On Call with Dr. Pepe
Making the Last Round
At the end of June, I will retire after 31 years at Catholic Medical Center. While CMC has accomplished much during this time, I am most proud of how we solidified our Catholicity. We committed ourselves to making decisions and acting in ways consistent with our mission, values and Catholic identity. In doing so, we empowered our employees to always do what is right for the patient and laid a strong foundation for our continued success.
One of the most visible ways we see our faith in action is through the Women’s Wellness & Fertility Center. When we launched this practice in 2017, it was the only facility in New England where the entire staff is wholly dedicated to NaProTECHNOLOGY. But there are many other ways that CMC’s Catholicity permeates our culture each day. We start every day with an email prayer and every meeting opens with either a prayer or a moment of reflection. We do a robust audit of our adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services and have enacted methods to monitor compliance in real time. This also extends to our relationship with our secular health care partners to avoid engaging in what is known as “morally illicit” cooperation. We get our direction from Manchester Bishop Peter A. Libasci. Additionally, we do not hesitate to seek advice from Catholic ethicists, the National Catholic Bioethics Center and other experts. No individual or institution is perfect; however, our journey on this path is strong and deliberate. I knew we were moving in the right direction when I had the honor of receiving the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award, the highest papal honor awarded to a layperson. The award actually belongs to CMC because it was the collective efforts of every employee that earned this distinction.
When it comes to saying goodbye, it’s common and healthy to feel a sense of loss. However, I leave CMC in great hands with Alex Walker, who will take over as President and CEO on July 1. Whenever there is an ending, there is also a beginning. Seizing the excitement and opportunities of that new beginning helps me accept that feeling of loss. Experiences (good or bad) – like the law of Conservation of Energy in physics – can never be destroyed. They become a part of you in the form of character, knowledge and wisdom that I believe remain in our souls forever. We all should be grateful to carry this wisdom within us as we move to the next phase of life (or death). Saying goodbye offers us an opportunity to realize just how blessed our lives have been.
“When our days there ended, we left and started on our journey, while they all, with wives and children, escorted us until we were out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.” (Acts 21:5)
Dr. Joseph Pepe is the president and CEO of CMC Healthcare System: Catholic Medical Center, New England Heart & Vascular Institute, and several subsidiaries. He and his wife reside in Manchester.