'Nourishing Faith' Looks to Fortify Forums in 2010
by Ward Miele, Managing Editor

AREA - Faithful from throughout the Archdiocese of Newark can experience a unique evening of faith, fellowship and spiritual inspiration while supporting the evangelization work of the men's and women's commissions by attending the firstever Nourishing Your Faith Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The fund-raising event, to be held at Nanina's in The Park, 540 Mill St., Belleville, will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit next year's Catholic Men's Conference and Women's Day of Reflection.

Tickets, priced at $250 per person with table sponsorship available at $2,500, are available through the archdiocesan Office of Development at (973) 497-4042.

The Men's Conference, which made its debut last March, will be held March 13, 2010, with the Women's Day of Reflection slated for March 20. Both Saturday events will gather at Seton Hall University, South Orange.

The featured speaker for the Nov. 11 dinner will be Kevin J. Seamus Hasson, chairman, president and founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Washington, D.C., which touts itself as a public-interest law firm protecting the free expression of religious traditions. Also taking the podium will be Major League Baseball umpire Philip Cuzzi, a member of Holy Family Parish, Nutley.

Stephen Doocy, co-host of the TV show "Fox and Friends," will serve as the master of ceremonies. Archbishop John J. Myers, a strong proponent of the work of the men's and women's commissions and honorary chairman of the dinner, also will attend.

Doocy, a lector at Saint Elizabeth's Parish, Wyckoff, is the bestselling author of "The Mr. and Mrs. Happy Handbook," a humorous account of marriage and family life. Hasson, also an author, penned "The Right to be Wrong: Ending the Culture War over Religion in America."

Deacon Joseph A. Dwyer Jr., archdiocesan Vice Chancellor for Administration and co-chairman of the Men's Conference, described the Nourishing Your Faith Dinner as a "springboard' to launch the March 13 gathering of men from all corners of the Church of Newark. He said that the Nov. 11 dinner is an additional opportunity for spiritual enrichment.

"We witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit at the first Men's Conference last March, when some 2,500 men gathered to worship the Lord in great fellowship," Jorge Repollet, director of marketing for the men's commission and the other co-chairman, commented. "As we embark on the second annual Men's Conference, we pray that the Holy Spirit will once again guide us. We ask for prayers and financial support of our brothers."

Pamela Muller Swartzberg, chairperson of the Women's Commission, said her organization looks forward to working with the Men's Commission in hosting the Nourishing Your Faith Dinner. Both commissions, she noted, "work to bring the teachings of the Catholic Church to the people of our archdiocese."

"The dinner is an opportunity to highlight aspects of our faith through the stories and testimony of our speakers, who are Catholics living their faith in the public arena," she said.

Co-chairs of the Nourishing Your Faith Dinner are Linda Graves and Robert Gillespie. In urging the faithful to attend, Gillespie said the dinner "will bring together friends and supporters from around the region for a great evening in support of the Church." Archbishop Myers, he pointed out, chose the dinner theme "to emphasize that it is all about strengthening the Church."

"I have been involved in the archdiocese and the Women's Commission for a number of years," Graves noted. "It is exciting to see this event come together and to know that the proceeds will provide the critical underwriting that is needed for these important faith initiatives, which help connect people more deeply with their faith."

Graves described Hasson as "one of the leading Catholic intellectuals on the role of the Church in modern society."

The Nov. 11 dinner will include a Silent Auction featuring such prizes as VIP tickets to the Yankees, Giants and Devils, a large flat-panel television, a tour of NBC's New York studios and tickets to TV show "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

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