The 20th annual White Mass and Saint Luke Awards Reception took place this past Sunday, Oct. 20, at Saint Luke Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Stratford, to honor healthcare professionals who have promoted Catholic principles and values throughout their career.
Father Vince Guest, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, was the celebrant of the liturgy.
Sponsored by the South Jersey Catholic Medical Guild of the Diocese of Camden, and VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services, the event is always held near the feast of Saint Luke (Oct. 18), physician and evangelist.
This year’s keynote Speaker was Dr. John Bertagnolli, associate professor of the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM), and director of the Rowan SOM House Calls Program, who gave a presentation on “A Catholic Physician’s Alternatives to Physician-Assisted Suicide.”
This year’s honorees were Robert A. Leonetti, DMD; Father Robert B. Matysik; Lisa Papp, RN, APN-C; and Stanley Czarnecki, MD.
Robert A. Leonetti, DMD is co-founder of the Project Smiles Clinic, which, since its inception in 2009, has provided free dental care to disadvantaged patients in Camden, Pennsauken, and Gloucester City. A resident of Camden, he attended Saint Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral School and Camden Catholic High School, before earning a DMD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry (now Rutgers School of Dental Medicine) in 1978, and practicing in the United States Air Force Dental Corps. Leonetti has also worked with Project Stretch, a non-profit that promotes oral health to underserved children in South and Central America.
He continues to serve as lector and Eucharistic Minister at his two parishes — Saint Damien in Ocean City and Saint John the Evangelist in Philadelphia.
Father Robert B. Matysik ministers at AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center, Bacharach Institute and volunteers at Eastern Pines Convalescent Center. During these visits, his responsibilities include regular time with patients, especially those in intensive care, trauma and emergency departments; administering the sacraments of the anointing of the sick, reconciliation and baptism; being on call for emergencies; and working collaboratively to coordinate and deliver appropriate pastoral care.
Father Matysik offers guidance to patients on healthcare services, advanced directives and end-of-life issues in accord with the USCCB’s “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services.” Ordained in 1984, he has been engaged in hospital ministry for over 30 years.
Lisa Papp, RN, APN-C, is currently part-time lecturer for the clinical learning labs of Rutgers University, instructing nursing students for entry into baccalaureate practice. For 27 years, she worked with the Surgical Group of South Jersey, working with cardiovascular and thoracic surgical patients, before retiring in 2015. Before that, she worked as a nurse, manager, and coordinator at various healthcare facilities throughout South Jersey.
Raised in Stratford, and a former student at Saint Lawrence School in Lindenwold, she is presently a parishioner at Saint Andrew the Apostle in Gibbsboro. She has been active in ministries there such as Meals for the Homebound, Project Graduation, and Adopt-a-Family. Papp is also the ministry leader for the parish’s new Shepherd’s Watch program, which oversees and provides protection and assistance for health-related and security issues at the church.
Stanley Czarnecki, M.D., has been able to claim over 20 years of service to the people of Camden and surrounding communities, through his work with the Cooper Health System. As a physician, his primary interests have been to provide a high level of cutting edge, clinical bedside medical care to acutely ill persons of the community, and bring quality education to the next generation of healthcare professionals.
He has served as the associate residency director for emergency medicine residency at Cooper Hospital. In recognition of his ability to educate and encourage confidence in future healthcare workers, the medical students of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Camden twice presented him the Golden Apple teaching award. Dr. Czarnecki also earned the distinction of being the only candidate to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award three times from the residents of the emergency medicine residency at Cooper Health System. A parishioner of Medford’s Saint Mary of the Lakes, he has been active with the parish’s Pre-Cana Marriage Prep, Bible Study program, and serves as a Eucharistic Minister.