Men’s Day of Prayer at the Franciscan Friars of Renewal’s Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, NJ

The courtyard at the Newark Friary

The courtyard at the Newark Friary

On Saturday morning, October 18, I was blessed to attend a Men’s Day of Prayer at the Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, NJ.  The Friary was originally a cloistered monastery for Dominican Nuns.  The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal took over the monastery a little over 10 years ago; and have been doing much work to update and upkeep it.  The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal was founded in 1987 by a few Capuchin priest friars, including the late Benedict Groeschel, Stan Fortuna, Glenn Sudano, and Andrew Apostoli.

This was my first time attending Men’s Day at the Friary, and I pray it will not be my last.  The Friars put together an amazing day of prayer, brotherhood, fellowship, and food.  The day started with a very large breakfast spread of bagels, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, etc.  After breakfast we filed into the Friary’s chapel for morning prayer and music.  The chapel has both a public side and a cloistered side, though the grille has since been removed.  We were allowed and encouraged to sit on either side.  The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are known for their musical abilities.  The music throughout the entire day was par excellence.

The "public" side of the chapel at Most Blessed Sacrament Friary

The “public” side of the chapel at Most Blessed Sacrament Friary

The day’s speaker was Damon Owens, who is the Executive Director of the Theology of the Body Institute.  Mr. Owens gave a number of talks throughout the morning and afternoon.  His talks ranged from how to be a better husband and father to sex and original sin.  Mr. Owens certainly knows his material.  He was an engaging speaker.  He had my attention throughout.  I definitely want to read more on Theology of the Body.  It really is an interesting and very pertinent topic, especially in our day and age of “free love”, promiscuity, multiple partners, etc.

We were also blessed to have Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark Bernard Hebda celebrate Holy Mass.  Any opportunity we have to go to Holy Mass and to receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, we are truly doing ourselves a favor.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our Roman Catholic Faith.  Archbishop Hebda gave an excellent homily on St. Luke the Evangelist, whose feast day is celebrated on October 18.  He explained how St. Luke was writing for the Gentiles; and that we are called to be evangelists in our lives.

In between talks, fellowship, and a delicious catered lunch, we were welcomed to explore the grounds of the Friary.  Father Benedict Groeschel, the recently deceased founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, is buried in a crypt in the Friary’s catacombs.  The priest friars also offered confession throughout the day.  Confession, I truly believe, is one of the most under utilized sacraments.  We are given a chance to wipe the slate of sin clean; and yet all too often we neglect this sacrament.  I don’t get it.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel's crypt is located in the friary's catacombs

Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s crypt is located in the friary’s catacombs

At the end of the day, we participated in Evening Prayer and Holy Hour, which included musically led adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  Being able to spend some time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was the absolute perfect and appropriate way to end a day I will not soon forget.  I highly recommend all the men out there to attend next year’s Men’s Day of Prayer.

Follow these links for more information:

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
Newark Friary
Damon Owens

Pax et bonum,
Anthony “Tony Mangia” Scillia


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