St. Luke Awards to be presented at White Mass


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

The St. Luke Awards recognize individuals who exemplify the tradition of Catholic health care in southern New Jersey. This year two individuals will be recognized, Dr, Thomas A. Cavalieri, current dean of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine, and retired physician Dr. Richard K. Spence of Cherry Hill.

The Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, Oct. 2, 1 p.m., in the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden. Bishop Galante will be the principal celebrant.

Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, medical advisor to the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will be the keynote speaker. The topic will be “Be Not Afraid: How to be Catholic in Healthcare.”

The White Mass is scheduled each year on a Sunday near the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist who, according to tradition, 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.

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.

Dr. Ruppersberger is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and practices at the Center for Women’s Health in Langhorne, Pa. His hospital affiliations include Lower Bucks Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center.

He has been a presenter at numerous medical conferences and currently is a speaker for several pharmaceutical companies. He is a certified instructor in natural family planning for the archdiocese. In that capacity, he promotes NFP not only through NFP couples’ classes but also to medical schools, to high schools, to several local universities, at various Life forums and through a monthly radio program on Holy Spirit Radio. He currently serves as president of the Respect Life Committee at St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish in Yardley, Pa.

Dr. Cavalieri has been an advocate for older adults for more than 25 years. As an academic geriatrician and faculty member at UMDNJ, he has advanced the standard of care for them across the nation and even served as founding director of The NJ Institute for Successful Aging.

Dr. Cavalieri has served in a leadership role for many professional bodies at the national, state and local levels. He has been the chairman of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, president of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, chairman of the Committee on Interdisciplinary, Community Linkages, chairman of the New Jersey Commission on Aging, member of the Drug Utilization Review Board, member of the staff at Kennedy University Hospital and its Board of Trustees, and medical director of St. Mary’s Catholic Home in Cherry Hill.

He has been named a Top Doc in geriatrics by several publications and been the recipient of many professional honors and awards. His dedication to the church was recognized by Bishop James T. McHugh when he was awarded the Bishop’s Medal for service to the Diocese of Camden.

He and his wife, Donna, have four grown children and are members of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Cape May.

Dr. Cavalieri, under the direction of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, was instrumental in spearheading the South Jersey Catholic Medical Association here in the Diocese of Camden. He served as its founding president and currently serves as Dean Liaison to the Student Christian Medical Association and the Student Catholic Medical Association at UMDNJ-SOM.

Dr. Spence has been a faculty member and chaired departments at several major institutions including Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, a part of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, in Camden, (1981-95), Staten Island University Hospital in New York (1995-99), Baptist Health Systems in Alabama (1999-2003), and St. Agnes Medical Center in Baltimore, (2003-05).

While in Alabama, he also served as director for the Alabama Center for Transfusion Alternatives. In 2005, he accepted the position of senior vice president for Clinical Affairs for Infonale. He joined Haemonetics, the Blood Management Company as medical director in 2007 and has recently retired from that position.

Dr. Spence has devoted much of his clinical work to the advancement of blood management, surgical education and the treatment of venous disease. He is the author of more than 250 publications in these areas, has contributed chapters to several major surgical and transfusion textbooks, and had co-edited a book on transfusion medicine. He has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his work in these fields and is a sought-after speaker.

He is a past president of both the New Jersey and Delaware Valley regional vascular societies and of the national Association for Surgical Education. Dr. Spence is a past president of the Association for Surgical Education (ASE) and was the 2002 recipient of the associations Distinguished Educator of the Year award. He was the Founding President of both SABM, the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management (SAMB) and The Network for the advancement of Transfusion Alternatives (NATA).

Dr. Spence and his wife, Claire, reside in Cherry Hill and are the parents of five daughters and grandparent to seven grandchildren. They are members of St. Thomas More Parish where he serves as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, visits the sick and homebound, supports pro-life activities, advocates for priestly vocations, and reaches out to the youth and young adult members.

Dr. Spence is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and currently is the Deputy Grand Knight of Council 6173 in Cherry Hill.

To attend the White Mass please RSVP to 856-342-4125 or email