Bishop to present St. Luke Awards at White Mass

Bishop Joseph A. Galante will recognize the service to Catholic health care by four individuals with the presentation of the St. Luke Award at the annual White Mass for Healthcare Workers.

The Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m., in the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden. Bishop Galante will be the principal celebrant.

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. Father Joseph W. Kukura, president of Catholic HealthCare Partnership of New Jersey, will speak about healthcare reform.

Father Kukura, of the Archdiocese of Newark, currently serves as the president of the Catholic Health Partnership of New Jersey, a coalition of the 12 Catholic hospitals in the state. In that role, he advocates for the Catholic hospitals both in Trenton and in Washington, D.C.

Prior to the establishment of the Partnership, he served on the faculty of the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University teaching Christian ethics. In addition to his role as an advocate for the hospitals, he also serves as an ethical consultant to the Catholic hospitals and other organizations in New Jersey.

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

The St. Luke Awards recognize individuals who exemplify the tradition of Catholic health care in southern New Jersey. This year four individuals will be recognized, Dr. Robert J. Labacewski, Dr. Vincent T. McDermott, Jr., Margaret J. McDermott, and Sister Lucia Maroor.

Dr. Robert J. Labaczewski graduated from Camden Catholic High School and Rutgers University and received his medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He practices primary care medicine and occupational medicine at the Washington Medical Occupational Health Center in Sewell.

Dr. Labaczewski is chancellor of the Marion Council of the Knights of Columbus, a Man of Malvern and a Eucharistic Minister at St. Pius X Church in Cherry Hill.

Dr. Lab, as his patients call him, “sees his practice of medicine as his ministry,” according to his partner in practice, Dr. Dominic Laganella. Msgr. James Tracy, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Sicklerville, and one of his patients, attests to his dedication and his deep spirituality which he has witnessed since Dr. Lab was a student in Msgr. Tracy’s Latin class at Camden Catholic.

Christopher Connor, DPM, who also nominated Dr. Labaczewski for the St. Luke Award, called him a “wonderful example of humility in his personal and professional life.”

Margaret (Peggy) Taylor McDermott was raised in Caldwell, N.J. She attended Caldwell College and then graduated from nursing school at St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark, N.J., and continued her education at Stockton College by taking post-graduate courses in nursing administration.

Vincent T. McDermott Jr. was born in Camden, and graduated from St. Joseph’s University and Jefferson Medical College. He completed his internship at Our Lady of Lourdes, Camden, and his residency in internal medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital. He then completed his fellowship in cardiology at Hahnemann Hospital.

Peggy and Vince started their life together at St. Michael’s Hospital, when Peggy was a nursing student and Vince was completing his residency. They were married in Caldwell and then moved to Haddonfield.

Peggy continued her work as a surgical staff nurse and Vince started his work at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. One of their children was a special needs child and they became the founders, medical director and medical coordinator of St. John of God Community Health Volunteer Services with the Brothers of St. John of God in Westville Grove, 1967-72. In 1970 Peggy and Vince suffered the loss of their daughter Katey.

Vince was an attending physician at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center from 1961 until he retired in 2004. He was the president of Our Lady of Lourdes medical staff in 1982, an honor first held by his father, Vincent Sr., when the hospital opened in 1950. Vince also has worked for Healthcare Quality Strategies (formally Pro of NJ) since 1989. He was the attending physician at St. Mary’s Catholic Home, Cherry Hill, and the medical director of Bancroft Inc. and the Haddonfield Ambulance Association. He is currently the Medical Director for Project Hope and Community Health Practice in Camden.

Peggy was on the executive board of The Women’s Auxiliary to the Camden County Medical Society and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center Auxiliary. She was the president of Christ the King Regional School Board and a member of the Haddonfield Home School Association.

Peggy was also the chair of Our Lady of Lourdes Charity Ball Committee as well as a member of multiple fundraising committees for the hospital. She returned to nursing when their youngest entered school. She was the medical coordinator at Residential Health Care Center, Bancroft Inc. She then returned to Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center where she worked in Utilization Review as a quality assessment coordinator. She was quickly promoted to director of Infection Control, the position from which she retired in 2004.

In retirement the couple began their fundraising work for Camden, Community Health Practice and Project Hope. In July 2002 at the age of 70 and July 2007 at 75, Vince participated in a Sprint Triathlon in Stone Harbor to raise money for the Community Health Practice, Project Hope and Vince’s childhood school of Holy Name.

Currently Vince and Peggy volunteer at Community Health Practice, Bergen Landing, in Camden, Peggy as the nursing coordinator and Vince as the medical director. Vince is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Guadalupe Family Services for Holy Name Parish, Camden.

Vince and Peggy were the co-recipients’ of the Joseph A. Pacera Community Benefit Medical Award in October 2004 at Our Lady of Lourdes Health Center. They currently reside in Haddon Township.

Born in Kerala, India, Sister Lucy Maroor became interested in the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy in 1975. She traveled to Rome to pursue her vocation and on Oct. 7, 1979, she made her first profession of vows. Her final profession followed in 1986.

In 1984, Sister Lucy graduated from Our Lady of Mercy Nursing School in Italy as a registered nurse and traveled to the United States where she became a member of the staff at Bishop McCarthy Residence in Vineland.

In 1987 she was appointed director of nursing at Bishop McCarthy Residence. In 1991 she graduated from Stockton State College with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In 1997 she became a citizen of the United States, received her license as a nursing home administrator, and was appointed by Bishop James T. McHugh as administrator of Bishop McCarthy Residence.

Sister Lucy is credited with transforming Bishop McCarthy Residence into a leader in long term care.

Bishop McCarthy Residence has been a part of a statewide wound care initiative to improve the care of elderly patients. It is a leader in emergency planning in the post-Katrina era. Working with a broad range of community services and agencies, the home was selected as the site for a training film with national distribution demonstrating how compassion is a critical element when a nursing home is faced with the need to evacuate during an emergency.

Over 70 staff members of the home participated in the film. This involvement of employees is a hallmark of Sr. Lucy’s leadership. A mentoring program was initiated to help employees professionally. Health fairs and other supports, including information and referral services, recognize the difficult family and social situations many employees experience. She has encouraged an employee safety program which has been recognized by safety awards from sate and federal government.

An annual Mass for employees has been introduced to remind the staff of their own spiritual development and the role that plays in their work.

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