Healthcare workers gather for ‘White Mass’
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
At the Oct. 21 White Mass at St. Stephen Cathedral in Owensboro, Bishop William F. Medley referred to the vocation of healthcare workers as “an extension of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”
The liturgy – called a “White Mass” in reference to the white garb traditionally worn by medical professionals – recognized the ministry of people across the Diocese of Owensboro who care for the ill and the dying, such as physicians, nurses, compassionate care ministers, ministers of consolation, chaplains, mental health workers, and all in the healthcare profession.
While White Masses had been held at diocesan parishes in the past, this was the first-ever White Mass hosted by the diocese at the cathedral.
In his homily, Bishop Medley reflected on the day’s Gospel – that Jesus had come “not to be served, but to serve,” and that Jesus’ “path of servanthood” modeled the path for all Christians, including healthcare workers.
“This White Mass gives us a chance to recognize those men and women asked to share in Jesus’ ministry of healing,” said the bishop.
Laurie Hicks, a parishioner of St. Stephen Cathedral, came straight from work to attend the Mass and also to assist as an Extraordinary Ministry of Holy Communion.
Hicks told The Western Kentucky Catholic that she has worked in the healthcare field for 34 years, “and I can see how the Gospel today really fits with the message” of this Mass.
“I am glad to serve the Church, and Owensboro,” said Hicks, who is a house supervisor at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and wore her scrubs to the Mass. “I appreciated that the diocese offered this.”
Gayle Rhodes, a local physician and parishioner of SS. Joseph and Paul in Owensboro, said it was “wonderful that the diocese recognized people in the healing profession.”
“Those in the healthcare profession appreciate that God has given us the talents to give back to him,” he said.
Ben Rhodes, a physician’s assistant in cardiology and parishioner of St. Stephen Cathedral, said the White Mass was a “good opportunity to receive a special blessing for our vocation in healthcare.”
“We are honored to be here and to grow in our faith with God who is the Great Physician, who heals us,” he said.
Originally printed in the November 2018 Western Kentucky Catholic.
Copyright © 2018 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic