2024 Speakers

We are again in conversation with a number of great speakers for this 33rd year and have secured several to speak at our Retreat in September~

Here was our Line Up in 2023:

  • Justin Maria Cinnante, O. Carm. ; Leads a healing ministry at his parish in Tarrytown, NY, The Church of the Transfiguration. Also, Father Justin is the faith ministry chaplain at Iona Prep and Iona University. After he was ordained in 2007, Fr. Cinnante first served the Holy Rosary parish in the Bronx, and then he served the parish and high school ministry at St. Columba, Hopewell Junction, NY. He led retreats and parish missions and provided spiritual direction to his parishioners. Fr. Cinnante served as a diocesan priest for a decade before he felt the calling to the Carmelite order. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his respect for the spirituality of St. Therese of the Child of Jesus both led him to enter the Carmelite Order Novitiate in Middletown, New York, in 2016. Members of this order pray together twice a day, share meals every day, and recreate together.In addition to serving as part of the Carmelite order, Fr. Cinnante has always felt a calling to serve the youth of his community. Since the time he was ordained, he has volunteered every summer at Camp Veritas in Newburg, New York, operated by the Archdiocese of New York and the Franciscan Friars and the Sisters of Renewal. He taught and served as the campus minister at Archbishop Stepinac High School from 2012 to 2015. Presently (since 2018) he has served as the school chaplain at Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle. In 2020, Fr. Cinnante took his final vows at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown, New York.
  • Jose Coronado, Accountant and a communicant at St. Patrick’s parish in Yorktown Heights, NY.
  • Luis Delahoz, IBM Industry Client Leader, Media and Entertainment leads a cross-functional team of sales and technical professionals in managing the IBM relationship with key strategic client in order to drive revenue growth in strategic areas to digitally reinvent their business. Prior to his current assignment, Luis served as the North America Business Unit Executive for Pub Sector Growth Initiative Solutions, where he and his team were responsible for assisting clients in their business transformation journey and driving IBM’s growth in these areas. Luis served in IBM’s Education Strategy Task Force, and IBM’s Smarter Care Steering Committee. Luis possesses over 20 years of management experience within the Wireless Telecommunications, Healthcare, Business Intelligence, and Information Technologies industries in the US, Japan, Korean, and Latin American markets. Prior to re-joining IBM Luis served as President and CEO of TWS International, a wireless infrastructure services company, and in senior management capacities at The NPD Group, ClientSoft, TOC Global Communications, and most recently at Pro Logic Systems. Luis received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Miami. He is certified in Lean Six Sigma, Business Process Management, and SOA Solution Design.  Luis lives in Alexandria, VA, is married to his high school sweetheart, Iliana for 43 years. He has two daughters, Jennifer and Veronica, and is a proud grandfather to Mila, Sienna, Max, and Ellis.
  • Naomi Brickel, mom of six children (one in heaven), New Rochelle, NY native, author of Not to Spoil the Ending. An active parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Pelham; she’s spent her career advocating and working towards the recognition of the intrinsic human dignity of people with disabilities, and she is a nationally recognized expert on youth and family engagement. She is currently leading NYS’ initiative (within a worldwide movement) to develop a statewide infrastructure for a legally recognizable alternative to guardianship that promotes and maintains the individual decision-making capacity and personal recognition of people with developmental disabilities and autism before the law. Naomi is the author of an inspirational memoir, Not to Spoil the Ending… but everything is going to be ok, that chronicles her journey after losing her son Adam tragically when he was 15, incorporating lessons from his inspiring life. Naomi’s story is one of resilience and hope, and an inspiring example of the discovery, through faith, that happiness is not something that happens to us, but something that we find right within ourselves and can inspire in others. Her example teaches us that even in the darkest times, there is light and hope, and that life is precious, beautiful, and filled with joy – if we can only learn where to look and focus our attention.
  • Edward J. McEneney, Edward’s life mission has been to help people figure out how to connect themselves to work.  He is a font of optimism for those in need of support and guidance through that process.  And while he will give you constant encouragement, you will never feel patronized. You can rely on him to give you an honest appraisal – to let you know what you do well, while being clear about areas that need improving. He also follows through with tools that enable you to become the best qualified candidate in your field, while providing you with the will and courage to move forward.  Ed teaches through example, demonstrating the importance of maintaining confidence, being fair and keeping an open mind.  He is an ethical man whose beliefs are reflected in his words and actions.  “Your integrity,” he is fond of saying, “will be remembered longer than your product.”Ed is currently an independent career consultant, (including pro-bono work).  Prior to going solo, he worked as a Senior Consultant with LHH for 13 years, guiding candidates from outplacement through successful job search.  He did this after a 25-year sales career with IBM.  His commitment to helping people find purpose has extended beyond his work career. In 1989 he started the Employment Assistance Resource Network (EARN), based in St. Patrick’s Parish in Yorktown Heights, NY.  This was followed up by and The Job Search Work Team (JSWT) in 2011. He was also one of the founders of the Manhattan College Businessmen’s Reality Retreat.  Its annual weekend gathering has blessed over 1500 alumni, family and friends over the last 32 years. And since 2008 Ed has been a member of Emmaus Men’s Ministry (EMM) at St. Patrick’s. Ed is a graduate of St. Barnabas Grammar School, Cardinal Hayes High School and Manhattan College, (BBA), all located in the Bronx, NY. He is also a member of the Board of Governors, Veterans of the Seventh Regiment of N.Y. Ed and his wife Barbara currently reside in Tarrytown, NY, where they are active members of The Church of The Transfiguration. They enjoy spending time with their blended family, which includes 6 children and 9 grandchildren.

The speakers will share their personal witness stories and inspire us to see how God is working in our lives.  As always, we look forward to the lively and insightful small group conversations after each speaker’s talk.

