Local Catholic Physicians Guild seeks to be moral guide

| February 2, 2011 | 1 Comment

Dr. Peter Daly of Lumen Christi in St. Paul wasn’t looking for another professional organization to join. So, what did he do?

He became the president of one.

Two years ago, the St. Paul and Minneapolis Catholic Physicians Guild was formed. It’s a local affiliate of the national Catholic Medical Association. Despite a full schedule as an orthopedic surgeon, Daly felt called to help launch and lead the guild, which now has about 90 members.

“I know that we’re all busy and we don’t need another meeting to go to,” he said. “But the gatherings with the Catholic Medical Association are meant to feed us from a spiritual and educational standpoint. That’s what we need. And, we’re not getting it in any other way.”

Learning opportunities

On Jan. 29, the guild held one of four events it conducts annually. Father Michael Keating from the University of St. Thomas came to celebrate Mass and give a talk on science and the sacramental, which focused on how physicians can see the humanity of their patients rather than focus on the business component of health care delivery.

In April, the guild will offer a morning of reflection, followed by a pilgrimage in August. Then, in October comes the White Mass celebrated by Archbishop John Nienstedt. The Mass honoring medical professionals takes place on or near the feast day of St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians who was one himself.

Daly is hoping events like these, plus the upcoming national meeting of the Catholic Medical Association, will bring more physicians into the guild here in the Twin Cities.

“The number of Catholic physicians in the Twin Cities is huge,” he said. “I’ve got to believe that we have less than 5 percent of [the total number of Catholic] physicians in our membership.

“Our goal is to really try to grow the members and use the upcoming 2012 national Catholic Medical Association meeting here in St. Paul as a way to get the word out. There will be some great speakers and some great discussions.”

Daly said he is concerned the medical field “has gotten so secularized that we forget that the healing arts have been part of religion and spirituality for centuries.”

He is hoping the organization can help guide and shape the medical profession and, ultimately, U.S. culture when it comes to ethics and morals in medicine.

“I think that’s where the Catholic Medical Association needs to have an impact,” he said. “We have to familiarize ourselves, as physicians, with Catholic moral teachings and Catholic bioethical principles. . . . That’s what I want the Catholic Medical Association guild locally to be able to do — [be] a vehicle to remind us that we can’t get lulled into just accepting what’s going on in our nation.”

World Day of the Sick Mass

» When: Friday Feb. 11. Begins with 5:15 p.m. Mass with Bishop Lee Piché. Followed at 6 p.m. with prayer and blessing with water from Lourdes for the sick, caregivers and health care workers and a 6:30 p.m.  reception in the Ryan Room.

» Where: Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

» Details: The Cathedral is handicapped-accessible and all the sick able to come to Mass are welcome.

» Sponsors: Curatio and the Order of Malta

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