October 23, 2023  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

–Healthcare professionals and those involved in Ministry of Care received a blessing of hands–

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Mission Doctors Association hosted yesterday the annual Healthcare Professionals Mass, celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Newly ordained Auxiliary Bishop Albert Bahhuth for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese served as the homilist.

“Jesus said to them: ‘Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Ceasar and to God what belongs to God.’ What do you think belongs to God? We belong to God. God is our Creator, so life belongs to Him and only Him,” said Auxiliary Bishop Bahhuth. “As Health Care professionals you deal with life issues almost every day. God has entrusted this mission to you so you can continue His work of creation by protecting and defending life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.”

The Mass honored hospital and nursing home personnel, physicians, nurses, chaplains, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, mental health caregivers, chiropractors, administration, registration, security, environmental services, maintenance, transport, lab workers and all who work to keep our community healthy.

“It was a blessing to bring our healthcare professionals and those in the ministry of care together for the annual Healthcare Professionals Mass,” said Ann Sanders, liaison for the Healthcare Ministry of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace. “Healthcare ministry work in all the various professionals can be challenging and yet grace filled.  As they extend the healing compassion of Jesus in their ministry work, we were able to honor and support them in their vocation and thank them at this Mass.”

The Healthcare Professionals Mass has been a tradition in the United States since the late 1800s and is held often near October 18, the feast day of St. Luke the Evangelist, the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. Healthcare workers bring God’s love and care to every person they meet seeking to heal the body and spirit. This year’s honorees were Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach and Dr. Mary Cathleen “Cathy” Schanzer.

The 2023 recipient of the Archdiocese Healthcare Ministry Excellence Award celebrated the ministry work at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center, begun by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, continued these past 100 years, and present to this day. St. Mary Medical Center has compassionately and skillfully served the community of Long Beach and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Mission Doctors presented Dr. Mary Cathleen “Cathy” Schanzer with the Catholic Doctor of the Year Award. Dr. Schanzer and husband Tom Lewis, at the invitation of local Archbishop Joseph Ganda, established Southern Eye Clinic in Serabu, Sierra Leone. Today, Southern Eye Clinic of Serabu is open year-round, providing diagnostic examinations, medicines, eyeglasses, and modern eye surgery free of charge to all patients.

Photos of the event are available here. The livestream from the Mass is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnC-kJ4E76Q.

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