Calling their work “a sacred calling,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone addressed Catholic medical professionals gathered for the traditional White Mass for Medical Professionals at Mater Dolorosa Church in South San Francisco.

“You my brothers and sisters have this privilege and high call to enter people’s lives at a very vulnerable time but a time of great openness and possibility to the spiritual,” the Archbishop said in his homily at the Oct. 20 White Mass….

Archbishop Cordileone was joined by a number of hospital chaplains who concelebrated the Mass with him, several priests and pastors who are regulars at local hospitals while not official chaplains and Vicar General Father Patrick Summerhays, and Mater Dolorosa pastor Contemplative of St. Joseph Father Vito Perrone.

The Mass was followed by a reception in the parish hall where the archbishop spoke briefly. Also speaking about their ministries were representatives of the San Francisco Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, Bella Primary Care and the Northern California Clinic of the Order of Malta. The three organizations cosponsored the reception which was organized by the Archdiocesan Office of Human Life & Dignity.

Among those attending were representatives of RETA, the health care umbrella that oversees ethical health insurance for archdiocesan employees, a representative from Kaiser Permanente, and a group of medical students and one of their professors from UC Davis Medical School.

The White Mass, so named for the color traditionally worn by those in the healing profession of medicine, gathers health care professionals under the patronage of St. Luke to ask God’s blessing upon the patient, doctor, nurse, and caregiver alike. In the United States, the White Mass tradition was begun by the national Catholic Medical Association in the 1930s. Each year the Archdiocesan White Mass is held near the Oct. 18 Feast Day of St. Luke, evangelist and physician.

From the Archdiocese of San Francisco