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Mark Houck: My family’s photo is on Mother Teresa’s tomb

October 17, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
Mark Houck gives a speech at the Men’s March in Boston on Oct. 15, 2022. / Credit: Screenshot of Facebook Livestream “My Mother Mary”

Boston, Mass., Oct 17, 2022 / 16:11 pm (CNA).

Mark Houck, the Catholic pro-life father of seven who was arrested last month after a controversial early-morning FBI raid at his home, says Mother Teresa’s nuns in the Missionaries of Charity have placed a photo of his family on her tomb in Kolkata, India.

“They placed it right on the crypt and every morning they pray over that image,” he said.

“Praise God, right?” he added.

Houck made the comments Saturday in Boston, where he was a featured speaker at a pro-life event known as The Men’s March.

Houck was arrested Sept. 23 on charges he violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act by allegedly assaulting a Planned Parenthood clinic escort in an altercation outside a Philadelphia abortion clinic in October 2021. Houck, who maintains he shoved the man to stop him from verbally haranguing one of Houck’s sons, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Since his arrest at his family home, the Department of Justice and the FBI have faced severe criticism from lawmakers, clergy, pro-lifers, and media personalities, while Houck has received support from Catholic bishops and most recently German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who paid a visit to the Houck family Oct. 12 at their home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, an online fund drive has raised more than $382,000 for the family.

The Boston event, officially The National Men’s March to Abolish Abortion and Rally for Personhood, is a national pro-life march that calls men to stand for life. Last year’s march was held in Baltimore during the U.S. bishops’ fall assembly.

Houck began his speech by talking about his trust in Jesus in the midst of his family’s trials.

“First of all, be not afraid. What’s happening to me is a good thing. It’s a way to know you’re in God’s holy will. Amen?” he told the crowd.

“When they come after you and they persecute you, you know you’re in the will of God. And my wife and my children, my seven babies, we have great trust in the Lord. So be not afraid. Stand in the gap. And that’s where you’re called to be as men,” he said.

Houck said that numerous people — including the Missionaries of Charity — have assured him of their prayers since his arrest. CNA sought comment from the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata but did not receive a response prior to publication.

“We have people in Uganda and Europe praying. We have people all over the world praying. We have people in Boston praying. We are very encouraged by that,” Houck said.

One man, who called himself “a lousy Catholic,” told Houck that “after seeing what happened to you, I’m going back to the Church,” Houck told the marchers, who wore suits for the event.

“We will stay the course. We will fight the good fight. We will run the race,” Houck said.

You can watch Houck’s full speech on Facebook here.


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How this Mother Teresa documentary sheds new light on a beloved saint

September 5, 2022 Catholic News Agency 2
Mother Teresa in the year 1980. / L’Osservatore Romano.

Rome Newsroom, Sep 5, 2022 / 06:40 am (CNA).

The so-called “definitive movie” about Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be in theaters in October. It sheds new light on — and delivers powerful images of — the life of this venerated Albanian-Kosovar nun.

Sept. 5 is the feast day of the St. Teresa of Kolkata. She died on Sept. 5, 1997, and was beatified only six years later, on Oct. 19, 2003.

John Paul II proclaimed her blessed in 2003, only six years after her death. Her life inspired thousands of books. Her life, witness, and legacy have been studied and written about in depth.

Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa on Sept. 4, 2016. 

For this reason, it doesn’t seem easy to add anything to the many biographies and stories about Mother Teresa of Calcutta. But the film “No Greater Love”, produced by the Knights of Columbus, achieves this feat. 

The film premiere took place in Rome on Aug. 29, while on Aug. 31, there was a press conference about the movie. 

Divided into chapters that tell the salient moments of Mother Teresa’s life, the film is fragmented with interviews with missionaries, members of the order she founded, and biographers of Mother Teresa. 

“Mother Teresa” is not only a reflection on the life of the saint but also gives a general perspective of the great work that the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa do all over the world, in Brazil, in the fields on the border between Mexico and the United States, in the Philippines.

The story of Mother Teresa is well-documented. Born in Skopje to an Albanian-Kosovar family, a minority of the minorities in the Balkan region, she soon felt the missionary impulse, entered the Missionary Nuns of Our Lady of Loreto, and left for India, where she began to work as a teacher. 

After witnessing the shocking impact of local suffering in the streets of Calcutta after some riots, she realized her mission was, first and foremost, to be with the poor. 

Indeed, with the poorest of the poor.

From this vocation was born a work that has touched the entire world. It spread from the slums of Calcutta (Kolkata) to the Bronx, helping those stricken with another kind of poverty: marginalized AIDS patients, who, at the end of the previous century, was at first treated like lepers at the time of Jesus.

Eventually, her vital work was recognized by the world. In 1979, Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize, and in Oslo, she delivered a touching speech in which she labeled the nations that legalize abortion as “the poorest nations.” 

Mother Teresa’s friendship with Saint John Paul II bore many fruits, including a house of the Missionaries of Charity right in the Vatican, where they are today. 

Part of this saint’s enduring legacy is her spirituality, her struggle with the “dark night of the soul.” 

What is powerful in the film is, above all, the images. The producers had full access to the Missionaries of Charity’s archive, finding unpublished or little-known footage, including that of Mother Teresa acting as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.

Patrick Kelly, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, emphasized that the film was born “thanks to the relationship of trust between the Knights of Columbus and the Missionaries of Charity.”

After all, Virgil Dechant, the predecessor of Kelly’s predecessor as Supreme Knight, was a personal friend of Mother Teresa. They collaborated, sharing the mutual value of charity, at the foundations of the Knight of Columbus, considering that “charity is the fundamental principle of the Knights of Columbus.”

In a letter sent to Kelly, Pope Francis thanked for initiatives that “help, in a creative way, to make zeal for evangelization accessible especially to the younger generations.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, talked about his friendship with Mother Teresa. Although he asked her to send nuns to his diocese on two different occasions “to bring healing and consolation,” Mother Teresa always fulfilled the requests.

Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of the cause of the canonization of Mother Teresa, stressed that the film helps to remember the great work and vocation of the saint. 

The movie’s message is that “Calcutta is everywhere” — because there are those in need everywhere: “There is a work of charity yet to be done.”

Sister Myriam Therese, regional superior of the Missionaries of Charity, said it was “nice to see people who changed their lives because they were affected by God’s love” and that Mother Teresa was “a carrier of that love.”

Finally, David Naglieri, the movie’s director, underlined that “they did not want only a biography, we wanted to show her radical call, but also to show how the mission of Mother Teresa continues.”