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Vatican admits date set aside in Year of Mercy for possible canonisation of Mother Teresa

A picture of Mother Teresa alongside a Missionary of Charity at World Youth Day in Madrid (Photo: CNS)

The Vatican calendar for the Year of Mercy deliberately set aside September 4, 2016, as a possible date for the canonisation of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, if her sainthood cause is concluded by then.

The canonisation would be celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square at the end of a three-day pilgrimage of people who, like Blessed Teresa was, are engaged in corporal works of mercy.

“September 4 is a hypothesis or plan within the calendar for the jubilee year,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told Catholic News Service yesterday.

The Italian news agency AGI reported on Wednesday that a panel of physicians convoked by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes agreed there was no medical or natural explanation for the recovery of a Brazilian man suffering from multiple brain tumours.

His healing after prayers for the intercession of Blessed Teresa was submitted as the miracle needed for her canonisation.

Father Lombardi urged caution, however. “The process is still underway and official communications will be given at the appropriate time.”

Members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes still must review the physicians’ report on the healing.

If the members have no further questions, Pope Francis would be asked to issue a decree recognising the healing as a miracle worked by God through the intercession of Mother Teresa.

With the decree, the Pope would survey the world’s cardinals and set a date for a consistory of cardinals who live in or could come to Rome for the occasion. They would be asked to recommend the pope canonise Blessed Teresa; if the pope agrees, he would set the date for the ceremony.

AGI had reported the likely date of the canonisation would be September 5 – Mother Teresa’s feast day and the anniversary of her death.

However, September 5 is a Monday in 2016 and Father Lombardi said the canonisation would not take place on a Monday.