On Oct. 18, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals were honored for their unconditional service to the community during the White Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

“Healthcare professionals inspire us in what they do, especially for the underserved and poor,” said Sister Angela Hallahan, director of the Health Affairs Office of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “We celebrate these women and men every year for their service.”

Denise Alvarado, a Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter paramedic, was honored during the Mass for her courage, compassion and commitment as a first responder. The daughter of two Los Angeles County sheriffs, Alvarado was inspired to serve in the United States Army before joining the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Father Maurice Schroeder, M.D., and Father John (Jack) P. MacCarthy, M.D., were also honored as the 2015 National Catholic Doctors of the Year. Father Schroeder and Father MacCarthy have each served more than 30 years as medical missionaries for the Quechua community in the Amazon basin of Peru.

Archbishop José H. Gomez, who is participating in the Synod on the Family in Rome, sent a message to the group, saying, “I pray for each one of you, so that, in the words of the Holy Father, you may ‘keep ever present the flesh of Christ present in the poor, in those suffering, in children, also in the unwanted, in those with physical or mental disabilities and in the elderly.’”

The White Mass is co-sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Health Affairs and the Mission Doctors Association. The White Mass has been a tradition in the United States since the late 1800s. The Mass is held on or near the Feast of St. Luke (Oct. 18), patron saint of healers, and is named for the white lab coats worn by many health care professionals.