Rev. Aloysius Ochasi '11
Hometown: Meadowbrook, Pa. (via Nigeria)
Health Care Ethics, Class of 2011
As a child in his native Nigeria, Rev. Aloysius Ochasi, grew up watching his father whom he describes as a bit of a philanthropist, care for the sick by driving them to local hospital and paying their bills. His father’s care for the less privileged of the society was an inspiration that made Fr. Ochasi consider a vocation to the priesthood.
Now years later and continents away, Fr. Ochasi tends to the sick as a chaplain at Holy Redeemer Health System in Meadowbrook, Pa. Whether administering the sacraments or just comforting and listening to patients, each day brings new challenges and new experiences. The changing medical landscape brought Fr. Ochasi to the field of bioethics. He will graduate this May from Saint Joseph’s with a master’s degree in health care ethics.
“We live in an era where scientific and technological breakthroughs, especially in the field of medicine, are occurring at a pace that is supersonic,” Fr. Ochasi explains. “As these breakthroughs emerge, new ethical challenges and questions arise —making a deeper knowledge of bioethics imperative to me. Being well grounded in this interdisciplinary enterprise provides basic foundational principles that will help me deal with ethical issues as they arise. I want to be able to guide others as they make ‘right’ and ‘informed decisions’ on health care issues affecting them and their loved ones.”
Fr. Ochasi attended Seat of Wisdom major seminary in Nigeria where he studied philosophy and theology. Then he began his academic and pastoral “sojourn,” which brought him to the U.S in 2006. After completing a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in 2008, his growing interest in bioethics and the University’s Jesuit mission attracted him to SJU, which houses the Institute for Catholic Bioethics.
“Not only is Saint Joseph’s known for its academic excellence, but also for the formation of students, who will in turn help to shape their communities and the society at large,” Fr. Ochasi says.
Fr. Ochasi published an article in the Internet Journal of Catholic Bioethics last summer entitled, “Physician Assisted Suicide: A Review of Oregon Death With Dignity Act (ODDA).” He will publish again soon on “Mandatory Neonatal Male Circumcision in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Common Good: An Ethical Justification.”
Following graduation, Fr. Ochasi has his sights on obtaining a doctoral degree in bioethics and eventually returning to the classroom as a professor in Nigeria.
“It is my intention to champion the cause of bioethics in my diocese in Nigeria to benefit Catholic hospitals and the clergy,” he explains. “I also hope to introduce and teach bioethics in medical schools, helping students understand the ethical complexities associated with the medical profession.”