Rev. Deacon Thomas J. Davis, Director of the Saint John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College & Seminary, presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Msgr. David Q. Liptak, co-founder of the Center for his vision and decades of pioneering work at the Center.
Rev. Deacon Thomas J. Davis, Director of the Saint John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College & Seminary, took the opportunity as part of this year’s annual Bioethics Lecture, to make a surprise presentation to Msgr. David Q. Liptak, a co-founder of the Center in 1980. Msgr. Liptak is a resident of Saint Joseph’s Residence in Enfield.
The plaque, representing the first such achievement award granted by the Center, was presented to Msgr. Liptak during the 11:00 a.m. daily Mass at the chapel of the Saint Joseph’s Residence on the day before the formal presentation.
In an expression of both professional and personal appreciation for his long association with Msgr. Liptak, Deacon Davis took the liberty of addressing him, “just this once,” with, “David, my friend, my good friend, congratulations.”
Blessing the plaque, which was publicly received the following day by Monsignor Liptak’s sister, Sister Dolores Liptak, R.S.M., at the Saint John Paul II Lecture, Monsignor Liptak expressed appreciation to Deacon Davis and reflected on the Center’s work in bioethics, the beginning of life, procreation, to the end of life, “Here is the work of God to call us out of darkness into the light of faith in which bioethics is so essential these days. In 1980 three of us got together, a philosopher, a medical doctor, and myself (a priest) and launched this bioethics center, which now has national interest in a field very important, very important today.”
Accepting the award on her brother’s behalf during the lecture, Sister Dolores, adjunct professor of church history at the college, told the audience that her brother credited the other co-founders of the Center, Dr. Leo Duffy, a physician; Father Francis Lescoe, a preeminent philosopher; and, in later years, Dr. Mary Cullen, also a physician. These individuals, in the words of Msgr. Liptak, “gave of their expertise, gratis, to be part of what they also considered the vital addition of bioethics to the curriculum of the college and seminary.”
Sister Dolores said that Msgr. Liptak is proud to realize that this program has succeeded, and is considered to be the first, or at least one of the first of its kind, in any seminary in the United States.
“May I add,” she said, “that my brother’s only dream in life was to be a worthy priest. At 26, after ordination, he was appointed to expand his vocation by becoming a journalist, serving as associate editor, later executive editor, of the Catholic Transcript. By his silver jubilee he had extended the educational dimension of his calling to include a vocation that was equally close to his heart, teaching men in pursuit of the same goal of priesthood.
“My brother is grateful to Holy Apostles for making it possible for him to fulfill this desire to educate candidates for the priesthood, especially in the new field of bioethics. In later years he was equally happy that members of the laity were able to be enriched through this program as well.
“This award is a fitting recognition that the goals he hoped for have been met, by both the prestigious faculty of the program as well as by the many talented graduates who have become associated with it.”
A photograph of Msgr. Liptak receiving the award was presented to him by members of the Association of Jeanne Jugan and a copy was presented to the Center and displayed to those in attendance, many of whom had been his students and who applauded both him and Sr. Liptak.
The opening prayer and welcome were delivered by Father Douglas Mosey, President-Rector of Holy Apostles College & Seminary.
Deacon Davis then presented a Redemptor Hominis Award to this year’s speaker, Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, OP, whose talk about when death occurs offered thought-provoking insight to the roomful of religious and lay attendees concerning the moral, religious, and medical challenges his research presents at the very cutting edge of new science. A question and answer session and reception followed.
Father Austriaco, a theologian and professor of biology at Providence College, joins a long list of eminent guest lecturers for the annual presentation by the Saint John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.