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.
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.