Catholic Medical Association ‘White Coat Mass’
Sitting in the front pew of Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe Oct. 17, I felt the weight of my day-to-day life ease. Exhausted from battling the pandemic, the endless discussions on Covid-19 vaccines, the never-ending increasing demand on work as our healthcare system expands at an exponential pace, the political tug of war, fighting for dignity of life from conception to death, watching as the pandemic takes life after life — healthcare workers have been stretched to our ultimate limit.
But through all of that, in a humble church in Stowe there came hope and a reinvigorated spirit. As we celebrated the third White Coat Mass with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne and our chaplain, Father Jon Schnobrich, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, the Mother Cabrini Guild of the Catholic Medical Association gathered once again to pray and support one another.
The White Coat Mass is a special opportunity to gather health care professionals under the patronage of St. Luke (the patron saint of physicians) to ask God’s blessing upon healthcare workers, the patients we serve and our work.
The Mass is called a “White Mass” as health care workers traditionally wear white coats but is also a symbol in the Church of hope and comfort to the ill and hospitalized.
This is certainly true in our day-to-day work. We have the honor of meeting Jesus face to face, in every single patient and walk through the Easter promise of suffering, death and resurrection with them in every encounter.
So yes, the task may be daunting, but we are not left to do this alone; in fact it’s impossible to do it alone. That is why during the Mass, we renewed our Hippocratic Oath, a special promise to carry out the healing work of the Lord while abiding by His laws, guidance and healing love.
Healthcare workers gather at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne.
, University of Vermont Medical Center