An enshrinement ceremony for St. Gianna Beretta Molla held here last weekend signals the beginning of what one Catholic layman hopes will become a widespread national effort to promote the saint in the medical field and elsewhere.
About 50 physicians and others attended the ceremony held at The Center for Cancer Care and Research in West County. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke presided at the March 7 event.
St. Gianna Enshrinement Program
The goal of this program is to spread devotion to St. Gianna Beretta Molla and promote her as an example for people to imitate. Together with presentations, the organization offers the enshrinement of a beautifully framed picture of St. Gianna with a relic in churches, hospitals and especially physician's offices and clinics. Having the picture of this saintly mother, holding one of her children in her arms, is a convenient way to spark interest in her life and bring up topics of the Faith. Booklets, prayer cards and pictures can be placed near the picture for those interested in her life to learn more.
With permission of the local diocesan bishop, clergy and faithful can arrange a program where a picture of St. Gianna with a relic in it to be enthroned in the Church or parish building for public veneration. This is done as part of a presentation on the life of St. Gianna. Prayer cards and other literature are made available. The pastor can suggest that the faithful pray for their doctor and take them a copy of the prayer card along with a form for them to become enrolled in the St. Gianna Physician's Guild. It is also a devotional shrine to have for mothers and spouses as a place where they can go to pray to one who can offer them consolation and inspiration.
As part of joining the Guild, a picture of St. Gianna with a relic in it will be offered to the physicians to be placed in their facility. Along with prayer cards which patients can be offered for use to pray to St. Gianna asking her intercession for their well being, a short biography of the live of St. Gianna can also be displayed for those who would like to learn more about her life. Ideally the picture is displayed in a location visible to the public. Alternatively the picture can be enthroned in the physician's private office or in their home when there is no office. The enthronement ceremony is presided over by a member of the clergy with colleagues, family and friends invited. When appropriate it is a nice occasion to host a small reception following the event. This provides an occasion for people to ask questions and meet others of like mind.
Catholic Hospital Enshrinements
Catholic hospitals will be contacted to enthrone a picture and relic in their facility. Their will be a ceremony presided over by a clergy member and leading physician or staff director. Prayer cards and books will be offered to be placed in the hospital to teach people about the life of St. Gianna and offer suggested prayers to pray for doctors and patients.
Many families have contacted the Guild with the desire to enshrine a picture of St. Gianna in their home where she can serve as a patroness and model. Families may request a picture of St. Gianna from the Guild and frame it. The Guild will provide enshrinement booklets and family and friends can be invited to attend an enshrinement in the home.
Representatives of the organization can be invited to visit your church or organization to speak about the life of St. Gianna and how her saintly example can inspire us today. Pictures of the saint, the places where she lived and worked as well as living family members bring the life of the saint to a living reality. A pair of gloves worn by St. Gianna were recently given to the Guild by the family and will be displayed for the faithful to venerate and touch.
What is an Enshrinement? An Enshrinement is a ceremony presided over by a priest or a deacon where a framed picture with a relic of St. Gianna Beretta Molla is placed in a physician’s office, medical center, hospital or other health care facility. It is an occasion to introduce people to the life and virtues of St. Gianna and the work of the St. Gianna Physician’s Guild.
What obligation does the physician have? To host an Enshrinement, the physician must become a member of the Guild and sign the St. Gianna Physician's Hippocratic Oath. This may be done online. During the actual Enshrinement ceremony, there is a part where the Oath is read out loud then signed by the physician. Some physicians have shared with the Guild that they frame the signed Hippocratic Oath and place it next to the St. Gianna picture in their office to share their commitment with their staff and patients.
Why do an Enshrinement? A picture of a Saint hanging on the wall serves as an inspiring model for physicians to imitate and to inspire them in the practice of medicine and Faith. It also serves as a way to bring up discussion of holiness and hope in patients, staff and others who see the picture and ask about the story behind it.
Who attends? Physicians, their families, staff, fellow physicians as well as patients and friends may attend.
Where is the frame placed? Ideally, in a prominent place visible to the public, like a waiting room or lobby. Alternatively, it can be placed in a hall, personal office or in the physician’s home.
How long is the Enshrinement ceremony? The Enshrinement ceremony lasts about 25 minutes if the priest or deacon gives a homily.
Why does a priest or deacon do the Enshrinement? By having a priest or deacon conduct the program, it makes the occasion more solemn and meaningful.
Do we serve refreshments? It is not necessary to provide refreshments but following the ceremony people usually enjoy visiting with others who attend. Many times it is the first opportunity for those who share the profession of medicine to meet others who also share the same Faith.
What material do I need? St. Gianna Physician’s Guild provides an Enshrinement Kit for $150.00. The kit includes a custom, gold wooden framed picture of St. Gianna with a Second-Class relic (a piece of clothing) of St. Gianna. Also included in the kit is a pack of 100 St. Gianna prayer cards, two books on the life of St. Gianna, two St. Gianna Physician’s Guild membership pins and five Enshrinement booklets for people to follow the ceremony.
What is expected of the physician after the Enshrinement? The physician may display the prayer cards and booklets about St. Gianna in their office or have them available to offer to interested patients. They are also invited to pray daily to St. Gianna for inspiration and guidance in the practice of medicine. The colorful lapel pin of St. Gianna may be worn on the white coat of the physician and serves to bring up conversations about St. Gianna.
How do I promote the Enshrinement Ceremony? First, the priest or deacon should be contacted and a convenient date and time chosen. Then family, friends, staff, patients and colleagues are invited to attend. Evenings are usually better so that people have time to arrive after work. Physicians have shared with the Guild that Friday’s at 7:00 PM tends to be a good time for everyone.
How do I order more products? You may visit the Store on the St. Gianna Physician's Guild website.
On May 31 Thomas McKenna joined Archbishop Raymond Burke in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to enshrine a picture and relic of St. Gianna in the newly formed parish of St. Gianna in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.