By JOAN PATTEN     9/28/2022

“What I can do, you cannot do. What you can do, I cannot do. But together, we can do something beautiful for God!”

This is one of the most memorable sayings of St. Teresa of Calcutta and what a packed church at Our Lady of Guadalupe (Delhi) remembered as they gathered with the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death.

On Sept. 5, Bishop Kevin Vann celebrated Mass with a number of priests and deacons to celebrate and give thanks for the incredible life and witness of Mother Teresa.

St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “At the Cross in His most difficult time, Jesus proclaimed, ‘I thirst’. He thirsted for our love, our affection, that intimate attachment to Him and that sharing of His passion. If you listen with your heart, you will hear, you will understand and know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you and begin to know who He wants to be for you and who He wants you to be for Him.

Deacon Thomas Saenz, director of the office of the Diaconate and close friend of the Missionaries of Charity, shared, “About 10 years ago, Mother Teresa’s sisters helped show me this deep love that Christ has for me. The pathway to understanding that love was through a transformational encounter with Jesus through serving the poor. At the time in my life when I was least expecting it, He showed me who He wants to be for me and who He wants me to be for Him. God spoke to me in a profound way and set me on a new path, a life of service to Jesus and neighbor. This path brings an indescribable joy, a joy that’s shared by so many people around the world who have had similar encounters, a joy that is here for all of us. This shared joy was in full bloom for all in attendance at the Sept. 5 Mass.”

Three young girls, from families who support the sisters, dressed in the Missionaries of Charity’s saris, processed into the church with signs that listed the names of the various branches of the Missionaries of Charity. The family of the Missionaries of Charities is quite extensive and includes lay volunteers, lay co-workers, religious priests, active and contemplative religious sisters and active and contemplative religious brothers. Lay volunteers from San Diego and Los Angles also participated in the celebration.

Music for the liturgy was led by members of the Neocatechumenal Way. Some of the members live near the Missionaries of Charity in Santa Ana.

As the people enjoyed the meal that followed, they watched a short film about the life of Mother Teresa. People were also able to view over 20 panels of photos that were staged in the hall relaying the life of Mother Teresa.

The homily was given by Fr. Robert Conroy, MC, Missionary of Charity priest from Tijuana. He reflected on how much more we know of Mother Teresa’ s life since she entered into eternal life in 1997. At the time of her death, Mother Teresa was regarded as a foundress, servant of the poor and a holy example of charity. However, a few years later, the depths of her interior life were discovered, and it changed everything. Mother Teresa was a great mystic who suffered for years with great spiritual darkness. However, she shared her suffering only with her spiritual director and did not allow her difficulties to detour her from her mission of seeking the face of Christ in all people.

The liturgy concluded with the veneration and blessing with a relic of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

The Contemplative Missionaries of Charity moved into the Diocese of Orange and their Santa Ana neighborhood in early 2021. Since then, they have been graciously welcomed and supported by their neighbors and the parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Delhi) Church. Although Mother Teresa’s active work among the “poorest of the poor” is what she is most recognized for, she understood that all acts of charity must flow from deep union with God. The Active Missionaries of Charity spend many hours in prayer before they serve the sick and elderly and in their apostolates. The Contemplative Missionaries of Charity spend even more time in prayer and primarily attend to the spiritual works of mercy. They invite others to pray with them, visit the incarcerated, and go for “rosary walks” in their neighborhood.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of all the people of the parish and the pastor, Fr. Domingo (Romero), who helped organize the Mass and reception that followed,” said the Missionaries of Charity who initiated the event. “We were touched at how many people came and the love they have for Mother Teresa.