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Priest working toward Mother Teresa’s sainthood coming to Denver

The priest who heads up the cause for canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Missionaries of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, will speak in Denver June 4 at St. Joseph Church in downtown Denver. There he will talk about the saintly life of the nun who served the poorest of the poor for more than 60 years, his longtime friendship with her, and reflect on the experience of working toward her canonization for 15 years.

Father Kolodiejchuk shared the story of his influential first meeting with Mother Teresa.

“My sister joined the Missionaries of Charity Sisters (founded by Mother Teresa) in 1976 and … my parents and I went to Rome to visit her,” he said during an interview with Radio Horeb in 2007. “There we met Mother Teresa for the first time.”

A group of men was forming an assembly of contemplative brothers and at the opening Mass, she placed a cross on the shoulder of each man. When greeting Mother Teresa after Mass, she said to Kolodiejchuk: “I want to place a cross on your shoulder also.”

“I was so surprised that I didn’t even say anything,” he explained.

The encounter moved him to join the brothers, and ultimately become a priest: the first in the order she founded in 1984.

Following her death Sept. 5, 1997, Pope John Paul II waived the normal five-year waiting period and allowed for immediate opening of her canonization cause. In his work as postulator since early 1999, Father Kolodiejchuk, a native of Canada, has traveled the world collecting information and documenting events for the cause. Mother Teresa was beatified Oct. 19, 2003, by now-St. Pope John Paul II. In 2007, Father Kolodiejchuk edited and wrote the commentary for the book “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,” a collection of her private letters.

“Mother Teresa was really a mother,” he said. “The way (she) looked at you, the way she was concerned about you, and how she spoke … you really felt like she was a mother.”

The evening will begin with Mass at 5:30 at St. Joseph’s at 600 Galapago St., followed by Father Kolodiejchuk’s talk, dinner and a presentation by a Christ in the City missionary on their outreach to Denver’s homeless. There is no charge for the event. For more information or to RSVP, email info@christinthecity.com, call 303-952-9743 or visit www.christinthecitymissionaries.com.

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