White Mass

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October 27, 2020, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne

We gather for this White Mass during the Covid pandemic, after many difficult months when so many people have been, and continue to be, infected by the coronavirus. As members of the medical profession, you have confronted this health emergency with generosity and commitment. I imagine you have had many exhausting days. Even at risk to your own health, you have served the sick and the dying. We pray for you during this White Mass, for your wellbeing, your stamina, your professional expertise and your compassionate and loving care of your patients. I thank you for your commitment to your vocation and mission as Catholic physicians and health care workers, and for your witness to Christ through your self-sacrificing love in this arduous and complex situation. May the Lord strengthen you in your vocation, the Holy Spirit guide you and Mary, our Mother, intercede for you!

We heard in the Gospel two short parables of Jesus about the Kingdom: the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast. The meaning of these parables is clear. In the beginning, the Kingdom of God is small and hidden, like a mustard seed in the soil or the yeast mixed in flour. But it grows and becomes like a large bush or a loaf of bread. From inconspicuous beginnings, the Kingdom of God grows to embrace even the whole world. Jesus inaugurated this Kingdom on earth. The Kingdom was manifested in His words and works. Jesus performed miracles like healing the sick as signs of the Kingdom. He freed some individuals from the earthly evils of illness and death, but His main mission was to free people from sin and bring them to eternal life. Our Lord then gave the apostles a share in His authority and sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal. In you who are Catholic doctors, nurses and health care workers, the Lord continues His healing ministry. You participate in the growth of the Kingdom by your service to the sick and the suffering and your witness of faith, hope and love in your profession. You are particularly called to holiness through your work, the holiness that builds up the Kingdom of God on earth.

First of all, by your skillful, attentive, and loving care of your patients, you bear witness to the dignity of the human person created in God’s image and likeness. Inspired by the Gospel and your Catholic faith, you recognize and promote their dignity through your devoted medical care. You do not see or treat your patients as objects, as physical machines, but as subjects, as persons of body, mind and spirit. You recognize their infinite value. You respect the inviolable right to life of every human being, from conception to natural death. You recognize that every human life is sacred and, therefore, your reject the evils of abortion and euthanasia. In the face of new technologies that afford new means of procreation, you recognize that “what is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible.” You place new medical and scientific knowledge at the service of the integral well-being of human persons, insisting on the sacredness of human life at every stage and in every condition. In doing so