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Govt delegation for Mother Teresa's beatification

By Our Correspondent in Delhi
October 15, 2003 23:12 IST
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An official government delegation will be among the hundreds of Indians attending the beatification of Mother Teresa at the Vatican on October 19, the Catholic Bishops Conference of India announced on Wednesday.

Delhi's Archbishop Vincent Concessao said Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment P C Thomas will head an inter-religious delegation to the Vatican.

"The beatification of Mother Teresa is a great honour to the Indian Church. Over 200,000 people are expected to attend the beatification ceremony at the Vatican," he said.

The Indian Church is examining the possibility of requesting the Vatican to expedite the process of making Mother Teresa a saint, the step after the beatification, the archbishop said.

He said controversies surrounding the miracle that led to the Mother's beatification were unwarranted. "They [the Vatican] have had enough investigations and are satisfied," he said.
"Beatification is a very democratic process," he said, "involving a painstaking process of verification of the claims, work and contributions of the individual concerned."

A miracle has to be 'instantaneous, permanent and scientifically unexplainable,' and in the case of the tribal lady who claims to have been cured of her tumour by the Mother's prayers, these three aspects have been conclusively proven, said Deputy Secretary General of CBCI Fr Donald D'Souza.

Indian television channels have lined up several hours of programming on the Mother, including a live telecast of the beatification ceremony.

On Tuesday, President A P J Abdul Kalam released a book on Mother Teresa comprising a poem by him, articles by former prime ministers V P Singh and I K Gujral and several others.

The book, edited by CBCI spokesman Fr Babu Joseph, is among the items that are crowding stores and bookstands as the interest in the Mother picks up worldwide.

A few hundred Indians are travelling to Vatican to witness the beatification ceremony.


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Our Correspondent in Delhi