Healthcare professionals will be recognized at the White Mass on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 4:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo. Bishop Richard J. Malone will be the principal celebrant and will offer a special blessing for those working in the healthcare field.
At this year's Mass, there also will be an Anointing of the Sick, which is intended to especially strengthen those who are facing illness or surgery. It is no longer only a sacrament for those nearing death. Rather, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that : "By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ" (1499).
The tradition of the White Mass in the United States finds its origins in the development of the national Catholic Medical Association in the early 1930s. From its inception, the medical profession has been understood as a healing profession, a way in which Christ's work continues upon the earth. This is a time each year set aside in recognition of the dedicated work of healthcare professionals as they continue the healing mission of Jesus, "The Divine Physician."
The Mass has the designation, "White" because of that color's connection to our baptismal promises and the bonds of community we all share through this sacrament of initiation. The White Mass is also associated with St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians and surgeons, and is named for the white lab coats worn by many in the medical profession. Healthcare workers bring God's love and care to every person and patient they meet to heal the body and spirit. White Masses honor all those who work in health care - from nurses and physicians to dietary staff and lab workers.
All those who attend are invited to wear white as a symbolic renewal of their baptismal vows. All are welcome.