CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has invited all health care workers to attend the first annual White Mass and luncheon on Oct. 23 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 120 Broad St.
The event will begin with lunch that will segue into a host of speakers and conclude with a Mass.
Bishop Guglielmone said he wants all Catholics in the health care field to know they have his support in what can be a very difficult profession in terms of being true to one’s beliefs.
“We want to continue to challenge them to be faithful to Catholic teaching — it’s not easy to do that in the society we live in,” he said.
Dr. Peter Bleyer, a family practice physician in Longs, said people in the medical field feel tremendous pressure to conform to the standards of society regarding abortion, euthanasia and other life issues.
When he graduated from medical school, Bleyer said he followed the standard line of not imposing his religious beliefs on his patients. But over time, he and his wife Dr. Susanna Bleyer came to an awakening.
He said they felt it was hypocritical to believe one thing and practice another, and decided they needed to be true to their values.
Bleyer is now president of the newly-formed Catholic Medical Association Guild, which received its charter in August. He said the group celebrates the ideal of medicine and Christianity working hand-in-hand, following the model of Christ as a physician.
“We want to inspire people to incorporate their faith into their medical practice,” Bleyer said. The group also supports students in a system of secular medicine.
The luncheon and Mass are a wonderful way to evangelize their message and recruit others into the guild that can help accomplish their goals, he said.
Primarily, the association seeks to increase knowledge of the Catholic faith and how it impacts medical practice, develop a directory of Catholic physicians, and create outreach to the community and a voice in government.
Some of the topics the guild is concerned with will be discussed at the luncheon. Issues and speakers include:
Dr. Mark O’Rourke who will give a talk on “End of Life Issues in South Carolina.” He is an oncologist from Greenville and serves on the S.C. Medical Association’s Board of Ethics.
Dr. Melvin Hecker and Dr. Bowen Truluck will delve into issues surrounding “Hospital Ethics Committees and Catholic Representation.” Hecker is an emergency room physician from Conway and Truluck is a cardiologist in Myrtle Beach. Both serve on the ethics committee of their respective hospitals.
Dr. Bleyer will speak on “Christ-like Medical Care and the Role of Catholic Medical Guilds.”
Father Jeffrey F. Kirby, vocations director for the diocese, will speak on “A Catholic Approach to Human Dignity and Suffering.”
Registration begins at noon. The anticipated time for Mass is 5:15 p.m.