The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will observe the canonization of Mother Teresa with a special Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Sunday, after which Archbishop José Gomez will bless and a cathedral chapel in her honor.
Pope Francis will declare the nun and Nobel Peace Prize winner a saint on Sunday during a Mass in Vatican City.
The Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will begin at 3:30 p.m. PDT, followed by Archbishop José Gomez's blessing and dedication of chapel in her honor. A relic made from Mother Teresa's hair in the form of a cross will be on display during the Mass. The relic will then be moved to the chapel, where it will accompany a portrait of Mother Teresa and written accounts testifying to her impact.
With a 3,000-person capacity, the Cathedral is expected to have enough room for attendees, archdiocese spokeswoman Doris Benavides told KPCC. But if not, she said, "It'll be a standing-only room."
Benavides said Mother Teresa's legacy lives on in Los Angeles through the stories of people whose lives were changed by her ministry and service.
"It is special because Mother Teresa is considered a contemporary saint, a modern saint, who catered to the poorest of the poor, as she used to say," Benavides said. "These were mainly homeless people, sick people living on the streets, and we have many of those right now in L.A., and in the world, refugees."
Ismael Contreras, who met Mother Teresa in 1992, told KPCC he isn’t really surprised that she will officially be recognized as a saint.
“When I met her, I didn’t have any doubt that she was already a living saint,” he said.
Contreras met Mother Teresa in when he was 22 years old and living in a home run by a religious group that housed youth who were out on the streets. At that point in his life, he was dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. The group traveled to Lynwood to see her, which was a crossroads for him.
"She transformed my life. In that brief moment that I spoke with her, her look, her sincerity, was something that helped me a lot to rehabilitate myself,” he said.
After that, he decided not just to receive help, but to give it. He would help in parish kitchens, washing dishes and serving food to the homeless, which Contreras said is what she always spoke of.
“To me, that’s something really impactful. Mother Teresa was a very humble person, very sincere. Her testimonies were always about serving the poorest of the poor,” he said.
You can watch the Mass and canonization of Mother Teresa by Pope Francis live on the Vatican's YouTube page Sunday at 1:30 a.m. PDT.
This story has been updated.