By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor
LEAWOOD, Kan. — The annual White Mass for healthcare workers, sponsored by the Kansas City Sts. Cosmas and Damian Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, was held at the Church of the Nativity on Feb. 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The principal celebrant and homilist was Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, J.C.D., Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The principal concelebrants of the Mass were Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kan. About a dozen priests from both dioceses concelebrated, including Father Charles Rowe, KCSJ diocesan Vicar General, and Father Gregory Lockwood, Parochial Administrator, Christ the King Parish, Kansas City, Mo.
A packed church watched as the Knights of Columbus of Assembly 3141 formed an Honor Guard in the center aisle. The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles (Priory of Ephesus, Gower, Mo.) provided the music as the procession approached the sanctuary. Seated in the church were many Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta.
Cardinal Burke began his homily by saying, “How fitting that we celebrate the annual White Mass, praying especially for the sick and those who care for them on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. For it is through the eyes of Mary that we look upon the face of the suffering Christ and come to understand our own suffering and the sufferings of those for whom we care.”
He spoke of St. Therese, the Little Flower of Lisieux, and her “Little Way” of loving and praising God, and of St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, who first saw the Marian apparitions commemorated on Feb. 11. Regarding Lourdes, Cardinal Burke said “many of those who make pilgrimages to Lourdes experience the profound personal healing which Christ alone gives. The healing is that tender love coming from being held in God’s arms and lovingly caressed in his lap. (Isaiah 66:10-14c) Many also experience spiritual healing.
“Today we reflect in a particular way on the power of the Rosary for healing the suffering and strengthening those who care for them. The Sorrowful Mysteries especially connect us with the sufferings and death of Christ. The Sorrowful Mysteries help the beleaguered stand at the foot of the cross beside Mary and enter with her into the depth of God’s love for Man.
“We share in the truth that our suffering is sharing in the life and death and resurrection of Christ … in serving the sick, the suffering, we serve Christ.”
He concluded with, “Heart of Jesus, burning with charity, have mercy on us. Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for us. St. Bernadette Soubirous, Pray for us.”
The Mass was followed by a luncheon in the parish hall.
Cardinal Burke was visiting the Kansas City area to celebrate the White Mass, and to give the second annual Defense of the Faith Lecture, “The Challenges of the Defense of the Faith in Our Times,” at St. James Academy in Lenexa, Kan., Feb. 10. The lecture was presented by the Kansas City Region of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.