On a train to Darjeeling, India, in 1946, Jesus called a nun to “Come, be my light.” That woman, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, spread that light throughout the world, caring for the poorest of the poor by opening hundreds of orphanages, hospices, health clinics and soup kitchens.  

The work of Blessed Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity earned accolades from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, including awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

So, it would seem appropriate then, that the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights would want to honor the 100th anniversary of the holy woman’s birth through the use of light. Catholic League President Bill Donohue submitted a request that the tower lights of New York’s Empire State Building shine blue and white — the colors of the Missionaries of Charity — on Aug. 26. However, that request was denied without explanation. 

In a media release earlier this month, Donohue pointed out that last year the Empire State Building tower featured red and yellow lights to mark the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. “Yet under its founder, Mao Zedong, the communists killed 77 million people,” Donohue said. “In other words, the greatest mass murderer in history merited the same tribute being denied to Mother Teresa.” 

The Catholic League is urging Catholics to sign an online petition to request that the Empire State Lighting Partners reverse the decision. Visit www.catholicleague.org/petition.php