Bridge steps up for Mother Teresa tribute

Aug. 9, 2010 at 3:28 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The operators of an iconic New York state structure have stepped forward to honor Mother Teresa.

The international Peace Bridge between Canada and the United States at the east end of Lake Erie will be adorned with blue and white lights Aug. 26, in tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the renowned Catholic nun, who died in 1997 and is now under consideration for sainthood, The Buffalo (N.Y.) news reported Monday.

A request in June that the Empire State Building be lit in tribute was turned down by the building's owners, saying they do not light the building for religious figures and organizations, the newspaper said.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has protested the denial and plans a demonstration outside the building on Aug. 26, the anniversary date.

Meanwhile, operators of the Peace Bridge say they're happy to honor a joint request by Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Buffalo Diocese and Monsignor Wayne Kirkpatrick of St. Catharine's Diocese in Canada.

"We did not take the view that this was a religious request," said Ron Rienas, general manager of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, which runs the Peace Bridge. "It's really commemorating the charitable works of Mother Teresa."

The request "seemed fitting," given that Mother Teresa was "certainly a woman of peace," said Kevin A. Keenan, spokesman for the Buffalo Diocese.

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