The Gospel reading on the feast of St. Luke included Jesus’ instructions to His disciples: “Cure the sick … and say to them, ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’” These are fitting words to describe St. Luke, who was not only an evangelist but also a notable physician. He serves as the official patron of the Catholic Medical Association, and his feast is the occasion for the annual “White Mass,” named for the color traditionally worn by medical professionals.
Members of the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Catholic Medical Guild of Northeast Indiana and their families gathered to celebrate this special liturgy at the St. Mother Théodore Guérin Chapel adjacent to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Wednesday, October 18.
Sharing insights about the life and legacy of their patron, Father Mark Gurtner, Vicar General of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, explained: “St. Luke was intelligent and very well-read. As you may know, the New Testament was written in Greek. St. Luke’s Greek is highly complex and reflects someone who has had a lot of schooling; he was also highly knowledgeable of the Jewish Scriptures. The Gospel of Luke is the record of God’s fidelity to and fulfillment of His promises in Jesus. The Book of Acts, which Luke also wrote, is the record of God’s fidelity to and fulfillment of His promises in the Church. And this points to God continuing to be faithful to His promises still in us.”
Father Gurtner continued: “The 20th century mystic, Adrienne Von Speyr, (known for having many miraculous visions that were only disclosed after her death) said of St. Luke, ‘He is set apart from the other disciples of the Lord by his capacities. He is more educated, more differentiated from them, [yet] he is completely humble; he wills only what belongs to the Lord, and he seeks constantly to lose his knowledge and capacities in the Lord. He prays quite a bit.’”
“For all of you engaged in the medical field, because of your education and abilities, you, too, may feel at times set apart from others,” Father Gurtner said during the homily at the White Mass. “St. Luke is a perfect patron for you – highly educated, yet humble. A disciple who puts all his education, gifts, and talents at the service of the Lord. May St. Luke help you all to do the same, that God’s love might shine forth through you and through the essential work that you do.”
Dr. Emily Krach, who practices at Credo Family Medicine in Fort Wayne, shared with Today’s Catholic her appreciation for the White Mass. “It is important for us to gather on the feast of St. Luke to give thanks for the immense privilege it is to live out our vocations as Catholic physicians and health professionals,” Dr. Krach said. “Our diocese is incredibly supportive in our work to uphold the teachings of the Church in the practice of medicine.”
Music for the Mass was provided by choir members from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Following Mass, a special dinner for all present was hosted in the lower level of the Cathedral.
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