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Annual White Mass Celebrated
Approximately 125 Catholic medical professionals from across the Diocese of Gaylord joined Bishop Bernard Hebda and parishioners of Immaculate Conception Parish in Traverse City for the annual White Mass on October 16. Fr. Anthony Citro, Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, and Fr. James Hayden, a Senior Priest of the Diocese, concelebrated. Deacon Jim Krupka from Immaculate Conception Parish served as the Deacon for the Mass.
Traditionally celebrated in many dioceses close to October 18th, the Feast Day of St. Luke, the Patron Saint of Physicians and Surgeons, the White Mass gets its name from the fact that historically white was the color often worn by health care workers.
Bishop Hebda welcomed the health care professionals saying, How wonderful to have you all here today so that we might both thank you for the important work that you do and encourage you in your ministry. You demonstrate for us in a very real way that all human life is important and you make Christs love present through your healing touch.
The Bishop said when we pray for healing, through the instruments of doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical professionals, and their expert talents, God reveals His grace. You strive to do the very best with what God has given you and in doing so, you allow God to work through you. The rest of us too need to strive to use our talents, even though our vocation may be different, to defend life. Especially in this month, it is important that we all stand up in our own way to proclaim that each life is important; each life must be respected; and each life must be protected.
Bishop Hebda also added that he was hopeful that in the long term an organization of Catholic medical professionals would be created in the Diocese of Gaylord in order to provide strength for one another and to be sure that our understanding of life is a view thats heard in our society to help protect the dignity of each human life.
Following his homily Bishop Hebda offered a special blessing over all those who work or volunteer in the care of the sick.
Prior to the Mass, Dr. Chris Milan, a family practice physician from Gaylord, spoke briefly about the Diocese of Gaylords medical outreach trips to our sister Diocese of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. For the past several years, delegations, primarily from St. Mary Cathedral, have travelled to the region semiannually to provide medical and dental care. He explained it is the hope of the Matagalpa Steering Committee that more individuals and parishes throughout the diocese would become involved in this ministry. Dr. Milan shared that his own experience has been that each time he has led a group, both he and the participants come back with a deeply renewed sense of faith and memories to last a lifetime. He invited anyone who might be interested in participating to contact him or the diocese for more information. Medical personnel, as well as those without specific medical training and high school students, are welcome.
Following the Mass, everyone was invited to a special reception planned by Jan Ready and the Health Ministry of Immaculate Conception Parish.