By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT – Around 60 medical professionals from across the United States gathered June 4-7 at Mundelein University in Mundelein, Illinois, to talk about what Catholics can do regarding the New Evangelization, developing relationships with guilds and clergy, strategic support and more.
Among the attendees: Dr. Timothy Millea, an orthopedic doctor who attends St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport and is president of St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of the Quad Cities.
Although the mid-year meeting has been held for several years, this was the first time guild presidents and officers were allowed to attend. Typically the meeting has been reserved for Catholic Medical Association (CMA) board and regional directors. Millea said discussion at the meeting included reaching out more and “not dictating from the top, down. Let’s get in the trenches.”
The CMA has tools to help local guilds build their groups and to help take a stand on issues. One effort of the CMA is a “holy alliance” of clergy, CMA members and local guilds working side-by-side to offer a unified approach on life issues. “How do we do this? It will vary by diocese and by parish,” Millea said.
He and other St. Thomas Aquinas Guild members will meet with Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport and Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois. Both support the Quad City guild since it covers both sides of the Mississippi River.
The Quad City Guild and Des Moines Guild, the only two in Iowa, are working together on state efforts. They’re hoping to have a state guild representative to work with the regional director who reports to the CMA board. The two guilds would also like to work on other efforts such as the annual March for Life in Des Moines. First they’d get the guilds together to march. In the future they hope to possibly offer a medically based program for people who attend the march.
“A pipe dream is to have doctors around the state who would be able to testify at committee hearings at the state level. We would like to have a phone tree set up with bullet points for people to work with. Those people then can testify in Des Moines if needed regarding any life topics, for example. But they need to be able to work with short notice. The committees certainly do not give you six weeks notice asking if you can testify,” Millea said. “We want to be able to show faces behind the topics brought up. That is where the impact is. Putting a real face to the topic.”
The Quad City guild also plans to get into technology. The CMA is building a template website, hosted at the national level so that local guilds can plug in their information. Millea also plans to forge into social media “We want to get the public aware about who we are and what we do.”
At the end of July, the guild launched its Facebook page at “St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of the Quad Cities.” Its Twitter page is “@ThomasAquinasQC.”
“Please check out these new efforts, and be patient as we try to navigate our way into social media. And let your colleagues, families and friends know about them. All are welcome,” Millea said.
The Quad City guild has about 70 members since it formed last year. Not all are physicians, nurses, physical therapists or from other medical fields. Some supporters are lawyers, realtors and others.
This fall the guild plans to hold its annual White Mass in October. Details will be released as plans are finalized.
Millea said he came back from the conference with a 71-point “to do” list. “I have to get working.”
For more on the St. Thomas Aquinas guild, contact officers at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is open to medical professionals including doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other, Catholic supporters not in the medical field and others.