"I am confident that this year will be for the Church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work for you, her spiritual children," the Pope said in a message to MoC superior-general Sr Prema.
Archbishop of Kolkata Lucas Sirkar read out Pope Benedict XVI's message at the mass held at the chapel of the MoC headquarters here.
The Pope hailed Mother Teresa for a exemplifying and practising the message of St John, who had said, "If God loves us, we ought also to love one another. God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
The message read, "May this love continue to inspire you as Missionaries of Charity, to give yourselves generously to Jesus, whom you see and serve in the poor, the sick, the lonely and the abandoned."
Saying that he was spiritually joining the celebrations, the Pope said, "I encourage you to draw constantly from the spirituality and example of Mother Teresa and in her footsteps, to take up Christ's invitation: 'Come be my light."
Born on 26 Aug 1910 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa dedicated her life to charity and serving the poor, sick, and the orphaned.
She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India in 1950. Following her death on 5 Sep 1997, Pope John Paul II beatified her and gave her the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.