On Sunday Oct. 28, the Diocese of Camden will celebrate the annual White Mass to recognize and pray for all those who work in the healing arts. Characteristic of the traditional white coats and dress of doctors and nurses, this Mass has taken on such name to honor those who serve others as health care workers.
Sponsored by the South Jersey Guild of the Diocese of Camden Catholic Medical Association and VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services, this Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. at Saint Luke’s Church (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish) in Stratford. Father Vincent Guest, pastor, will be the main celebrant as physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals join the parish faithful to offer their prayers and thanksgiving for those who give service to our community by taking care of the sick among us.
After the Mass a reception will follow for members and invited guests of the Catholic Medical Association where the annual Saint Luke Awards will be presented to two distinguished healthcare practitioners who have exemplified and lived their true Catholic beliefs throughout their careers in healing arts. This year’s recipients are Elizabeth Crowley, M.D. and Roberta “Bobbie” Bradley, R.N.
Dr. Crowley is a family practice physician in Cape May County where she has served as the medical director of the Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) clinic since 2011. At VIM, those without health insurance, or the means to pay the ever growing costs of healthcare, are able to get the medical help all people deserve at no cost. Many patients at the VIM clinic are immigrants who are not able to get jobs providing health insurance or sufficient compensation to pay medical bills. Over the past two years, she has worked with the management team at VIM to open a second clinic in Atlantic County.
Bobbie Bradley has practiced nursing for several years and has turned her skills in the healing arts toward caring for the elderly. As the current director of the Saint Peter’s Senior Ministry in Merchantville, Bradley lives her passion as an advocate and supporter of the needs of the elderly. Caring daily for seniors at the day center, she lives her faith with a “contagious joy and enthusiasm,” as noted by Father Timothy Byerley, pastor. Bradley has impacted the lives of many as she provides care in a most loving manner to those she serves.
The reception will feature a keynote address by Msgr. Louis Marucci, pastor of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Gibbsboro, who will speak on the topic of physician assisted suicide from the perspective of those “less abled” and most vulnerable to this offensive practice. He will offer information to the group about upcoming efforts to legalize this practice in New Jersey, and how it can be defeated.
In a world filled with the ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in the complexities of modern medicine, our healthcare professionals need the support and encouragement through our prayers to face these challenges and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give them strength and courage to carry out their most noble calling.
Deacon Jerry Jablonowski is executive director, VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services.