Honoring doctors, nurses and other health care providers, Cardinal Dolan noted that they are helping to continue the mission of Christ, who healed the sick and who “is the healer of souls.”
Cardinal Dolan served as principal celebrant and homilist at the June 7 Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and he was joined by nearly 20 concelebrants, including a visiting prelate, Bishop Matthew K. Gyamfi of the Diocese of Sunyani in Ghana, Africa.
ArchCare, the archdiocese’s health system, sponsors the Mass, celebrating the work of health care professionals and caregivers. More than 400 people attended the morning Mass.
“Welcome everybody to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, for our annual White Mass when we thank God for the gift of our health care workers,” Cardinal Dolan said in his opening remarks.
Jesus’ ministry to the sick should be a guide for health care workers in New York, the cardinal said in his homily.
“In the Gospels, when Jesus encounters the sick, first he stops, he gives them his full attention, then he looks them in the eyes, and he speaks, he gives them a word of encouragement, and then he touches them, and finally he heals…He stops, he speaks, he touches, he heals.
“And you are bringing his healing today to his people.”
Cardinal Dolan thanked ArchCare, calling it “the umbrella organization that tries its best to choreograph all the beautiful ministries of healing that we have in the archdiocese…God uses secondary agents to accomplish his will; and you folks are the secondary causes of the healing of Jesus.”
The cardinal noted that we should always remember Mary, whose titles include Our Lady of Good Health. The procession featured a statue of Our Lady of Good Health Vailankanni (India), and colorful umbrellas that symbolize regality and respect for God and the Blessed Mother.
The cardinal acknowledged the presence of a number of religious sisters, noting the historical significance of sisters in leadership roles in missions to tend to the sick, the fragile, the emotionally challenged and the elderly. “We love them; we thank them,” he said.
The cardinal said he was grateful to all the priests and deacons who serve as chaplains in health centers.
Acknowledging the presence of Bishop Gyamfi, the cardinal noted how the Church continues to grow in Africa, with ministries that include programs to care for the sick. He also said he was thankful for African priests who have come to New York to serve in the archdiocese.
Dr. Roger Antoine, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health in Manhattan, was among the health care professionals attending the Mass. He is a parishioner at Immaculate Conception on East 14th Street in Manhattan.
“This is a great event, first of all to thank God for all the talents,” Dr. Antoine, 72, told CNY after the Mass. “We are just instruments. The great healer is Jesus. Thanks to Jesus, and thanks to Mary. We are participating in doing God’s work.”
Also at the Mass was Elizabeth Cordova, 49, a longtime dietary aide at ArchCare’s Carmel Richmond nursing home on Staten Island. She said the Mass made her feel “appreciated.”
“I like helping the people, making sure they eat what they need to, and watching the nutritional restrictions, whatever the doctors don’t want them to have,” she said.
Frank Serbaroli, chairman of ArchCare’s board of trustees, gave the closing remarks, expressing gratitude to the health care workers “for quality, compassionate health care,” and saying to the cardinal, “It is always an honor to be with you in prayer.”