By Jack Smith
Catholic Key Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — “Do whatever He tells you,” is the only command given by Mary in the Gospels, Bishop Robert Vasa explained at a White Mass for medical professionals Feb. 12 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas. “Yet, when we consider the situation and circumstances,” for the stewards at the Wedding Feast at Cana, “their obedience to her command could have been neither easy nor automatic.”
Bishop Vasa said that following Jesus’ command to fill six stone water jars must have seemed “Foolish, ridiculous, even stupid.” For practical, rational men who knew the usual practice of their trade, “There was no time for such nonsense,” Bishop Vasa said, “Their reputations, their jobs, their livelihood was at stake.”
And yet, without the stewards’ obedience in faith, the Miracle at Cana would not have happened. Medical professionals today are called to a similar obedience to Christ when the “usual practice of medicine conflicts with faith, or conflicts with the moral code of our Church,” Bishop Vasa said.
The White Mass was jointly for medical professionals in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas and sponsored by the Kansas City chapter of the Catholic Medical Association. Bishop Vasa, currently of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon was recently appointed Coadjutor of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California. He has been Episcopal Advisor to the Catholic Medical Association since 2002.
At the beginning of Mass, Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop welcomed the medical professionals in the congregation saying the Church gathers at the White Mass “for your important work of healing.” As Bishop Vasa prepares to move from Baker to Santa Rosa, Archbishop Naumann said, “It is a special gift in this time of transition for him to give this time to us.”
For his part, Bishop Vasa said he was happy to be at the Mass with Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Robert Finn, “two bishops I respect and admire a great deal . . .whose staunch defense and articulation of the faith” he strives to imitate.
Thomas McKenna of the St. Gianna Molla Physician’s Guild brought relics of St. Gianna, a CMA patroness, to the White Mass. The relics which were venerated by congregants after Mass included gloves used by St. Gianna, some of the St. Gianna’s hair in a reliquary and a fetal stethoscope used by the saint in her medical practice.
McKenna addressed the medical professionals on the life of the modern wife, mother and physician saint at a luncheon following Mass. An interview with McKenna is and Bishop Vasa’s full homily is here.