Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated the annual White Mass for health care workers at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne, the evening of Oct. 27.
The Catholic Medical Guild of Northeast Indiana organized the Mass that several health care workers attended. COVID-19 was one focus of the liturgy, because everyone in the health and medical fields has been severely impacted by the pandemic.
“As members of the medical profession, you have confronted this health emergency with generosity and commitment,” the bishop said in his homily. “I imagine you have had many exhausting days. Even at risk to your own health, you have served the sick and the dying. We pray for you during this White Mass, for your well-being, your stamina, your professional expertise and your compassionate and loving care of your patients.”
He related the health care vocation to the Gospel reading for the day, the parable of the good Samaritan, saying those in the medical field “participate in the growth of the Kingdom by your service of the sick and the suffering and your witness of faith, hope and love in your profession. You are particularly called to holiness through your work, the holiness that builds up the Kingdom of God on earth.”
The Church has “often pointed to the good Samaritan and his actions as a paradigm for health care professionals. Out of charity, you take time to stop and care for the wounded person left for dead on the side of the road. The Samaritan did this out of charity, out of love.”
He continued, “In your work, you not only refrain from doing evil, from things like abortion, direct sterilization, assisted suicide and sex reassignment, you also discern what to do to serve the health and life of the patient before you, what is medically and morally sound. You discern how you can not only not harm your patient, but how you can promote and protect their well-being, alleviate their pain and assist them in their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.”
Eustace Fernandes, a doctor in attendance at the White Mass, said that the Catholic faith has been his source of strength as a health care professional.
“Particularly during the pandemic, it has given me the strength through the sacraments and the prayers of others to take care of patients who are profoundly ill, to help their families who are really distraught over the separation they have from their loved one and to continue to be able to see Christ in each of my patients, whether they have COVID or not.”
“By your skillful, attentive, and loving care of your patients,” Bishop Rhoades said, “you bear witness to the dignity of the human person created in God’s image and likeness. Inspired by the Gospel and your Catholic faith, you recognize and promote their dignity through your devoted medical care. You do not see or treat your patients as objects, as physical machines, but as subjects, as persons of body, mind and spirit.”
“You are proclaiming by your actions the demands of the Gospel of Jesus. You are proclaiming His Kingdom.”
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