The official birth centenary celebrations of Mother Teresa began in Kolkata on Monday even as a clergyman said the Nobel Peace Prize winner's elevation to sainthood may take some more time.
The Mother, an Albanian nun, founded a Catholic congregation Missionaries of Charity and devoted herself to the cause of the poor, infirm and the dying worldwide from her base in Kolkata.
Born Aug 26, 1910, Mother Teresa died Sep 5, 1997.
The celebrations began at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the world's first cathedral named after the Mother, at Baruipur, 24 km from Kolkata in South 24 Parganas district.
The mass, conducted by Bishop of Baruipur Salvadore Lobo and celebrated by 14 other Bishops from various Diocese, saw the participation of a large number of devotees.
Bishop Lobo urged all devotees to be ambassadors of peace.
"Each of you can stop violence in this world that is riddled with conflict and violence by becoming ambassadors of peace," the Bishop said in his homily.
Later, Lobo told reporters that though the church was receiving report from all over the world about favours granted by the Mother, it was yet to find an "acceptable miracle".
The Vatican had completed the Albanian nun's beatification and gave her the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Oct 19, 2003, by accepting as miracle the claim of a tribal woman from Raijang in North Dinajpur that her tumour got healed after she prayed to the Mother.
A second miracle is now needed before the Mother can be declared a saint. Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the Mother came to India and founded Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata in 1950. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 and given India's highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work.
Starting from a four-room and one hall set up at 14, Creek Lane, in Kolkata, the Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and now comprises over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.
It runs homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also conducts children's and family counselling programmes and runs orphanages and schools.