Tenth Annual White Mass for Catholic Healthcare Professionals Held in San Diego
Celebrating & Holding Up Catholic Identity in Healthcare
Tenth Annual White Mass Exemplifying the Virtues of Healthcare.
By James Aitchison
Saturday, October 30, 2021. Catholic healthcare professionals from San Diego and surrounding areas gathered at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in the diocese of San Diego for the 10th Annual White Mass. The Mass drew Catholics from across the diocese and was sponsored by St. Gianna Physicians Guild and Culture of Life Family Services.
The “White Mass” is named for the traditional white coats and uniforms worn by medical personnel and is a special way to honor all healthcare professionals. In addition to physicians and nurses, the Mass honors hospital personnel, pharmacists, mental health specialists, hospice workers, medical students, pastoral care givers and others dedicated to the healing profession of medicine.
Thomas McKenna, Founder of St. Gianna Physician’s Guild, took a few moments to greet and thank everyone for coming on this Saturday morning and shared a few words about the importance of the White Mass and to express appreciation to have as celebrant Most Reverend Ramón Bejarano, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego.
In his homily, Bishop Bejarano reminded everyone we are still in the year of St. Joseph, so we can learn from his example as we set out to grow in the virtue of humility. Setting a narrative and a tone for all medical professionals, His Excellency shared an insight that God called each specific person to the medical profession to honor in a distinct way the human person and the gift of life from conception to natural death. Bishop Bejarano affirmed for everyone that, “the gift and the call of God is irrevocable; and, everything is a gift including the gift of healing itself which is not human but divine.”
Following the homily, His Excellency took the opportunity to ask God’s blessing for all healthcare professionals and led them as they renewed their oaths affirming the profound service they give to the sick according to the model of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Bejarano was joined on the altar by Deacon Frank Reilly, liturgical coordinator for Catholic Action for Faith and Family conferences and events along with three other priests including Fr. Michael Robinson, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton who came to support the health care professionals. Knights of Columbus from the San Diego Chapter who served as the honor guard were present in full regalia and adding a special note of honor and sacredness to the Mass, Cassandra DeBellis and Viktor Shekhtman served as cantor and organist respectively.
Adding beauty and spiritual significance to the occasion, was a hand-crafted replica of the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, provided courtesy of Catholic Action for Faith and Family. The local apostolate also provided special liturgical vestments for the Mass that contain a piece of St. Gianna’s Molla’s wedding dress sewn into the fabric. Opportunities were provided for attendees to venerate sacred relics of St. Gianna which included her physician’s fetoscope, gloves, a scarf and some of her hair.
Dr. Lauren Rubal, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist from Newport Beach, California gave the keynote address at the reception following Mass. She shared her inspiring conversion story and stressed the importance of networking with other like-minded professionals who share Catholic values. Dr. Delgado, medical director of Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) and Culture of Life Family Services expressed the need to remain resolute in practicing Hippocratic Medicine; essentially to do what is best for patients and to not kill them!
Exemplifying the virtues of healthcare, it was an awe-inspiring day to remember!
Catholic Action For Faith And Family
Tenth Annual White Mass Photo Gallery
San Diego Knights of Columbus Chapter Honor Guard with Thomas McKenna, Founder, Catholic Action for Faith and Family. The Knights watched vigil over St. Gianna’s relics.
Tenth Annual White Mass celebrant, Most Reverend Ramón Bejarano, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego, incensing the relics of St. Gianna.
Deacon Frank Reilly, liturgical coordinator for Catholic Action for Faith and Family, proclaiming the Gospel.
Bishop Bejarano leading the healthcare professionals in an oath of fidelity.
The final blessing was given with a First Class Relic of St. Gianna.