By Ryan Blessing
Doctors, nurses, specialists and other health care workers and caregivers were honored during the celebration of the 29th annual Diocesan White Mass.
“In this Mass for all health care workers, may the divine physician always be a model for their ministry of healing, mercy and compassion,” The Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D. Bishop of Norwich, said in his greeting.
The Reverend Ted Tumicki, homilist and pastor of St. Mary Parish in Jewett City, St. Catherine in Preston and Sts. Thomas and Anne in Voluntown, described how 700 religious sisters ministered in Civil War hospitals and battlefields.
“One of the things that is most striking is that the Sisters left very little in testimony about themselves or their work and ministry,” he said. “What we do know comes mostly from the men they helped.”
Jesus is alive and at work in the mission of the Church and the work of its members, Father Tumicki said. “We see Christ alive and at work when Christians provide compassionate healthcare to anyone in need, whether the person is refugee, immigrant, or citizen, poor or well-off, or needs much care or less,” he said.
Dr. Frank Maletz was the featured speaker at this year’s White Mass brunch after the Mass. Dr. Maletz is a noted orthopedic surgeon and a member of the orthopedics section at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London from 1987 until he retired in 2016.
He has studied opioid addiction over the course of his career and spoke to the assembled clergy and health care providers about how opioid abuse affects the brain, and ways to provide healing and treatment.
“This audience, when it moves out that doorway, by changing a couple of simple things and reapproaching these folks as human beings with a problem that we can fix and re-regulate and help them through, along with our faith and our love, we’re there,” he said. “We make the change in Norwich and New London County, and we become the epicenter of the end of addiction and addictable brains in crisis.”
The White Mass Committee of eight members, which planned the Mass and brunch, includes several noted medical professionals. Its chairman is Dr. Robert J. Keltner, a pulmonologist at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London. St. Vincent de Paul Place catered the brunch.