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L.A. archbishop on Mother Teresa’s canonization: She ‘came to show us the way’

Mother Teresa is canonized
Pope Francis passes in front of a portrait of Mother Teresa at the end of a canonization ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday. Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint.
(Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels held a special Mass on Sunday afternoon to honor the canonization of Mother Teresa, whose decades of work in the slums of Calcutta gained her renown and inspired a global network of shelters and orphanages. 

During the service, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez praised the Albanian-born nun as a model of holiness. She died in 1997 at the age of 87, and Pope Francis declared her a saint Sunday morning in Vatican City.

“Mother Teresa came to show us the way,” Gomez said in his homily. “Like Pope Francis, she tells us that we must follow Jesus into the ‘peripheries’ — to the margins of society where we find the poor and the prisoner, the immigrant and the refugee, the sick and the lonely.”

The service in downtown Los Angeles featured the presentation of a relic honoring Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity religious order. The relic consists of pieces of her hair in the form of a cross. 

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After Mass, Gomez blessed a new chapel dedicated to Mother Teresa and officially opened the space, which contains photos and testimonials documenting her visits to Los Angeles over the years.

She established the only home of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in the U.S. during a visit to L.A. in the 1970s, and she opened a home for pregnant women in Lynwood during a 1989 visit, according to a statement issued by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

While addressing a crowd of 120,000 in Vatican City, Pope Francis spoke of her mission to help the poor and downtrodden. 

“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity,” the pontiff said.

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Mother Teresa’s official name as a saint will be St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Special correspondent Tom Kington contributed to this report. 

frank.shyong@latimes.com

Twitter: @frankshyong

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UPDATES:

6 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and other details on the special Mass honoring Mother Teresa.

This article was originally published at 10:20 a.m.


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