The Catholic University of America

Feb. 11, 2008

CUA Nursing Students Volunteer at Mass for Sick

Nursing major Andrea de Oliveira volunteers at the Mass for the Sick.
Ten sophomore volunteers from Catholic University's School of Nursing provided first aid for the sick at a special Mass Monday, Feb. 11. The event at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception honored the 16th World Day of the Sick and the 150th anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes.

More than 100 people braved cold temperatures to attend the mid-day Mass for the Sick and anointing, with some arriving in wheelchairs or walkers.

Presiding over the Mass, Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, encouraged those in attendance to address all forms of healing.

"Healing is in many, many forms including spiritual healing and moral healing," Wuerl said during his homily. "There is more to Catholic care of the sick than caring for physical needs."

CUA's nursing students partnered for the first time with the Knights of Malta to host the Mass. Also known as the Knights Hospitaller, the Knights of Malta are an ancient order originally founded in 1080 to tend to pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem.

The order and CUA's School of Nursing are both devoted to caring for the sick and the poor. The student volunteers at the Mass said they were pleased to help with that mission.

"The people with the blue necklaces [at the Mass] are the really, really sick, and there are about eight to10 of them to watch for," said nursing major Samantha Tangchaiburana of Silver Spring, Md.

"It's nice to be able to help, to make sure people don't fall down or make sure their blood sugar isn't too low," said nursing student Kate Offenheiser of Laguna Nigel, Calif.

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Established in 1932, The Catholic University of America School of Nursing offers undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs. It is ranked among America's best graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report. Students in CUA's nursing programs gain clinical experience in 100 of the Washington Metropolitan area's premier health care facilities and its research-intensive doctoral program is located within easy access of research and health facilities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine.

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