Under the auspices of the new archdiocesan Catholic Men's Commission, the conference is slated to take place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at the Essex County Richard J. Codey Arena (formerly known as South Mountain Arena), 560 Northfield Ave., West Orange. In addition to a Mass celebrated by Archbishop John J. Myers-a major proponent of the Catholic Men's Commission and upcoming conference-the tentative program includes multicultural, faithbased speakers, exhibits, workshops and fellowship, daylong eucharistic adoration and the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The theme of the event is "Fueled by Faith, United in Christ Our Hope." The conference will feature a Spanish-speaking segment and spiritually oriented music from bands such as Catholic Underground. The all-day conference is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast.
"It is my hope that, through participation in the Catholic Men's Commission and a day of fellowship, men throughout the Church of Newark will experience a new perspective on their personal discipleship and journey toward Christ and, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, experience a heart burning within them as they encounter Jesus in a special way." Archbishop Myers said, urging participation in the event.
The conference is designed for those from high school age and older. The proposed cost for registration will be no more than $25 and free-will donations will be accepted.
Confirmed to speak at the conference is former New York Jet great Joe Klecko of Catholic Athletes for Christ, who recently addressed the Class of 2008 as a keynote speaker at Caldwell College (see The Catholic Advocate, June 4). The only player in NFL history to be named All- Pro at three different positions, Klecko, along with his wife Debbie and their five children are parishioners of Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Freehold. Klecko is also a member of the local Knights of Columbus.
Deacon Joseph A. Dwyer Jr., Vice Chancellor for Administration for the Archdiocese of Newark, and Jorge Repollet, director of cemetery services for the archdiocesan Catholic Cemeteries office, serve as conference cochairmen. Both are residents of Nutley. Deacon Dwyer noted that, at the direction of Archbishop Myers, a steering-committee review was done to weigh programs in other dioceses that were successful in meeting the spiritual needs of men. "We realized here in the Archdiocese of Newark that a need exists and this conference will address that need," Deacon Dwyer said. "I am excited about it. It will be a spiritually uplifting day."
"I feel honored to be part of such an important ministerial event," Repollet said, reflecting on plans being hatched by the commission. "The conference is an excellent opportunity to evangelize to all of the men in the Archdiocese of Newark, create fellowship, reach out to those who have been away from the Church and to strengthen leadership roles for those who already minister in the Church."
Repollet described the Essex County Richard J. Cody Arena as centrally located in the archdiocese with ample public transportation and on-site parking. The facility is also handicapped accessible.
Additional details on the conference and the commission will be published in upcoming editions of The Catholic Advocate. Information on obtaining "Save the Date" postcards are also available via the Internet at www.rcan.org/menscommission or by calling (973) 497-4545.