Doctors of All Faiths Welcomed at White Mass Ceremony

//Doctors of All Faiths Welcomed at White Mass Ceremony

Doctors of All Faiths Welcomed at White Mass Ceremony

Below is a great article about the White Mass, courtesy of the Great Louisville Medical Society. The article appeared in the December 2017 edition of the GLMS’ publication, Louisville Medicine.

Louisville physicians and health care workers were celebrated at the annual White Mass by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at the Cathedral of the Assumption on October 22. Dozens of physicians and health care workers sat in the pews, listening to readings and songs before reciting the White Mass Pledge provided by the St. Joseph Guild of the Catholic Medical Association. (See below for the full text of the pledge).

Archbishop Kurtz with health care professional at the White Mass, held on October 22, 2017.

While the White Mass Ceremony dates back to 1932, it is a relatively new phenomenon in Louisville. The St. Joseph Guild, a collection of Louisville physicians in the Archdiocese, was chartered in 2013 and was quickly instrumental in the ceremony becoming a tradition in the city.

“We were fortunate, because we had a lot of support from the Catholic Medical Association at the national level,” said St. Joseph Guild Past-President Dr. Scott Hedges “They provided us with the oath we took and gave some suggestions about ways to approach the archdiocese.”

Dr. Hedges continued, explaining that the archdiocese was very supportive of a White Mass for doctors as well as a Red Mass for judges and attorneys. “The archbishop supports these professions from an ethical point of view. There are many pressures in medical practice, which can make it tough to live an authentic Christian life. Anything we can do to provide support for collegiality, for folks to get to know each other…that’s a good step.”

St. Luke, author of the New Testament books ‘Luke’ and ‘Acts’, is the patron saint of physicians, surgeons and students. Therefore, the White Mass is celebrated on or near October 18, St. Luke’s feast day.

At this year’s White Mass, Archbishop Kurtz addressed all, both healthcare professionals and parishioners attending their regular Sunday Mass. “This is an occasion for the church to pray in gratitude, and that God would continue to inspire the wonderful work that is being done. I want to extend gratitude to all members of the St. Joseph Guild who are here, and all of you whether you are a member or not. You take so seriously the responsibility you have to the medical field. We want you to know that tonight you enjoy all of our prayers.”

Following the ceremony, St. Joseph Guild President Dr. Fred Williams said the White Mass made him feel rejuvenated in his faith and his profession

“Reaffirmed, rededicated, uplifted, motivated, inspired,” Dr. Williams said, noting that while the White Mass is a tradition based in Catholicism, “Anybody is welcome. Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Presbyterian, it doesn’t matter. We’re all welcome, and we have to keep each other accountable.”

Dr. Teresita Bacani-Oropilla was one of the physicians who attended the White Mass Ceremony. Though she isn’t a member of the Church of the Assumption, afterwards she expressed gratitude for the physicians who had invited her to attend.

“I’m so glad I came. To me, this is a reaffirmation,” she said. “If you offer yourself to God, you’re doing your charity and your work at the same time.”

Aaron Burch is the communications specialist for the Greater Louisville Medical Society. This article was reprinted courtesy of the Greater Louisville Medical Society.

Archdiocese of Louisville’s St. Joseph Guild of the Catholic Medical Association Pledge

Archbishop: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Archbishop: Lord God, our Father and Creator, we ask You to look with favor upon Your servants gathered here today to pledge themselves to Your service as Catholic physicians. We ask You to forgive their sins, enlighten their minds, strengthen their wills, and open their hearts to Your grace.

Catholic physicians, you are called to imitate Christ, the Divine Physician, to make your work His work and His work yours, to dedicate yourselves to the needs of your patients, keeping all financial and political interests secondary to the personal needs of each patient. Do you accept the responsibilities of your apostolate?

Physicians: We do.

Archbishop: Do you promise to embrace the Spirit of poverty, giving of your time, professional skill, and material goods for those in need?

Physicians: We do.

Archbishop: Do you promise to live chastely according to your state in life, especially in regard to your patients, who trustingly place themselves in your care?

Physicians: We do.

Archbishop: Do you promise to adhere faithfully to the teachings of the Holy Father and the Bishops united with him, in matters of faith and morals, especially as related to the science and practice of medicine?

Physicians: We do.

Archbishop: Do you promise to work together with other Catholic physicians with mutual support and understanding and to bring them to the apostolate?

Physicians: We do.

Archbishop: Do you promise to support the work of the Catholic Physicians’ Guild and to pray for all Catholic physicians?

Physicians: We do.

Archbishop: May our Lord strengthen you in the fulfillment of these promises. We pray this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen


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2018-01-29T11:33:03+00:00January 29th, 2018|Archbishop's Blog|