Bishop to present St. Luke Awards at White Mass

Bishop Joseph A. Galante will recognize the service to Catholic health care of four individuals with the presentation of the St. Luke Award at the Annual White Mass for Healthcare Workers on Sunday, Oct. 14, 1 p.m., in the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.

The event is co-sponsored by the Diocese of Camden and the South Jersey Catholic Medical Association. A reception, sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, will follow the Mass.

The White Mass is scheduled each year on a Sunday near the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, who tradition holds was a physician. It is intended to honor all who provide health care within the diocese. All healthcare workers and their families are invited to attend.

This year four individuals will be recognized: Joseph J. Hong, M.D., Francis Lopes, M.D., William V. Harrer, M.D., and Marian Nowak, RN, FCN.

Dr. Joseph J. Hong is a board-certified dermatologist whose practice is located in Linwood.

Dr. Hong is on the board of directors of the Gianna Center of New York that addresses women’s health conditions traditionally treated with procedures and medications that suppress or bypass a woman’s naturally occurring fertility cycle. In contrast, the center pursues natural procreation and restorative reproductive health.

Last year Dr. Joseph Hong was invested in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a lay exempt religious order. He has served as a physician on the annual pilgrimage of the Order of Malta to the Shrine at Lourdes, and at Hopital Sacre’ Coeur in Milot Haiti under the auspices of the Crudem Foundation.

Locally he serves as a lector at St. Michael Parish in Atlantic City. He is a member of the Philadelphia guild of the Catholic Medical Association.

Dr. Francis Lopes believes that his vocation was a calling by God, and his office and his patient rooms have religious images hanging on the walls.

His family practice is in Audubon, where he has been practicing in the same location for 30 years.

Dr. Lopes often encourages Catholic patients who have a need to pray the rosary and shares with them the importance of how that prayer sustains and blesses his own life. He has been known to give them rosary beads if they do not have their own.

Dr. Lopes served as a volunteer at St. Anthony of Padua Clinic, Camden, for many years.

For several years he led the laity in song at Mass at his parish each Sunday. He also sang with Jubilate Deo Chorale.

Dr. William Valentine Harrer, while on staff at Jefferson Hospital, volunteered to serve as cytology laboratory director for Regina Mundi Priory in Devon. The nuns at this facility offered cytology diagnostic services to local obstetricians and gynecologists to support their ministry.

He became laboratory director at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, in 1970, continuing in that position until his retirement in May 2012, a span of 42 years. During his tenure at Lourdes, he participated in sickle cell screening in Camden schools and stillborn fetal programs.

Dr. Harrer had served on numerous hospital and non-hospital committees, including president of medical staff at Lourdes. He has presented over 60 workshops throughout the U.S in “Effusion Cytology,” based on cases from Lourdes Hospital.

Dr. Harrer presently is chair of the College of American Pathologists delegation to the American Medical Association and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the College of American Pathologists Foundation. The Foundation is active in sponsoring cervical and breast diagnostic programs to indigent areas throughout the U.S.

Dr. Harrer is a member of Christ the King Parish in Haddonfield and was one of the first lectors.

Marian Nowak, parish nurse, of Winslow Township, has spent the majority of her 37 years of nursing service caring for, advocating for and educating disadvantaged groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

She is currently completing a doctorate at Case Western University, and is assistant professor of public health nursing at LaSalle University School of Nursing.

At the age of 19, she was one of the original volunteers at the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. Later, when working in Thomas Jefferson University Emergency Department, she developed a patient education program to reach out to underserved patients in the city of Philadelphia.

Nowak created her own brand of “school nursing” combining her nursing vocation with community service by reaching out to the youth in developing the first drug education program for her school district, a healthy heart community education program, an asthma prevention program, and a violence free program for teenagers. She worked with medical and public health leaders on programs, including a teen smoking cessation program and a pregnancy prevention program.

This past year Nowak guided student nurses to develop an outreach project to a vulnerable minority population in Bristol Township, Pa. She also worked to develop the first student nurse certificate program for public health emergency preparedness and MRC volunteerism which led to an additional 350 student nurse volunteers for the Philadelphia Department of Health.

She later traveled to Hong Kong to give a presentation to attendees from 29 countries on a national disaster triage method which she developed. She went on to share her program with nursing professors in several countries. She also developed a national certificate program for emergency preparedness and she contributed to a World Health Organization Project which addresses interprofessional collaboration in a primary health care setting.

Nowak belongs to Christ the Redeemer Parish, Atco, and serves as an Extraordinary Minister.

To attend the White Mass please RSVP to 856-342-4150 or email

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