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Editor's Desk: Rest in Christ's Peace

Mother Teresa’s 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 Cathedral’s 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 today’s 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…we are killing the unborn child." She asked the congregation, as receivers of the Eucharist, to be carriers of God’s 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 Christ’s peace. Copyright ?1997 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016