Bishop Stephen Berg presided at the diocesan "White Mass" at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Sunday, October 16. Dr. Kenneth Dernovsek, president of the Sangre de Cristo Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, addressed the congregation with remarks before Mass about the origin of the White Mass, which is in reference to the white coats worn by doctors and other healthcare professionals. The White Mass is an opportunity for the Bishop to acknowledge, to intercede for, and to give a solemn blessing to all medical professionals and healthcare personnel and their families who work to heal and promote health around the diocese.
The Diocese of Pueblo formally initiated the White Mass in 2012 to be celebrated in October near the feast day of St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. St. Luke is known as the "beloved physician" and loyal companion of St. Paul. In addition to his gift of healing, St. Luke was also known to be the inspired author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, detailing the life of Jesus Christ from his conception to his death and Resurrection, and the formation of the early Church. Tradition holds that he obtained information from the Blessed Mother and the Apostles, eyewitnesses to the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
St. Luke's writings have been important to help create a "culture of life" for the early Christians and throughout Church history. St. Luke detailed God's mercy in Jesus' compassion and the many cures and miracles that Jesus performed, and in Jesus' mandate to "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful" ( cf Luke 6:36). St. Luke documented God's loving care and concern for the poor, the sick, the disabled and disenfranchised and all those who are dependent on God. The Gospel of St. Luke has been called the "Gospel of Mercy," which can be referenced again and again this year in the celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy which has been promulgated by Pope Francis.