Monday, September 6, 2010

BIS #2023 MOTHER TERESA'S MEMORABLE VISIT YEARS AGO

Fr. William Falcao sdb
MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 5, 2010: Today, by some very strange coincidence, on this very day (Sept. 5) twenty four years ago, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta visited Ahmednagar town at our invitation. The collector, the DSP, the MLA and many other civil officials along with a big crowd of people were present to welcome her at the Kedgaon petrol pump (there was only one at that time). Mother arrived at about 10am in a Bajaj tempo van. She was driven straight to the Ahmednagar College for a reception. The college ground was packed to its capacity. Mother was given a felicitation worthy of an international celebrity. Many people honored her not only with garlands and bouquets, but with lots of gifts in cheques and cash too.

Thereafter, she was taken to St. Anne’s church where she prayed for a while, talked briefly to the parishioners, and was garlanded by Patole Baba from Kombdiwala Mala, being the oldest parishioner. Mother then left the place for Bhingar church where again large crowd was waiting for her. The church bells pealed as she arrived and greeted a packed congregation. To the people gathered her message was short, simple and practical: ‘The family that prays together stays together.’

She came to the Parish house to meet the Salesian community. She had just a glass of water and inquired about our work and mission. When we told her that we had taken over the parish from the Jesuits she wondered why. Fr. Matthew Thalanany had the presence of mind to ask her to write a message on our chronicle.

This is what she wrote: LET US KEEP THE JOY OF LOVING JESUS IN THE POOR AND SHARE THIS JOY WITH ALL WE MEET.GOD BLESS YOU. TERESA.

The Ahmednagar Club hosted the lunch for her. Then she was taken to Govindpura where someone offered her a piece of land. There too she was felicitated by many people. From here she left for Shreerampur. Twenty of our young parishioners accompanied her on their motor bikes till Dehare.

I had the great fortune to sit by her side all the way. While travelling I requested her to open a house in our Parish but she said she would do it only if there was even a single vocation to the Missionaries of Charity from this Parish.

A great throng of multitude was waiting for her also in Shreerampur on the main road. After the felicitations the clergy and the religious went with her to Haregaon where we celebrated the H. Eucharist, she gave us a talk and had dinner together. She left for Nashik in the night itself. All of us went off home feeling truly blessed, blessed by a Beatus.

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