Canonization holds special meaning for local family
COLORADO SPRINGS. Father Jason Keas, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Cheyenne Wells and St. Augustine Parish in Kit Carson, served alongside Denver’s Archbishop Samuel Aquila at the Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of St. Teresa Calcutta on Sept. 4.
He then concelebrated with Cardinal James Stafford for the first ever feast day of St. Teresa on Sept. 5. Both Masses were held at St. Joseph’s Church in Denver.
Father Keas and his sister Jenny Garduno, along with her husband Ruben and their two children, also stood in long lines to venerate the relics of St. Teresa following both Masses. Their sibling, Brittany Keas, is a postulant in the Missionaries of Charity community and is currently in Mexico City.
“I just returned from a trip with my parents visiting her,” said Father Keas. “It was a blessing to concelebrate both masses and celebrate with the sisters after getting to know the community more in Mexico City by saying Mass for them and being alongside them spreading God’s love to the poor and abandoned.
“I learned at the Masses that three girls from Colorado are in the community, and it was a blessing meeting one of the mothers at the reception. It was also powerful to see people from all races celebrating together and I was happy to see so many people Sunday evening. The church was packed and flowing out the door to the street. We ran out of hosts to distribute to the faithful.”
“We stood in the back and we could barely move,” said Jenny Garduno. “I expected this. It is a huge deal to celebrate this modern day saint. We pray through her intercession every night.” Through St. Teresa, Garduno said “We can learn the joy of loving greatly.”
“She impacts us everyday as we continue learning more about her,” she said. “She has softened our hearts to love and serve others more, especially in our own families. She lived simply. She always thought of others before herself which is hard to do. She followed God’s call.”
Members of the Missionaries of Charity in Denver said a nine-day novena leading up to the canonization that was open to the public. Each day a different priest gave a talk. Prayers were taken from the book, “Jesus Is My All in All” published originally by the Mother Teresa Center and later by Doubleday. Each day, at least 50 people attended the hour-and-a-half adoration, benediction, rosary and talk.
“My husband says his daughters Sofia and Josephine will be entering the Missionaries of Charity with their aunt at age 14,” said Garduno, who along with her family belongs to St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish. “But in all seriousness, we want them to know that they are called to be saints. St. Teresa of Calcutta has shown us a beautiful example of that. The festivities were absolutely beautiful; we will always remember it. I heard someone say it was double what was expected. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by sisters, priests, seminarians, the community as well as the bishop and cardinal, wow!”
Several prayer cards and medals were made available to attendees. One was the reprint of the business card St. Teresa used to hand out, which contained no contact information but read: “The fruit of SILENCE is prayer. The fruit of PRAYER is faith. The fruit of FAITH is love. The fruit of LOVE is service. The fruit of SERVICE is PEACE. God bless you, Mother Teresa.”