White Mass, Feb. 3, includes anointing of the sick

By Catholic Spirit Staff

The 15th annual White Mass will be celebrated on the feast of St. Blaise, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. at St. Louis King of France Parish in Austin. This Mass is in anticipation of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick. Bishop Joe Vásquez will be the main celebrant of the Mass, which will include the Rite of Anointing of the Sick. 
This Mass, which is sponsored by the Austin Diocese and the Catholic Healthcare Guild, is intended for all Catholics working in health care as well as those who are seriously ill and in need of anointing. 
The celebration will include a blessing for health care workers and anointing for those who are seriously ill and are in need of the sacrament. The Mass will offer the opportunity for all who work in the health care arena to join in communion with others in the ministry of healing and to receive a blessing from the bishop of the Diocese of Austin. All those wishing to attend the Mass are asked to register at https://whitemass2016.eventbrite.com so preparations can be made.
Persons who would receive the sacrament include those whose health is seriously impaired by physical or mental illness or old age; those preparing for surgery, if the surgery is caused by serious illness; elderly people who have become notably weakened, even though no serious illness is present; seriously ill children who have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by the sacrament; and those who have been anointed if they relapse after recovery or if their condition becomes more serious.
Those who wish to receive the anointing of the sick are asked to register at www.austindiocese.org/whitemass so arrangements can be made and space reserved. Those who would like to be anointed are encouraged to receive the sacrament of reconciliation prior to the White Mass. Catholic Healthcare Guild members will be present to assist those scheduled to receive the anointing of the sick and their family members when they arrive for the Mass.  
An expansion of what was previously known as the Catholic Physicians Guild, the Catholic Healthcare Guild provides a supportive community for Catholics working in health care to gather for fellowship, formation and service. The guild is actively recruiting members. For more information, visit www.catholichealthcareguild.org or e-mail CatholicHCGuild@gmail.com.
Celebration of the World Day of the Sick is also woven into the vision for the White Mass. St. John Paul II designated Feb. 11 as the World Day of the Sick, “a special time of prayers and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the church and of reminding us to see in our sick brothers and sisters the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of humankind” (Letter Instituting the World Day of the Sick, 1992). February 11 is also the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes; more than 5,000 cures have been attributed to Our Lady of Lourdes, with 65 of those cures designated as “miraculous” by the church. 
St. Blaise was an Armenian physician who was bishop of Sebaste (modern day Sivas, Turkey). He refused to deny Christ so he was beaten, scraped with iron carding combs, and finally beheaded in 317. St. Blaise also cured a boy who was dying of a fish-bone stuck in his throat, thus he became the patron of throats, as well. Traditionally, priests bless the throats of Catholics on his feast day, Feb. 3. 
A reception will immediately follow the White Mass.