Mother Teresas death last week in Calcutta brought back
a flood of memories for Arlington Catholics who remember her
historic visit to the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in June
1982. The "tiny woman with a big heart" who needed a
platform to reach the Cathedrals pulpit microphone
was honored that day by more than 2,000 people. "Let
us, while receiving the Eucharist today, thank God for all
His precious gifts, one of whom is Mother Teresa," said
former Arlington Bishop Thomas J. Welsh at the June 1
service. "Let us pray that the children learn from her
example the love of Jesus." Dressed in her familiar white
sari trimmed in blue, Mother Teresa was escorted to the front
pew of the Cathedral by former diocesan chancellor Msgr.
William T. Reinecke. She was accompanied by many Religious
Sisters of the diocese, including the Immaculate Heart of
Mary Sisters who are stationed at the Cathedral convent.
During his homily, Bishop Welsh recalled his first meeting
with the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. "I first met
her in Philadelphia, when I was an auxiliary bishop there,"
he said. "At that time, I was just appointed bishop for
Northern Virginia (in 1974). Before leaving for Virginia, I
asked her to pray for me. I now ask her to pray for both my
community and me." Mother Teresa often said that the
Eucharist is the center and source of our faith. "I ask you
all to reflect on this thought, and to make todays
Eucharist the best you ever had," Bishop Welsh said. In a
gesture of thanksgiving, the congregation that day
contributed $9,500 in a single collection to the Missionaries
of Charity. Mother Teresa spoke for 20 minutes following the
Mass. "Jesus came to Mary while she was still a child," she
said, "and she became the mother of the small baby, the Son
of God. Jesus had come into her body. He had come into her
heart. "We, with the taking of Communion, have just accepted
Jesus into our hearts. As we accept Jesus, we bring love into
our lives." Mother Teresa said the most precious gift of God
is a child, "for he is the image and likeness of God. With
abortion, we are killing the likeness of God
killing the unborn child." She asked the congregation, as
receivers of the Eucharist, to be carriers of Gods
peace. "Help protect the life of the unborn," she said. "Many
people think that suffering is punishment," said the nun. "It
is not punishment. It is a gift of Christ. It is that which
brings us closer to Him." She recalled her relationship with
a woman who was dying of cancer. She told the woman that her
suffering was gift from Jesus and that it would bring her
closer to the cross. "He is kissing you," she told the woman.
"Tell Him to stop kissing me," the woman told Mother Teresa.
"Suffering will bring you closer to God," she added. "Please
pray for me," she concluded. "I will keep you in my prayers."
This week, the Arlington Diocese joins the entire world in
praying for the repose of the soul of Mother Teresa of
Calcutta. May she rest in Christs peace. Copyright
?1997 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.