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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Simon Vukel


Media Contact: Simon Vukelj (914) 512-8160 914-661-6280
Email: motherteresamass@gmail.com
OUR LADY OF SHKODRA
Event Contacts: Mark Gjonaj (917) 731-6850 ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH
Victoria Gjelaj (914) 299-3053 Hartsdale, NY

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOTHER TERESA’S BIRTH TO


BE CELEBRATED AT ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL
-- Holy Mass to be held in Mother Teresa’s honor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
-- Dinner to be held in Bronx with proceeds benefiting Missionaries of Charity

Hartsdale, NY – Mother Teresa once stated that “everything starts from prayer”, and
on August 26th, the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth, thousands of New Yorkers will gather
in New York City to pray and to honor Mother Teresa’s life with Holy Mass. The mass is
being organized by Our Lady of Shkodra Church and will take place at 7:00 P.M. on August
26th, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The mass is open to the public and all are
encouraged to come celebrate Mother Teresa for her life’s work, her dedication to the poorest
of the poor, and the inspiration she still provides to us today to do good works.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in 1910, and
hearing God’s calling early in life, she left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto in
Ireland. A year later, she went to India to teach, and after witnessing the immense poverty in
Calcutta, chose to live among the poor and tend to their needs. In 1950, she founded the
Missionaries of Charity, which today has grown into a worldwide movement, consisting of
thousands of Sisters wearing the well-known blue and white sari, who tend to the poor and
destitute regardless of ethnicity, faith or background. In Mother Teresa’s words, “we are all
God’s children”. Mother Teresa died in 1997, and was beatified by the Vatican in 2003, an
important step in the process towards her canonization as a Saint.

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The mass at St. Patrick’s is being organized by Our Lady of Shkodra Roman Catholic
Parish, an ethnic Albanian church led by Reverend Peter Popaj. Currently located in
Hartsdale, NY, the church was visited by Mother Teresa in its previous location in the South
Bronx, not far from where she opened her first Missionaries of Charity location in the United
States. The church is named after a miracle that took place in the northern Albanian city of
Shkodra, which is also from where Mother Teresa’s family originated.
While Mother Teresa did the majority of her work in India and tended to all regardless
of background, she held a special place in her heart for her Albanian kinfolk, especially
during the dark days of the cold war when Albania’s communist government banned religion
in the country. On trips to New York she revealed that she still prayed in the Albanian
language, and delivered a message to the Albanian people that “I am praying for you”. For
Albanians especially, she is a source of pride. Mother Teresa referred to her ancestry most
famously with the following statement: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian.
By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I
belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”
Mother Teresa, along with Pope John Paul II, attended the inauguration of the
Cathedral of the city of Shkodra in Albania on April 25, 1993, re-opening the Catholic Church
in Albania after the fall of communism. In 1997, prior to her death, Mother Teresa sent the
message that “Mother is praying much for all my dear people of Albania”.
After her death in 1997, the Albanian community of New York celebrated her life with
an overflow crowd attending a special mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Our Lady of
Shkodra named its community organization “The Mother Teresa Center”, in continuing
tribute to her life and works. In her home country of Albania, whose once-communist
government prevented her from visiting her family, the international airport in Tirana, the
capital city of a now free and democratic Albania, is called Mother Teresa Airport.
Over the last few years, the parishioners of Our Lady of Shkodra have been
fundraising and working towards the construction of a large cathedral named in Mother
Teresa’s honor in Prishtina, the capital city of the new country of Kosovo. Albanians
worldwide, including many from the New York area, will gather at the new Mother Teresa
Cathedral on September 6 for its first mass. In addition, Our Lady of Shkodra’s Mother
Teresa Center is also planning an annual community day of service, which is inspired by
Mother Teresa’s works.
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She was called a living Saint, and her life and work still deservedly attract much
attention. Her legacy is the thousands of Missionaries of Charity sisters who continue to
serve the poorest of the poor in almost every country throughout the world. All are
encouraged to attend the mass at St. Patrick’s, and in the words of Mother Teresa, to “show
great love for God and our neighbor.”

St. Patrick’s Event Details:

Date: Thursday, August 26, 2010, 7:00 P.M.

What: Mass in honor of the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth

Where: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 51st streets, NYC

Who: Open to the public, to people of all faiths and backgrounds

Dinner Event Details:

Date: Sunday, August 29, 2010, 6:30 P.M.

What: Dinner event in honor of the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth, with proceeds
benefiting the Missionaries of Charity

Where: Eastwood Manor (Catering Hall), 3371 Eastchester Road, Bronx, NY

Who: Tickets are $60. For more information contact Mark Gjonaj (917) 731-6850 or
Victoria Gjelaj (914) 299-3053

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