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 “It was a joyful and successful event,” said Sr. Okoko, herself a physician. “The Eucharistic celebration was very vibrant with people actively participating in the liturgy and music. The health care professionals felt honored, affirmed and encouraged in their ministry.”

 In his homily Bishop Gerald Barnes offered his blessing and thanks for their service to the community and challenged them to serve as role models for others. 

 “Your profession is truly a ministry as seen by the Church. It shows us, by example, how we are to live our lives: to care for each other, especially those who are at the margins because of health issues, poverty or frailty,” Bishop Barnes said. “We honor you because you remind us how we are to live our Christian lives, to value all human life and to celebrate, promote and advocate for all life.”

 A reception was held following the Mass where certain members of the healthcare community were recognized with several awards. 

 This year the recipients included Dr. Godofreda B. Sumalangcay, MD for the St. Luke Award, presented to any doctor/physician who has distinguished himself/herself professionally in a way that reflects Catholic values and moral ethics; Kevin Mahany for the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award, given to an individual who is not a medical professional, but has supported health projects and programs, or provided ancillary services in the healthcare system; Nelly Rabe, RN for the Florence Nightingale Award, presented to any licensed nurse who has distinguished himself/herself in the field of nursing in a way that reflects Catholic values and moral ethics; and Dr. Francisco C. Enverga, DDS, for the Bishop Award, which honors any healthcare provider, other than a physician or nurse, who has distinguished himself/herself by providing healthcare services in a manner that promotes the mission of the Diocese, “so that people’s lives are filled with hope.”