NEWARK-With just over two months left before the first-ever Catholic Men's Conference in the Archdiocese of Newark, those planning to attend are urged to register immediately.
Scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Essex County Richard J. Codey Arena (formerly South Mountain Arena), 560 Northfield Ave. in West Orange, the conference is open to males high school age and older (see The Catholic Advocate, Oct. 22, 2008).
On-line registration is recommended by going to www.rcan.org/menscommission. "Early-bird" registration runs through Feb. 28 at $25 per person; groups of five or more, $20; young adults, 14 to 23 years of age, $15 and Senior Citizens, 65 and older, also $15. Priests and Religious will be admitted free. Donations are welcome. Admission includes a continental breakfast and lunch. For additional information write to Catholic Men's Conference, P.O. Box 9500, Newark, N.J. 07104 or call (983) 497-4545. The fax number is (973) 497-4552. Those preferring to use email, the address is CatholicMen@rcan.org.
An integral part of the inaugural gathering will be concurrent English and Spanish segments. The day will include multicultural faith-based speakers, exhibits, an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, public adoration and music by Catholic Underground.
Registration, breakfast, confessions and fellowship will begin at 8 a.m., followed by music at 9:15 a.m. A segment that will also include confession, fellowship and exhibitors gets under way at 10:15 a.m. Lunch will be served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.-an hour block offering time for fellowship and a tour of exhibits. Confession will be held 12:30 to 1 p.m. and eucharistic adoration will be available the entire day.
Archbishop John J. Myers, a major proponent of the Men's Commission and upcoming conference, will celebrate Mass at 3 p.m. "Just as the apostles gathered in the Upper Room to comfort, console and strengthen each other," he wrote when introducing the Men's Commission and its goals, "I believe it is imperative that we, too, must seek opportunities to gather in worship as a community of men of faith, to pray for guidance and strength, and to develop avenues of good Christian fellowship so that we can be fathers, sons, uncles, friends and business associates who follow the words of Jesus to 'go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.'"
Commenting on the upcoming conference in a letter to Rev. Msgr. John E. Doran, Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia and Acting Chancellor, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, sent his "congratulations and well wishes" to those planning to attend the March 28 gathering. He noted too that "joining together in support of one another" in one 's "own personal discipleship" toward the Lord is "an occasion of great grace."
Taking to the podium at 2 p.m. will be keynote speaker NFL legend Danny Abramowicz, the host of the EWTN television program "Crossing the Goal," which uses a sports format to encourage men to get themselves into spiritual shape. Abramowicz is a former All-Pro wide receiver. He played for the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers and was a special team coach for the Chicago Bears and offensive coordinator for the 49ers.
Abramowicz has been involved with "Independent Isla," a playground program for the handicapped; Boy's Hope and the Louisiana Special Olympics. In addition to sitting on the board of EWTN, he is a member of the Catholic Foundation board of directors, the executive committee of the Archbishops' Annual Community Appeal, the National Catholic Men's Fellowship and works with the John Paul II Cultural Center.
Speakers in the English language segment include Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., author, psychologist, spiritual director and co-founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal headquartered in Newark. Born in Jersey City, Fr. Groeschel is director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Archdiocese of New York and adjunct professor at the Institute for Psychological Sciences in Arlington, VA. He is the author of more than 30 books and has recorded over 100 audio and video series in addition to appearing regularly on EWTN.