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Online Edition - Vol. IX, No. 7: October 2003

POPE JOHN PAUL II's SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATION

Consistory for 31 new cardinals | Prelates to Rome for four-day meeting | Post-synodal exhortation to be signed | Beatification of Mother Teresa

by Helen Hull Hitchcock

Events in Rome to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's election to the papacy on October 16, 1978, will open with a Mass on the day of the anniversary and conclude October 21, with a consistory to elevate 31 cardinals announced by the pope on September 28.

A highlight of the 25th anniversary events is the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on October 19.

Meeting with Cardinals, Bishops

Prelates from around the world will gather on October 15 for a four-day meeting, during which six cardinals will reflect on themes of great importance to the Church. Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, former dean of the College of Cardinals, will speak on "The Petrine Ministry and Communion in the Episcopacy"; Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger on "Priests, the Consecrated Life and Vocations"; Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo on the family; Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir on ecumenism; Cardinal Ivan Dias on missions and Cardinal Angelo Sodano on "The 25- year Pontificate in Service to Peace".

The cardinals, who where invited by the Holy Father to Rome for this anniversary, will be joined by the presidents of episcopal conferences, the heads of dicasteries (official agencies) of the Roman Curia and by Orthodox patriarchs. Pope John Paul II will attend the meeting on October 16.

New Document on the Ministry of Bishops

To mark his anniversary, the Holy Father will sign his post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the ministry of bishops, responding to the 2001 Synod of Bishops on that theme (see story page 2.) Later in the day there will be a Mass in St. Peter's Square to commemorate the silver jubilee.

On Friday, October 17, a concert in honor of John Paul II will be held in the Paul VI Hall, presented by the choir and orchestra of Leipzig who will perform Beethoven's Ninth (Chorale) Symphony and Bruckner's "Ecce Sacerdos Magnus".

New Cardinals to be Elevated

Two members of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) -- an American and an Australian -- are among the 30 who will be elevated to the rank of cardinal in a consistory on October 21. They are cardinals-designate Justin Rigali, who became archbishop of Philadelphia in early October after nearly 10 years as archbishop of St. Louis, and George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, who heads the Vox Clara committee of the CDW.

One cardinal-designate was named in pectore, that is, "in the pope's heart", presumably because revealing his name at this time would be perilous for him.

The new cardinals will bring the total of those eligible to vote in a papal election to the requisite number. Cardinals over the age of 80 are not eligible to vote.

Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

On Sunday, October 19, World Mission Sunday, the Holy Father will preside at Mass in St. Peter's Square, during which he will beatify Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa will be beatified only six years after her death (September 5, 1997), the shortest beatification process in modern times.

In early 1999 -- less than two years after Mother Teresa's death -- Pope John Paul II waived the normal five-year waiting period and allowed the immediate opening of her canonization cause.

In 2002, the Holy Father recognized the healing of an Indian woman as the miracle needed to beatify Mother Teresa of Calcutta. That healing occurred on the first anniversary of Mother Teresa's death. It involved a non-Christian woman in India who had a huge abdominal tumor and woke up to find the tumor gone. Members of the Missionaries of Charity prayed for their foundress's intervention for the woman.

In 2001, on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, officials closed the diocesan inquiry into Mother Teresa's sanctity. The year-long gathering of testimony from those who knew Mother Teresa was the first major step in a typically long process.

A year earlier -- at an August 26, 2000, celebration in Calcutta marking Mother Teresa's birth anniversary -- Hindu, Sikh and Muslim admirers joined in common prayers for her speedy canonization.

"A Call within a Call"

Mother Teresa, whose birth name was Agnesa Gonxha Boiaxhiu, was born on August 26, 1910 to an ethnic Albanian family living in Skopje, then a part of the Ottoman empire and formerly part of the Republic of Yugoslavia but now capital of Macedonia.

After spending her childhood in Skopje, she left for Ireland at age 18, where she joined the Sisters of Loreto, taking the name Teresa, for Thérèse of Lisieux. She was later sent to India, and made her final profession in 1937. In 1946, during a train trip from Calcutta, she received a "call within a call", and in 1950 she founded a congregation of nuns in Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity, and devoted her life to helping the poorest of the poor. By 1997, the sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members, and were established in almost 600 foundations in 123 countries of the world.

Albania Declares National Holiday in Honor of Mother Teresa

Albania's government created a new national holiday on October 19 to mark the beatification of Mother Teresa, a government spokesman said September 13.

Albania will organize a "Year of Mother Teresa", to run from October 19, 2003 to October 19, 2004, the spokesman said. He described Mother Teresa, the 1979 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, as an "illustrious figure of the Albanian people".

Mother Teresa traveled to Albania for the first time in 1989 when she visited her mother's and sister's grave.

Vatican Information Service and other news sources were used for this story.

The Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta can be found on the Vatican web site at: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20031019_index_madre-teresa_en.htmlns_lit_doc_20031019_index_madre-teresa_en.html

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