A special Mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Silver Jubilee of the election of Pope John Paul II, was held at St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham, at 5pm yesterday. Blessed Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul in Rome last Sunday 19 October and the 83-year old ailing Pope celebrated the 25th anniversary of his election on Thursday 16 October. The Polish Pontiff made his first dramatic appearance on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica at 7.22pm on 16 October 1978. Now, 25 years later, the first non-Italian Pope since the sixteenth century and the first from a communist land, is the fourth longest reigning Pope in history. During his sermon at Chad's Cathedral, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, emphasised that Mother Teresa was led on her particular pathway to God by her deep love of Jesus. He said: "Her pathway was that of service, in simplicity, trust and love. This pathway is, of course, the one marked out by Jesus. It is a royal road. It is open to each of us. It is our way to the fullness of joy and gladness not only in this world, but also in the world to come. "On this pathway action and prayer go hand in hand. The source of the compassion we fell is the compassion that our loving Father has for us. We come to know that endless compassion of God the more we turn to God in prayer, bring our own worries and burdens to Him, lay them at the feet of His Son. Then we are able to reach out to others." Archbishop Nichols stressed: "This is not an easy pathway. Mother Teresa's radiant love often looked effortless. But it was not. Only now do we learn that for many years she had no sense at all of God s loving presence. All she felt was an empty darkness. "But she persevered, with unswerving trust, saying her prayers every day, clinging to her faith. Out of darkness her faith brought such life and joy. This is the pathway of a saint."
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