Local Health Care Professionals Honored for Volunteer Service

Sunday, March 6, 2016                 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three local health care providers and two archdiocesan priests were recognized for their outstanding volunteer service and tireless efforts in serving the community’s healthcare needs at the luncheon following the 25th annual Rose Mass.

The Rose Mass, held on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (known as Laetare Sunday) each year and is organized to invoke God’s blessings on the medical, dental, nursing and allied healthcare workers and the many health care institutions in the Archdiocese of Wash­ington. The Mass and luncheon provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the splendid work of the volunteers of the Catholic Charities Health Care Network, originally founded as the Archdiocesan Health Care Network in 1984. This network is composed of volunteer health care workers from all religions, infused with an ecumenical spirit in their care of the sick. This much needed program provides millions of dollars in free outpatient services to thousands of people in need through the generosity of volunteer nurses, doctors, dentists and podiatrists and area hospitals.

The awards are given each year by the John Carroll Society, a Washington area organization that provides spiritual, intellectual, charitable and social opportunities for Catholic professionals and business men and women in service to the Archbishop of Washington. This year’s honorees are:

Pro Bono Health Care Awardees

Gaurav Bandi, M.D.
Dr.  Bandi presently serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Urology at Medstar Georgetown Hospital. Dr. Bandi earned his medical degree from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Indore, MP, India. He completed internships in both internal medicine at Robert Wood Johnson and general surgery at Detroit Medical Center before beginning urology residency at Detroit Medical Center. He then went on to complete a fellowship in laparoscopic, robotic and endoscopic urology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is the author of more than 35 peer-reviewed publications and five book chapters. In addition to his professional achievements, Dr. Bandi has been a community advocate in India and the United States. His past work includes childhood polio immunization efforts, HIV counseling and community AIDS awareness, and provision of free urologic operations. He continues this tradition of community service at Georgetown. He notes that public service and humility were integral to his upbringing. He comes from a family of doctors, including his grandfather, parents, uncles, siblings and their spouses, all with a commitment to public service.

Donald O’Kieffe, M.D.
Dr. O’Kieffe was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Havana, Cuba. He received B.A. and M.D. degrees from Yale University. He arrived in Washington, D.C. in 1966 during the military build-up for the Vietnam War when he was drafted and assigned to Walter Reed General Hospital. While Dr. O’Kieffe was at Walter Reed, fiber-optic endoscopy was introduced to the medical world and he immediately became fascinated by its clinical applications and changed his specialty interest from cardiology to gastroenterology. He left Walter Reed in 1972 to join the local private GI practice of Dr. Howard Ticktin and Dr. Nelson Trujillo. With time, the original three-doctor practice evolved into one of the country’s largest single specialty GI practices, Capital Digestive Care. Dr. O’Kieffe carried out the area’s first colonoscopy in 1972 and over the ensuing years has continued to be at the forefront of promoting colon cancer screening. Over the course of his career, he has been a consultant to the White House, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of State and the Peace Corps. He has been a delegate to the American Medical Association for 20 years. He has served on the Governing Boards of area schools as well as national gastrointestinal organizations. He is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at George Washington University Hospital. For years he has provided pro bono GI consultative services for Catholic Charities. He is married and has three children and six grandchildren.

OrthoBethesda Therapy Services
Founded in 2005 by the partners of the OrthoBethesda group, Dr. J. Patrick Caulfield, Dr. Edward Bieber, Dr. Kurt Schluntz, and Dr. Andre Gazdag, OrthoBethesda Therapy Services provides rehabilitation for post-operative patients. Services provided gradually expanded to physical therapy for non-operative patients, occupational therapy, hand therapy, kinesio taping, and dry needling. OrthoBethesda Therapy Services is a diverse group of clinicians: thirteen physical therapists, two occupational therapists and four physical therapist assistants, who work closely with the OrthoBethesda physicians, particularly with their post-operative patients, to assure that the patients are gaining the best functional outcome possible after a surgical intervention. OrthoBethesda physicians have been dedicated to providing orthopaedic care to the underserved for many years and the therapists of the group likewise have provided pro bono therapy sessions to these patients. In 2015 OrthoBethesda Therapy Services provided over one hundred therapy sessions through the Catholic Charities Healthcare Network.

Msgr. Harry A. Echle Award for Outstanding Service in Health Care Ministry

Rev. C. Gregory Butta
Reverend Butta was born in Herrin, IL to Charles and Florence Butta. His father owned a meat-packing company and his Irish mother raised Charles, his brother, and sister in the Catholic faith in Belleville, IL. Fr. Butta obtained a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Maryland in 1972 and worked as family therapist, social worker, and college professor. In 1985 he obtained a doctorate in counseling and student administration from American University and discerned his vocation to the priesthood. In 1991, Fr. Butta graduated from Rome’s Pontifical North American College. Because his father was severely ill, Cardinal Hickey travelled to Belleville, IL to ordain Fr. Butta to the priesthood. In a touching ceremony, the Cardinal personally thanked Fr. Butta’s parents and told them, “You have given Washington a very precious gift.” Fr. Butta has faithfully served the Archdiocese of Washington since 1991, when he was first trained in health care ministry by Monsignor Harry Echle and Sibley Hospital’s Priest Chaplaincy Program. He learned from Monsignor the availability and constancy required in priestly ministry to the sick, especially the frail and the elderly. In 2014, Fr. Butta was appointed Director of the Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle Residence. At the O’Boyle Residence, independent health care and nursing-rehabilitation services are provided to thirteen elderly retired priests.

2014 James Cardinal Hickey Lifetime Service Award

Rev. Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi, Chaplain, John Carroll Society
Monsignor Peter Vaghi was born in Washington, D.C. to Joseph and Agnes Vaghi.  He graduated from Gonzaga College High School and the College of the Holy Cross. He was then a Fulbright Scholar in Salzburg Austria before attending the University of Virginia Law School. After graduating from UVA, he clerked for Judge George Gallagher, served as an associate at Sidley and Austin LLC, and then as a Legal Consultant for Senator Pete Domenici. He received his Bachelor and Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a Priest by Cardinal James Hickey in 1985, and was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul II in 1995. He was as an Associate Pastor at St. Ann’s Church in Tenleytown and St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Washington. He was Pastor at St. Patrick’s Church from 1995-2004. Since 2004 he has served as the Pastor at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda. Monsignor Vaghi is the author of five books on Catholic theology as well as numerous articles in Catholic and lay publications. He serves on the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America, the St. Luke’s Institute, the Catholic Charities Health Care Network, and is a Founding Member of the Catholic Charities Legal Network. Twenty-five years ago, together with past Cardinal Hickey Lifetime Service Award winners, Dr. Edmund Pellegrino and Dr. John Harvey, Monsignor Vaghi founded the Rose Mass and has been instrumental in making it the vibrant celebration it is today.

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The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
[email protected]