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Catholic Medical Association members celebrate at the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life at St. Raymond of Peñafort Church in Springfield Oct. 20. Mass was concelebrated by Father Thomas P. Ferguson, vicar general and pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, and Father John C. De Celles, pastor of St. Raymond. 

Members of the Northern Virginia Guild of the Catholic Medical Association wore their white coats. 

“We gather today as a parish, as individuals, families and the diocese to renew our commitment to God’s grace to celebrate life from the moment of conception until natural death,” said Bishop Burbidge. “I am so very grateful for the members of our Catholic Medical Association who are here today. They are instruments of the Lord’s healing love and they carry out the work and their ministry ever consistent with the teaching of our church and the gospel of life. Thank you for your witness, and we also thank our Knights of Columbus whose members in so many ways promote the sacredness of life at each and every stage.”

Amy McInerny, respect life director in the diocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Respect Life, said she was grateful to Bishop Burbidge “for marking Respect Life Month with this beautiful Mass and the special spotlight on the life-affirming work of the Catholic Medical Association. 

“We need all medical professionals to come together for the fraternal support that the Catholic Medical Association offers,” she said. “This is an exciting time for the (organization) in our diocese because they are really growing right now.” 

Theresa Matula, a nurse at iNOVA Fairfax Hospital, believes her career is a calling. “Faith makes me strong, helps me to be a Catholic and a health care professional to reach others and be their voice and comfort for them,” she said. 

Dr. Matthew Haden, founder of MODERN Mobile Medicine, a house call medical service based in Alexandria, said it means a lot to have the support of the bishop, parishioners and fellow Catholic medical associates. 

“We are facing a crisis in the United States health care and a lot of pressure,” he said. “We are feeling more and more isolated to practice in line with our values and with our faith, so I always appreciate the visibility of support and collegiality of that together.” 

For Haden, wearing the white coat at Mass is a reminder of his calling. 

“There is something special spiritually and a renewal that happens when you wear your white coat at Mass. It is different than wearing it at your job,” he said. “It takes me back those days when I was deciding what to do with my life.” 

Dr. Lorna Cvetkovich, an OB/GYN at Tepeyac OB/GYN in Fairfax, said the Mass was “in defense of life and it’s a grounding principle for Catholics and certainly is a grounding principle for the Catholic Medical Association. It is what has kept us together over the decades,” she said. “We want to try and strengthen our local guild and do that in context with all the other pro-life activities that are going on.” 

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

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