Canadian Gets Pope's Help in Call for Organ Donors

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 5—A man who is carrying a torch across Canada to encourage people to donate their organs met with Pope John Paul II after the Pope's weekly audience, the wire service reported.

George Marcello, 45, began his cross-country journey in June 2000, five years after he received a life-saving liver transplant. He was able to meet with the Pope due to the efforts of an Italian organ donation group. After his return from Vatican City, he will continue trekking across Canada for another year.

Marcello quoted the Pope as calling his cause “very good work,” and said that the Pope had blessed his torch. The Pope has expressed support for organ donation in the past, and called it “a genuine act of love.”

Hundreds Honor Mother Teresa

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 5—Hundreds of people gathered at Mother Teresa's marble tomb in Calcutta on the fourth anniversary of the beloved nun's death, the wire service reported.

Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's successor, led nuns and volunteers in prayer at the tomb. “Spiritually she is always with us and guiding us in our work,” Sister Nirmala said of her predecessor. She said that the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, has set up 78 new centers for the poor, homeless and sick, since Mother Teresa died in 1997.

Sister Nirmala said she had not yet heard from the Vatican concerning Mother Teresa's possible canonization. Her cause is being examined by the Vatican, and Pope John Paul II has waived the customary five-year waiting period so that the nun's cause could proceed quickly. “All of us are praying for an early sainthood of our mother,” Sister Nirmala said.

Crowds Predicted for Papal Mass in Kazakhstan

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Sept. 5—About 50,000 invitations have been prepared for those wishing to attend Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II during his September visit to the former Soviet republic, the wire service reported.

That's one invitation for every Catholic thought to attend church regularly. There are an estimated 300,000 Catholics in Kazakhstan, mostly those deported under Stalinism and their descendants, but only 50,000 are estimated to be regular churchgoers.

The Pope will celebrate Mass in Motherland Square in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Sept. 23. Invitations are available for all who desire them. The Pope is also scheduled to celebrate Mass for the clergy of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, lay a wreath at a monument to the victims of political repression, and visit Astana's Eurasian University.