Seriously ill invited to be anointed during White Mass

Bishop Daniel Garcia administers the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick during the 2016 White Mass. During the annual Mass, those who are seriously ill are invited to receive the sacrament. This year’s White Mass will be held Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at St. Theresa Parish in Austin. (Photo by Shelley Metcalf)

By Catholic Spirit Staff

The 16th annual White Mass will be celebrated Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at St. Theresa Parish in Austin. This Mass is in anticipation of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick, which are observed on Feb. 11. 
The Mass will include the Rite of Anointing of the Sick, and it is sponsored by the Austin Diocese and the Central Texas Catholic Healthcare Guild. The celebration will include a blessing for health care workers and the sacrament of the anointing of the sick for those who are seriously ill. All those wishing to attend the Mass are asked to register at https://whitemass2017.eventbrite.com so preparations can be made.
The primary end of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick is strengthening of the person of faith so that they do not despair or lose faith as a result of serious illness or advanced age. Typically, people who receive the sacrament include those whose health is seriously impaired by physical or mental illness; those preparing for surgery, if the surgery is caused by serious illness or requires complete sedation; the elderly 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 the condition has become more serious.
Those who wish to receive the anointing of the sick are asked to register with the Austin Diocese 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.
In 1992, St. John Paul II designated Feb. 11 as the World Day of the Sick. It is “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). 
The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is also celebrated on Feb. 11. The Marian apparitions at Lourdes were reported in 1858 by St. Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old miller’s daughter from the town of Lourdes in southern France. From Feb. 11 to July 16, 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of “a Lady.” Despite initial skepticism, the apparitions were declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation. More than 5,000 cures have been attributed to Our Lady of Lourdes, with 65 of those cures designated as “miraculous” by the church. 
A reception will immediately follow the White Mass on the campus of St. Theresa Parish.