White Mass Speaker to Focus on Ethics of genetics

DANBURY—The  22nd annual White Mass and breakfast honoring health care professionals will be held on Sunday, April 12, 8:30 am at St. Aloysius Church in New Canaan. The Mass, open to the general public, will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. Breakfast will follow at Woodway Country Club in Darien. Father Kevin Fitzgerald, S.J., associate professor of bioethics at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and an expert in ethical issues related to cloning and genetic testing, will be the featured speaker.

Father Kevin FitzGerald is a research associate professor in the division of biochemistry and pharmacology of the Department of Oncology and the Dr. David P. Lauler chair for Catholic Health Care Ethics. He is also a member of the Center for Clinical Bioethics, the Advisory Board for the Center for Infectious Disease (CID), and the Angiogenesis, Invasion, Metastasis Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

His research interests have included the investigation of abnormal gene regulation in cancer and ethical issues in human genetics, including the ethical and social ramifications of molecular genetics research. He is also a Jesuit priest and an expert on ethical issues in personalized medicine, pharmacogenomics, human cloning research, stem cell research, and genetic testing.

He earned a second PhD in bioethics in 1999 at Georgetown University, after also achieving a doctorate in from  Georgetown in 1996 in molecular biology. His undergraduate degree is from Cornell University (1977) in biology. He was awarded his masters in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in 1988.

At the breakfast, two area healthcare professionals will be presented the Father Rufin Compassionate Care Award. The recipients are traditionally drawn from the ranks of physicians, nurses, dentists, healthcare workers or healthcare volunteers in Fairfield County who exemplify the compassionate and loving care for the sick for which the late Father Rufin Kuveikis, a Capuchin Franciscan, was known as chaplain at Norwalk Hospital for 18 years. He died in 2008 at age 86.

This is the seventh year that the Father Rufin Compassionate Care Award will be presented at the White Mass breakfast.

By Brian D. Wallace, Editor
(All healthcare workers and their guests are invited to attend the White Mass. Brunch tickets: $35. For more info and tickets, contact Debbie Charles: (203) 416-1352 or