Jorge Francisco Carreon, M.D., is a seemingly tireless OB/GYN who sees patients at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and at his own clinic in South Gate. When he’s not delivering babies, Dr. Carreon — known for his admirable work ethic and leadership roles — serves on numerous boards and advisory committees. But the 70-year-old physician always makes time for faith and family.
“On Sunday mornings he brings the ham and bread over to the house and we have breakfast,” his grandson Aurelio Mayesh told The Tidings. “He’s been a big inspiration to me since I was born. He’s shown me the importance of values and hard work. He’ll be at the hospital all night, all day, and it just really shows me how much care and passion he has for his work. It’s a beautiful thing.”
That enduring commitment earned Dr. Carreon the honor of 2014 National Catholic Doctor of the Year. Mayesh accepted the award on his grandfather’s behalf during the sixth annual White Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Oct. 12. The honoree was unable to attend because he was visiting his native Peru, where he was helping organize an international medical congress.
Catholic physicians, nurses and healthcare professionals from across the archdiocese attended the White Mass to hear a special message and receive a blessing from Archbishop José Gomez, who presided at the White Mass, which honors both everyday and exceptional contributions in healthcare.
“Jesus wants to be present, to be close to anyone who is afflicted and sick, and Jesus draws near to these people in need through us,” said Archbishop Gomez in his homily. “God shows his merciful presence, his care for every person, through our humble acts of service and love. This is why your work in the healthcare profession is so important.
“You have a noble calling, my brothers and sisters — through your work you are representatives of Jesus. You are the healing presence of God in our world. Thank you for your service and thank you for your example of love.”
This year’s White Mass also recognized the extraordinary contributions of Mount St. Mary’s College’s School of Nursing in Los Angeles, which received the 2014 Catholic Healthcare Service Award. The college created the first Bachelor of Science nursing degree in the state of California in 1952, and today offers five different nursing programs to meet the needs of the ever-changing community.
According to Mount St. Mary’s president Ann McElaney-Johnson, Ph.D., who accepted the award on behalf of the college, the school’s Catholic approach to nursing education helps ensure that “our students and alums understand the cultural, emotional and physical issues facing each patient, and provide them with a holistic approach to care that is sensitive and respectful.”
Holy Faith Sister Angela Hallahan, director of the Office of Health Affairs, noted that the words of the prophet Daniel “speak with particular resonance” for Mount St. Mary’s: “Those with insight shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament. And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”
Near the end of Mass, Archbishop Gomez asked the scores of healthcare professionals present to stand with their arms extended forward and their hands cupped in front of them to receive a special blessing for their “healing hands.”
“As you continue to bring your healing touch to all in your care,” he prayed, “may your inner strength give you the courage to face all situations with compassion.”
The White Mass is co-sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Health Affairs and the Mission Doctors Association, which trains, sends and supports Catholic physicians to serve people of all faiths in underserved regions around of the world. The White Mass is held near the Feast of St. Luke (Oct. 18), patron saint of healers, and is named for the distinctive white lab coats worn by many professionals who work in the healthcare field.