The University community and friends are invited to a prayerful celebration of Saint Giuseppe Moscati, the first modern physician and medical researcher to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 in the Chapel of Immaculate Conception.
This is the second annual Mass of Saint Giuseppe Moscati at the University. The idea was conceived by one of the University's Regents and is supported by his financial generosity as a way to promote the mission of the new Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall, where the education of medical students will occur in an interprofessional setting at the Interprofessional Health Science (IHS) Campus alongside students of the University's College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences. This year's mass falls not only on the memorial day of Saint Moscati but also mere weeks after the announcement that the School of Medicine would begin accepting applications for its inaugural class, which will begin in July 2018.
Monsignor Anthony Ziccardi, the University's Vice President for Mission and Ministry, said "It is important that we gather to pray and to be inspired by the example of Saint Moscati because Catholicism takes a holistic approach to health and healing and believes in the complementarity of faith and science."
Saint Moscati was a physician, medical school professor, and pioneer in the field of biochemistry. He was canonized in 1987 during the synod of bishops on the laity. Not often is someone with a professional degree from a modern secular university declared a saint. Saint Moscati was notorious for living a simple life and having consecrated himself to the service of the poor. Before examining a patient or engaging in research he would place himself in the presence of God. He encouraged his patients, especially those who were about to undergo surgery, to receive the sacraments. Saint Moscati also attended to temporal needs. He treated poor patients free of charge and would often send patients home with an envelope containing a prescription and the money to pay for it.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in April 1906, Saint Moscati voluntarily helped to evacuate a nursing home in the endangered area, personally moving the frail and infirm patients to safety minutes before the roof of the building collapsed under the ash. He also served beyond the call of duty during the 1911 cholera epidemic and treated approximately 3,000 soldiers during World War I.
The homilist for this year's Mass will be Deacon John M. Travaline, M.D., who is versed in bioethical issues in Catholic medicine. Dr. Traveline received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College, internal medicine training at the University of Maryland Medical Center and training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Temple University Hospital. He practices pulmonology and is a professor at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. He is a former member of the Temple Review Research Committee of the Institutional Review Board, a member of the National Bioethics Center and a regular contributor to The National Bioethics Quarterly. He is also a deacon of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Dr. Travaline is the author or co-author of more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts and book chapters, including publications on topics such as medical ethics, physician-patient communication and end-of-life care. The abstract for his new book, Catholic Witness in Healthcare: Practicing Medicine in Truth & Love, which he co-edited, is very telling of Dr. Travaline's approach to medicine as a Catholic: "Medicine, a generated art, was hewn out by the reason of man and permeated with the medical professional’s love for his patient as a child of God."