85th Annual Educational Conference

 Virtuous Medicine: The Joy and Privilege of the Catholic Physician

The 2016 CMA 85th Annual Education Conference will be held from October 13-15, 2016 in Washington, D.C.  Our theme is: “Virtuous Medicine, the Joy and Privilege of the Catholic Physician”.  Our theme was inspired, in part, by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” or “The Joy of the Gospel.” In it, he invites all Christians to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ or at least openness to letting Him encounter us.  Pope Francis reminds us that no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.  This document is a call to action for the world’s believers.  It covers a wide range of topics including evangelization and an increased openness to the role of the laity which form the backdrop of our theme.  Our Episcopal Advisor, Most Reverend James D. Conley, D.D., will open our conference with a more detailed review of this document.

As Catholic physicians, nurses and healthcare professionals we are in a unique position to evangelize a number of individuals on a daily basis.  We are “missionary disciples” and have multiple opportunities to live and share our faith not only through our words but more importantly through our actions.

To effectively evangelize as Catholic healthcare professionals, it is important that we do so in a virtuous way.  Being virtuous means not only to do the right thing but to do good readily, spontaneously, and with joy.  As Catholic Christians and healthcare professionals, virtue is based, as Saint JPII outlined in his apostolic letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte” or “At the Beginning of the New Millenium” on “a high standard of ordinary Christian Living”.  Let me repeat that, virtue is based on “a high standard of ordinary Christian living”.

The Omni Shoreham hotel is one of Washington D.C’s most historic landmark hotels.  Since its opening in 1930, the Omni Shoreham has been a cultural, social, and political cornerstone of the city.  It has long been a favorite gathering place of dignitaries and world leaders.  Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to hold his inaugural ball at the Omni Shoreham. Since then every president in the 20th century has held his inaugural ball there.

Some of this year’s speakers include, George Weigel (the definitive biographer of Saint Pope John Paul II), Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Mr. Mike Aqulina, and our own Drs.: Bill Williams, Greg Burke, and John Travaline just to name a few. The banquet speaker,  Ralph Martin, is well known to many as a leader in renewal movements in the Catholic Church.

There will be parallel sessions throughout the conference for medical students, residents, nurses, and allied health professionals to address needs of these respective areas.

The special event is a dinner cruise on the scenic Potomac River on the Spirit of Washington. There will be plenty of opportunity to view landmarks from the river, dancing, and fun.

The White Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  This is the largest Catholic Church in America and among the ten largest in the world.  It is also the recent site of the first ever canonization of St. Junipero Serra, outside of Rome by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, will celebrate this Mass and deliver the homily. Physicians and medical students are invited to wear their white coats/jackets to this Mass, as is traditionally done at the Baltimore White Mass.

As you know, Pope Francis has declared the period of December 8, 2015 –November 30, 2016 a Year of Mercy.  To honor this, we will recite the Divine Mercy chaplet daily throughout the conference. The patron of the planning committee is St. Rafael and the principal patroness of the conference is Our Lady Undoer of Knots, a devotion that our Holy Father is known to be greatly devoted to and has promoted as Archbishop. We look forward to seeing you at the conference this year in Washington, D.C.!