September 20, 2019 // Diocese

White Mass scheduled for South Bend-area health care professionals

MISHAWAKA — An annual White Mass for health care professionals in the greater South Bend area will be celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Oct. 11 at 7 a.m., at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Mishawaka. For the faithful serving in health care professions, it is an opportunity to ask for the Holy Spirit’s presence in their life-giving service, in a special way.

Begun in the 1930s, the idea for the White Mass stemmed from the traditional Red Mass for those in the legal profession, which also asks for the guidance of the Holy Spirit at the start of their judicial year. From the feast of St. Luke, patron saint of physicians, a corresponding White Mass developed. White is the liturgical color for the celebration, but the color also reflects the white work garments of doctors and nurses.

A uniquely American idea, the White Mass is celebrated with health care professionals of all specialties, and their spiritual care chaplains. A Blue Mass is also sometimes celebrated in the fall for police officers and those involved in public safety.

The Catholic Medical Association explains. “From its inception, the medical profession has been understood as a healing profession, a way in which Christ’s work continues upon the earth. Moreover, since the apparitions at Lourdes in the late 19th century, the plight of the infirm — and those who care for them — have taken on renewed appreciation in participating in the mysteries of Christ’s own life.”

The gifts of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, are vital to the work of doctors, nurses and those in health care, as many of their decisions are made at a moment’s notice. Those gifts are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, fear of the Lord and piety. The fruits of the Spirit, such as joy, also can transform the day of an ill patient with grace.

A breakfast reception will follow in the education rooms of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. To RSVP contact Sibella Talich at [email protected].

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