Fourth Annual White Mass for Health Care Professionals in San Diego
On October 17, Catholic health care professionals from San Diego gathered at St. Therese of Carmel Church for the Fourth Annual Mass to honor them and celebrate their lives dedicated to serving their patients. The Mass was sponsored by St. Gianna Physicians Guild and Culture of Life Family Services and drew Catholics from across the diocese. The pastor, Fr. Nicolas Dempsey celebrated the Mass and was joined by concelebrants Fr. David Sereno and Fr. David Leon who both serve as chaplains in San Diego.
The “White Mass” is named for the traditional white coats and uniforms worn by medical personnels and is a special way to honor all Health Care 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.
The full color corps of the Knight of Columbus honored the Mass with their beautiful pageantry and ceremonial. The inspiring choir of St. Therese of Carmel singing beautiful hymns added a special note of honor and sacredness to the Mass.
In his homily Fr. Nick highlighted beautifully that being called to serve others in health care is a vocation, a calling from God. He highlighted that the Christian aspect of medicine as being a vocation involves caring for the soul as well as the body. “If you see Christ in the suffering of your patients, you have chosen well your vocation” he told them. “He will be your strength when the hardships come,” he continued.
At one point during the Mass, Deacon John Fanelle asked all of the health care professionals to stand as he lead them through a renewing of their profession of faith asking them to affirm publicly their fidelity to their vocation.
The final blessing was given with a first class relic of St. Gianna Molla which was displayed for veneration during the Mass. Also displayed were the actual fetus-scope that St. Gianna used to listen to the heartbeat of unborn children in their mother’s womb and a silk scarf worn by St. Gianna.
Following Mass a reception was held in the Church hall. Dr. George Delgado, medical director at Culture of Life Family Services and co-sponsor of the event, introduced Nathan and Meghan Leon of Visionary Film Productions. They represent an independent film production company based in San Diego that recently produced the Sidewalk Chronicles, a documentary chronicling the true, up close and personal accounts of what it's like to be associated with an unplanned pregnancy.
They gave an overview of their mission to bring beauty into the world through art. They explained: “Film is our language. We want to use it to speak to people. We aspire to use our talents in filmmaking to promote life. Using the newest in digital technology, we set out on a mission to revolutionize the kind of media available today and the stories that are told.”
As the event came to a close Thomas McKenna, President of St. Gianna Physicians Guild, invited all attendees to bring someone new next year as he reminded them that “the annual White Mass provides Catholic healthcare professionals an opportunity to come together as a medical community and unite their medical vocation with the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and thus be inspired more in their Faith!”