October 26, 2016 // Local

White Mass honors medical professionals

By Claire Kenney

St. Luke

Medical professionals in the Michiana area gathered on the feast of St. Luke, Oct. 18, to participate in a White Mass celebrated at St. Pius X Parish by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

Bishop Rhoades stated that the Mass was appropriately celebrated on St. Luke’s feast day, since he is the patron of physicians.

“We know from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians that Luke was a physician. Paul refers to Luke as ‘the beloved physician,’” the bishop explained. “His medical background and education is seen in his choice of medical language in his writings.”

He went on to make the connection between Luke’s roles as writer and physician, and Christ’s role as healer.

“Of course, Luke emphasizes that the physical healings accomplished by Jesus all point to the healing of the soul, Christ healing us from the disease of sin, from the devil, and from death,” he said. It is God’s mercy that heals us, that frees us from the corruption of sin and death.”

Acknowledging a physician’s role in healing, Bishop Rhoades emphasized that, like Christ’s work, a physician’s career is not simply limited to physical healing.

“Your profession is more than ordinary work. You are called to be instruments of God’s healing love.” He went on to describe how doctors are often called to alleviate loneliness and worry.

“You visit the sick to tend to their illnesses and to help them heal. I think also of the spiritual work of comforting the afflicted. The comfort you provide your patients is an important element of their healing and of their wellbeing,” he said.

At the end of Mass, the bishop acknowledged Al Gutierrez for his years of service as president and CEO of Saint Joseph Health System, and he applauded Gutierrez for fostering a strong relationship between SJHS and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Following the Mass, Dr. John Rice, president of the Saint Andre Bessette Guild of North Central Indiana, which works to cultivate Catholic ideals within the medical field, gave some brief remarks about medical professionals’ important work and the challenges faced by Catholic doctors today. He encouraged those present to remember that their career is a vocation.

According to Dr. Rice, the Catholic Medical Association is “dedicated to deepening the faith of its members, fostering fellowship among Catholic health care professionals and reaching out to the community to integrate the Catholic faith and health care.” Political and cultural changes in our society make it imperative that Catholics educate and support one another as they witness to their faith,” he added.

Formed in 2015, the Saint Andre Bessette Guild is an initiative that is chartered by the Catholic Medical Association. The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month in the rectory of Holy Family Parish in South Bend.

“…I have been impressed with how well our members bring their faith into their personal and professional lives,” Dr. Rice said. “It is inspiring to work with a group of deeply committed medical professionals.”

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