “I probably don’t speak your language, but I can smile,” noting that one doesn’t have to be Catholic to share in this act of mercy, because “smiling is a universal language.”
“When you are a witness of mercy, a witness of charity, a witness of God’s love,” he said, “a smile, joy, is your universal language.”
Though he never met Mother Teresa personally, Archbishop Fisichella said he has met and spent time with the Missionaries of Charity on several occasions, and “they continue to work with the witness of Mother Teresa, with the ideal of Mother Teresa and with the same charity.”