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CMA Boot Camp: The Great Gift of Being a Catholic in the Medical Field

June 19, 2024

By David Talarico

This year’s Medical Student and Resident Boot Camp has reminded me that to be a Catholic in the field of medicine is a great gift.

Coming off my first year of clinicals and preparing to enter my fourth year of medical school, I was feeling a bit drained after the ups and downs of the past few years. The secular culture was making me feel like my faith was an obstacle to my future career rather than a blessing.

I previously attended Boot Camp between my first and second year of medical school, so I was eager to come back again for the rejuvenation that I knew it would be. Exceeding my expectations, Boot Camp provided me with the faith, fellowship, and formation to live as a truly Catholic physician.

The emphasis that Boot Camp places on living as a faithful Catholic first is truly a gift. Access to the sacraments, daily Mass, and time of prayer and spiritual direction were great reminders of the need to prioritize these practices in my life in the medical field. I was deeply moved during Mass, adoration, and confession when I could see the humility and reverence of other medical students and physicians towards Jesus in the sacraments. It reminded me that I am not alone on this journey and that other Catholics are living faithfully in medicine. The opportunities to share meals, conversations, and give and receive advice from the other CMA members built me up and reminded me of the community I have in the Catholic Medical Association. Talking with others who understand the vocational call to medicine, the dignity of our patients, and the need for servant leadership was a refreshing change from what medical school can be at times. I was inspired by the perseverance, courage, and sacrifice of the doctors who I met. The diverse formation talks throughout the week were also invigorating as I was reminded of the truths of our faith and the reality that ethical and moral medicine is just good medicine. Patients deserve what a Catholic physician has to offer.

I am so grateful for the Catholic Medical Association and especially all the physicians, staff, and donors who made this Boot Camp possible. I know the fire of my faith and call to the vocation of medicine have been strengthened for the journey ahead. As I enter my final year of medical school with residency on the horizon, I feel blessed and encouraged by my Boot Camp experience!