By James Aitchison
CARLSBAD – Catholic healthcare professionals from San Diego and surrounding areas gathered at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church for the 10th annual White Mass.
The Mass, which was celebrated Oct. 30 by Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano, drew Catholics from across the diocese and was sponsored by St. Gianna Physician’s Guild and Culture of Life Family Services.
The “White Mass” is named for the traditional white coats and uniforms worn by medical personnel and is celebrated for all healthcare professionals, including physicians and nurses as well as pharmacists, mental health specialists, hospice workers, pastoral care-givers, and others dedicated to the healing profession of medicine.
In his homily, Bishop Bejarano said that God called each healthcare professional to the medical field to honor in a distinct way the human person and the gift of life from conception to natural death. The bishop affirmed for everyone that “the gift and the call of God is irrevocable; and everything is a gift, including the gift of healing itself, which is not human but divine.”
After the homily, Bishop Bejarano asked God’s blessing for all healthcare professionals and led them as they renewed their oaths affirming the service they give to the sick according to the model of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Bejarano was joined at the altar by Deacon Frank Reilly, liturgical coordinator for the local apostolate Catholic Action for Faith and Family’s conferences and events, along with three concelebrating priests, including Father Michael Robinson, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Knights of Columbus from the San Diego Chapter served as an honor guard in full regalia.
A hand-crafted replica of the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, provided courtesy of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, stood in the sanctuary throughout the Mass. The apostolate also provided special liturgical vestments for the Mass that contain a piece of St. Gianna Molla’s wedding dress sewn into the fabric. Opportunities were provided for attendees to venerate relics of St. Gianna, an Italian pediatrician who died in 1962 after declining a procedure that would have spared her life but resulted in the death of her unborn child. Those relics included her physician’s fetoscope, gloves, a scarf and some of her hair.
Dr. Lauren Rubal, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist from Newport Beach, Calif., gave the keynote address at the reception following Mass. She shared her inspiring conversion story and stressed the importance of networking with other like-minded professionals who share Catholic values.