(RNS) In a bid to honor what would have been Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday on Aug. 26, the New York-based Catholic League has gathered more than 24,000 signatures to light the iconic spire of the Empire State Building in blue and white.
The answer from the building’s management, so far, has been no, which has made the conservative group even more insistent. Some New York priests, meanwhile, don’t seem to see what all the fuss is about.
Jeff Field, a spokesman for the Catholic League said the group’s application was denied without explanation a few weeks ago.
“We’re deeply upset and quite angry that the Empire State Building hasn’t budged and it doesn’t look like they are going to,” Field said.
Representatives from the Empire State Building declined to comment.
The Rev. Thomas Franks of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Midtown Manhattan also wanted an explanation for the denial, but does not consider the lighting to be of utmost importance.
“A far more important thing is her own canonization process and the recognition of her life of holiness,” Franks said of Mother Teresa.
Other priests, like Rev. Bartholomew Daly of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, don’t see much merit in the request.
“I think that trying to get the Empire State involved is far out,” Daly said. “I can’t see anything spiritual about that.”
The United States Postal Service will honor the life and humanitarian work of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun with a stamp tentatively scheduled to go on sale on Aug. 26.
In the last two years, the Empire State Building has been specially lit to celebrate the career of pop star Mariah Carey, the fifth anniversary of the Broadway musical “Wicked” and the founding of communist China.
The Catholic League is headquartered less than 10 blocks from the Empire State Building, and if their petition is unsuccessful, officials plan to hold a rally on Aug. 26, Field said.
“We’re going to bring people to the streets, we’re going to make sure that this is well known, we want this to be a big event,” he said.
By FERNANDO ALFONSO III
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