White Coat Mass called a “love letter” to medical professionals
FORT WORTH — Now more than ever, the health care field continues to be on the minds of people at large because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. On Oct. 11, the Diocese of Fort Worth celebrated medical professionals during the annual White Coat Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth.
The Mass is celebrated in conjunction with the Oct. 18 Feast of St. Luke, who is known as a Gospel writer and a physician. This year’s Mass was organized by students from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
“I believe the White Coat Mass serves as a reminder to medical professions that we are supported by the community we serve. It is a love letter back to those of us who are called to be healers,” said Richard Martinez, second-year medical student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Martinez said being able to share the Mass and sitting with his friends who also have chosen “this journey” with him was special.
“You can feel a warmness and understanding in the air that reverberates through the blessings, wishes, and songs throughout the Mass,” Martinez said.
Bishop Michael Olson celebrated the Mass that was attended by the medical professionals, their families, and friends.
The part of Bishop Olson’s message that resonated with Martinez during the Mass “was the overarching theme of God working through us as healers and how important it is to be humble with our circumstances.”
“We are given the greatest job in the world of helping those who are at their worst for our livelihood, and it is up to us make the most of it,” Martinez said.
For Ann Hollas, a second-year student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Mass was a “super cool opportunity” to honor physicians and those that want to join the health care field. Hollas also is the President of the Catholic Medical Association of students at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
“The bishop’s homily stressed how it is so important to care for the physical health of people and also the mind and soul — integrating that into our practice,” Hollas said.
Hollas said it is such “an honor and inspiring to see the support from the [Catholic] community, for health care professionals and students. I feel that they have my back.”
For the many of these medical professionals the Catholic faith and sacraments clearly serve as a way to refuel from the difficult situations that they face.
“I think that it is super important to integrate my faith into every aspect of my life and important to share and be a part of a community and to grow into that,” Hollas said.
“Having a strong faith is important in a field where there may be controversial things to deal with,” she said.
“I think through the pandemic, the importance of medical professions and the role they have in society has been pointed out to me,” Hollas said. “It is treating someone’s physical, spiritual, emotional life, as well as their family.”
Martinez, too, said his faith is an important part of his life.
“For me, coming to Mass serves as an opportunity to clear my mind and focus on what is important,” Martinez said. “I take the time to ask for help and give thanks for what I been fortunate to receive. Through my meditations I find perspective on how to keep moving forward while being someone God, my family, and future [self] can be proud of.”