By Catholic News Service
CALCUTTA, India (CNS) — The head of the Missionaries of Charity prayed for victims of the Aug. 25 bomb explosions in Hyderabad, India, during this year’s commemoration of the birth of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
“We need to pray that those responsible realize their wrongs. We should also ask pardon from God for those involved and pray for their repentance,” Mother Teresa’s successor, Sister Nirmala Joshi, told reporters Aug. 26, the 97th anniversary of the birth of the Missionaries of Charity founder. “We need to pray for the families lost, and we need to pray that God gives them comfort and courage.”
Twin blasts the previous day killed at least 42 people in Hyderabad. Some officials said they suspect Islamic terrorists were to blame, reported UCA News, an Asian church news agency.
The explosions went off almost simultaneously in a restaurant and at an outdoor laser-show arena. Police reportedly defused 19 more bombs hidden in plastic bags at bus stops, cinemas, road junctions and pedestrian bridges across the city.
On Aug. 26, Sister Nirmala attended an all-faith prayer program organized by Calcutta’s All India Minority Forum at Mother Teresa’s tomb. The participants, representing various religions, condemned the bomb blasts.
Sister Nirmala prayed for Mother Teresa’s intercession for “peace for all souls killed in the conflict” and “the light and grace of God” for the perpetrators of the crime to “realize what they have done.”
The tomb sits inside the congregation’s Calcutta headquarters. Prayers, music, dance, exhibitions and special intercessions for Mother Teresa’s sainthood cause marked the program.
Sukhnanda Singh Ahluwalia, who attended the program, recalled that the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke “against terrorism, which has no religion” and added, “No one can do what she has done for the world.”
Idris Ali, a Muslim, said Mother Teresa was “for the poor and against killing and violence,” and that all Indians should follow her teachings to respect life and share resources with the poor.
The Archdiocese of Calcutta also marked the day with special prayer programs. The city was Mother Teresa’s base; she began the congregation in Calcutta in 1950, after dedicating her life to the “service of the poorest of the poor.”
Retired Archbishop Henry D’Souza of Calcutta, who was closely associated with Mother Teresa, said a Mass in her honor at St. Mary’s Church, her former parish.