Bishop celebrates White Mass for health care workers

CAMDEN — On Sunday, Oct, 18, Bishop Joseph Galante celebrated the 11th annual White Mass in the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center here.

The yearly Mass celebrates the nurses, doctors and administrators who minister to the area’s injured and infirmed through their commitment to the healthcare professions.

As Bishop Galante pointed out in his homily, these men and women are participating in something “so much more than a job.” They are in fact following a vocation, bringing the healing presence of the divine to those weighed down not only by physical pain, but often by the even more debilitating doubt and fear which accompany the traumatic realization of the frailty of mortal life.

The theme of imitating Jesus Christ in humbly offering ourselves to others, despite the arduous and time-consuming demands of such a call, were reflected in the Gospel reading selected from Mark, in which Jesus tells the sons of Zebedee that among his followers “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be the first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The truth of such statements were embodied by those present, both at the Mass and at other less prominent moments.

Living close to the hospital, I often attend daily Mass at Lourdes. Regular visitors to the chapel are accustomed to seeing the members of the medical staff, donned in white jackets and stethoscopes, come quietly to the chapel in the middle of a hectic day, perhaps to refresh themselves spiritually for the work that lay ahead or to reflect on the difficult choices and circumstances which they have recently encountered.

Just as innumerable are the times when the hush of the chapel is disrupted by the quiet vibration of a beeper summoning these caretakers to another challenge.

Bishop Galante, along with Dr. Christine Kimler, president of the South Jersey Catholic Medical Association, presented a number of outstanding men and women with the St. Luke’s Award. This honor, named after the physician-evangelist, recognizes those whose professional and personal lives promote Catholic principles and values in healthcare in the Diocese of Camden.

This year’s recipients included Dr. Robert Labaczewski, Dr. Vincent T. McDermott, Jr., Margaret McDermott and Sister Lucia Maroor, H.S.M.

Father Joseph W. Kukura, president of the Catholic Health Partnership of New Jersey, was also honored and presented a lecture on healthcare reform during the reception after the Mass.

Nearly a dozen concelebrants, the Knights of Columbus in full regalia, and the blessing of the hands for those involved in the medical ministry added to the solemnity of the event.

As in past years, the White Mass highlighted the demand placed upon all believers and lived out daily by so many, summarized in the Book of Micah which became the recessional hymn: “We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another; to walk humbly with God.”

Categories: Latest News

About Author