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Catholic Voice
October 9, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
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Caregivers raised their hands near the end of the Sept. 30 Mass for Healthcare professionals to receive blessings from Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, at Oakland's Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Those who minister to sick and dying are 'angels'

During a liturgy that brought together nurses, elder care providers, chaplains, doctors as well as caregivers for those who are homebound, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, called on God to bless these women and men and their efforts to help bring healing and comfort to those who are suffering from physical and mental illnesses.

"You are all collaborators of God in the ministry of healing," said Bishop Barber at the Sept. 30 Mass of Thanksgiving for those who minister and work in the health care professions at Oakland's Cathedral of Christ the Light. "You are instruments of God's love, mercy and healing," he said. "You are angels like St. Raphael the archangel."

The bishop explained that St. Raphael, who is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, is known for performing many acts of healing which is detailed in the Book of Tobit and in St. John's Gospel.

In Hebrew the name Raphael means "God heals."

"Doctors diagnose, nurses dispense medication, chaplains pray, but God heals," Bishop Barber said. Everyone works hard to help those who are suffering and while some are healed others are not.

"It is a mystery," he said.

"God gives us life" and in life there is suffering and pain, the bishop said. "You witness an awful lot of suffering and death, that takes a toll." He mentioned and lifted up in prayer the women and men who work in hospice and the difficult nature of this particular occupation.

"Yes, God heals. God is love," the bishop said to those who work and minister in health care. "Angels are real. You are angels like St. Raphael. You accompany people through illness and for many to eternal life."

Concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Barber were Very Rev. James Matthews, rector at the Cathedral of Christ the Light; Rev. Samuel Oppong-Nkansah, CSSP, chaplain, Stanford University Hospital; Rev. Francisco Javier Diaz Diaz, SJ, a physician at the Malta Clinic and parochial vicar, Cathedral of Christ the Light; Rev. Geoffrey Baraan, pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Pinole; and Rev. Aidan McAleenan, pastor, St. Columba Parish, Oakland.

The lector, petition readers, those involved in liturgical movement and the presentation of gifts included a clinical social worker, pharmacist, nurses and chaplains and health care organizations throughout the East Bay such as UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, St. Paul Towers and La Clinica de la Raza.

The choir was comprised from singers and musicians from several parishes and the parts of the Mass and music were sung or read in English, Spanish, French, Tagalog and Swahili.

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