A first class relic of St Teresa of Calcutta visited the Cathedral Christ the King, Mullingar on 26-27 July as part of a national tour in Ireland.
The visit began with Mass celebrated by Fr Padraig McMahon, and veneration of the relic continued until Night Prayer at 9.45 pm, led by Bishop Michael Smith. The devotions were coordinated by Indian born curate at the Cathedral, Fr Joseph Naikarakudy, whose doctoral studies in Rome focused on the spirituality of St Teresa of Calcutta. On the second day, the veneration resumed after 7. 45am Mass and again with Mass at 10am, celebrated by Fr Robert McGivney, who shared his experiences of working for a summer with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.
Locals turned out in their numbers to see the relic in Ashbourne, where it was received in the Church of the Immaculate Conception with Evening Prayer, followed by Rosary, Benediction and the opportunity to venerate the relic. Prayers of intercession were offered to St. Teresa of Calcutta (affectionately known as ‘Mother’) who often prayed with couples experiencing difficulty starting a family.
As preparations advance for the World Meeting of Families, Ashbourne parish sought Mother’s intercession for families, and as someone who personally experienced the ‘dark night of the soul’, her intercession was sought for those who ‘walk in darkness’. As Mother was a ‘Friend of the Poor’, special prayers were offered for the poor, the homeless and refugees.
Fr Derek Darby explained to those gathered that ‘in every chapel, in every convent of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa had the words “I Thirst” emblazoned on the wall next to the crucifix. Mother believed Jesus was thirsty for souls; she was thirsty for Him.’
The Missionaries of Charity provided Ashbourne parish with recordings of Mother Teresa from two of her previous visits to Ireland, extracts of which were played during Evening Prayer. The local Kerala community joined together at the end of the evening to offer prayers in Malayalam. Parishioners lit candles and left petitions at the parish shrine to St. Teresa of Calcutta.
The Diocese of Meath expresses gratitude to all who facilitated the visit of the relic, especially the Knights of St. Columbanus, the Legion of Mary, the Malayalam communities in Mullingar and Ashbourne, and those who gathered in prayer throughout the brief visit.