White Mass celebrated for medical professionals at Marymount University

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The White Mass, honoring doctors, nurses and others in the medical profession, was celebrated at Marymount University’s Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel Oct. 22 by Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. Father James R. Gould, chaplain of the Northern Virginia Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, and pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton, concelebrated.

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge called upon St. Luke, the patron of doctors, to watch over those who have the great privilege and responsibility of serving the sick. He asked that those in attendance reflect on the moment that Jesus called them to serve the sick and give thanks to the Lord for their gifts. He encouraged everyone to take care of themselves — not only spiritually, but physically and emotionally as well — as those patients they serve need them at their very best. And, finally, to find a moment in each day, no matter the demands, to be still and prayerful.

“It is a beautiful opportunity to thank and honor those in the ministry of taking care of the sick and infirm, in imitation of Jesus, the divine physician,” said Bishop Burbidge. “I encourage them to renew their commitment to protect the sacredness of all human life.”

Dr. Roy Stefanik, a psychiatrist from Centreville and parishioner of St. John, felt it was important to come to the Mass because as physicians “we’re dealing with so many complex ethical and moral decisions and constantly being bombarded with outside influences that undermine us — whether those decisions are protecting the life of the unborn, the infirm or the elderly.”

Dr. Chau Thiede and her family presented the gifts during Mass. “In this day and age, when it is so hard to be a physician, it was great to gather together to give each other support,” she said.

Marymount President Matthew D. Shank said he was especially taken with the bishop’s words about the call of physicians. “Not only were the words from the bishop beautiful and fitting,” he said, “but, they were very much from the heart, and he has a true caring for people who care for others.”

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017