Faith Matters

Mother Teresa revered as relic starts Irish journey

15 June, 2017 01:00

THE relic of Mother Teresa continues its two-month journey around Ireland with stops today in Enniskillen and Strabane.

It will be in Derry tomorrow and Coleraine on Saturday and Sunday, before being brought to Sligo on Tuesday.

Thousands of people have venerated the relic since it was first received in Armagh last week. From there, it was brought to the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman in Newry - which, from August 11, will be its permanent home - and on to Belfast.

The Knights of St Columbanus from Council 10 in Newry have worked with the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order established by Mother Teresa, to bring the relic to Ireland.

The relic itself is a spot of Mother Teresa's blood on a muslin cloth and is regarded as a 'first-class' relic because it is a piece of the saint.

The cloth has been mounted on a reliquary, which is in turn displayed on a monstrance on the altar and guarded by the Knights of St Columbanus.

Born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu - who would later become known as Mother Teresa - moved to Ireland at the age of 18 and joined the Loreto Order.

She moved to India to work with the poor in 1929, before founding the Missionaries of Charity order in 1950. By 2012 it had 4,500 sisters working in 133 countries.

Mother Teresa died in September 1997 and was canonised in September 2016. She became known officially as 'St Teresa of Calcutta' but remains better known as the more affectionate 'Mother Teresa'.

Archbishop of Armagh Dr Eamon Martin, who received the relic into the Armagh archdiocese last week, said Mother Teresa was a "wonderful woman".

Pope Francis, he said, had described her as "a model of mercy, a model of holiness for all of us".

"She wanted to do something beautiful for God so she reached out to the poorest of the poor, endeavouring to show them God's mercy through her simple gestures of love and kindness," said Dr Martin.

Those wishing to venerate the relic can kiss and make the sign of the cross with it, or touch it to any sick parts of their body.

Objects like Rosary beads and prayer cards can be touched to the relic, so becoming 'third-class relics'.

The team behind the relic's journey stress that the relic itself does not impart healing but that "God can act through it as an instrument to bring about miracles".

"We worship God's miraculous power, not the object that is the relic," they say.

People queue to venerate the Relic of St Teresa of Calcutta at St Patrick's Church in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell.

The relic's journey around Ireland

Today: 10am - St Michael's Church, Enniskillen; 7.30pm - Sacred Heart Church, Strabane

Friday June 16: 8am, 10am, 7.30pm - St Eugene's Cathedral, Derry

Saturday June 17: 6pm - St Malachy's Church, Coleraine

Sunday June 18: 9am, 11am - St Malachy's Church, Coleraine

June 20-22: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo

June 22-24: Ballaghdreen Cathedral, Co Roscommon

June 24-26: Tuam Cathedral, Co Galway

June 26-28: St Muredach's Cathedral, Ballina, Co Mayo

June 28-30: Galway Cathedral

June 30 - July 2: Knock, Co Mayo

July 2-3: Loughrea Cathedral, Co Galway

July 4-6: Ennis, Co Clare

July 6-8: St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick

July 8-10: St Mary's Cathedral, Killarney, Co Kerry

July 10-12: St Patrick's Cathedral, Skibbereen, Co Cork

July 12-14: Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, Cork

July 14-16: Cobh Cathedral, Co Cork

July 16-18: Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles, Co Tipperary

July 18-20: St Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny

July 20-22: Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Waterford

July 22-24: St Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

July 24-26: Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow

July 26-28: Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

July 28-31: Dublin

July 31 - August 2: St Mel's Cathedral, Longford

August 2-4: Cavan Cathedral

August 4-6: St Macartan's Cathedral, Monaghan

August 6-8: St Peter's Church, Drogheda, Co Louth

August 8-9: Cathedral of St Eunan and St Columba, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

August 9: St Brigid's Shrine, Faughart, Co Louth

August 9-11: St Patrick's Church, Dundalk, Co Louth

August 11: Cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman, Newry. Arriving at 6.45pm for procession to Newry Cathedral, the permanent home of the relic in Ireland, with Mass celebrated by Bishop John McAreavey

15 June, 2017 01:00 Faith Matters

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