Please check back with us after we receive their biographies and post them to the site.

2022 Speakers

 Great speakers for year 2022~

Christopher DalCeredo –a cradle Catholic and parishioner of St. Patrick’s in Yorktown Heights for over 20 years.  He is a tenor and bass player in the choir as well as a table leader for Emmaus Men’s Ministry.  Chris and his beautiful wife Pauline have been married 28 years and were participants in Bible Study groups as well as presenters in Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Cursillo weekends.  Chris and Pauline have two adult children who are also musicians and singers in the church choir. Chris is a Graduate of Albany State University and Rutgers/UMDNJ Physical Therapy Program and is currently the Director of the Orthopedic/Amputee Program at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains where he has worked for 25 years.

Anthony Vuong –Born in Vietnam to a Catholic family; he came to the US at the end of the Vietnam war as refugee.  Educated by the Catholic school system in Vietnam and in the US; he attended NYU and dental school in NYC, and established a private dental practice in NYC, now spanning 30 years. He is married to Lela and they have one daughter, Melody, which he home schooled.  Anthony began his religious life and devotion to Jesus Christ more than 25 years ago, through the reading of ancient philosophers and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.  His two uncles, a Cistercian Monk and a Franciscan Friar, greatly influenced him.  He is a Member of the St Joseph Parish, in Palisade in West New York, NJ where he teaches the Youth Confirmation Group.   As God’s servant his future spiritual mission is to bring the love and good news of Jesus Christ to all people through teaching the Gospel, and providing practicable modern dental technology to dentists in poor countries.

Patricia McCarthyCongregation of Notre Damea member of the Congregation of Notre Dame. She has been an educator for over 50 years in various settings, primarily with the poor. She has taught in Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, and Illinois in the United States. As an advocate for peace and nonviolence she has given parish missions, workshops, retreats and talks in the United States, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Japan, Ireland, North Ireland, Bosnia, Croatia and South Africa. She has administered the largest residential school in Massachusetts for emotionally disturbed children.  Recently she served as Congregation leader for the United States Province of her Congregation. Currently she is teaching math in a Catholic school in Waterbury, CT. She had published five books, four with The Liturgical Press and one with The Paulist Press.

Fr. Randy Soto, SThD , born in San José,Costa Rica and became an American citizen in 2017. In 1986, he earned a Bachelor’s in Philosophy at the Seminario Central of San José and a MA in Theology at Saint Joseph’s Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York (Class of 1991).  He obtained a Licentiate in Biblical Theology in 1996, as well as his Doctorate in Biblical Theology in 2003.Fr. Soto has been a professor of Sacred Scripture and Biblical Languages at the Pontifical North American College for the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome (2017- 2022). He has also served as a parish priest, as a professor of Old and New Testament at the Universidad Católica of Costa Rica and the Seminario Central de San José, Costa Rica (1996-2000 and 2003-2004), as Director  of Faith Enculturation and Censor Librorum in the Archdiocese of San José (2003-2004), as Professor for  Rensselaer College in the Permanent Diaconate Program of Lafayette- in-Indiana (2004-2006), as Censor Librorum, Formator and Professor of New Testament and Biblical Languages at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO (2005-2009 and 2011-2017). He is now a Spiritual Director at St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, NY. as well as Professor of Sacred Theology and Holy Scriptures. Fr. Soto is also a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

Fr. Emiel Abalahin O. Carm. entered the Carmelite Order in 2000. He received his MA in Theology from Seton Hall University, and also completed a certificate in Carmelite Spirituality from the Washington Theological Union. A man with nowhere to lay his head, FrEmiel is a Westerner transplanted to the East and a Southerner transplanted East, but has lived and worked in various parts of the world.  Prior to entering into religious life as a Carmelite, he worked as a contractor for the US Government. Fr. Emiel was formerly Pastor of Transfiguration Parish ,Tarrytown, N.Y and currently a Priest-in-residence, St. Simon Stock Church, The Bronx, N.Y. and is enrolled in Fordham University advanced degree in Theology.


                             2021 Speakers:

We had five great speakers who joined us, see their brief  biography below:

Robert (Bob) Baughman is a Sr. Director, Global Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA. of St. Mary Catholic Church in Ridgefield, CT where Bob is active in St. Mary’s Mens Ministry and parish Hospitality. Over the years the parish activities have included numerous ministries and faith-based programs, including Bible Study (Great Adventure), Life Teen (Virtus trained), and Disciples 4 Life retreat (Rector).

Deacon Paul Brisson attended Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan and received a bachelor’s degree from Iona College. He obtained his master’s in technology management from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.  In 1999, he and his wife, Joan, became parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Pelham Manor, now Our Ladyof Perpetual Help and St. Catharine, Pelham Manor, NY.

Fr. Dennis Arambasick, OFM is a member of the Mount Alvernia Retreat Team. He entered the Army during the Vietnam War. After the army, He worked in a GM subsidiary, Packard Electric for four years. Then in 1978 he entered the Lithuanian Province of St. Casimir in Kennebuckport, Maine. Five years of seminary formation was completed in Cromwell, Connecticut. He was ordained in May of 1985, spent two years of Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University in western New York. He spent several years of pastoral ministry at St. Joseph’s in Winsted, CT.

Doug FitzMorris is a graduate of St. Anthony’s High School, LeMoyne College and Brooklyn Law School. Doug and Marion are married 33 years, and together have raised 4 children. Doug began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Westchester County. After 12 years in public service, Doug embarked on a career in the private sector as a trial lawyer, where his focus was the defense of doctors and hospitals in malpractice litigation.  Doug, ordained a Deacon in the Archdiocese of NY., and Marion belong to St. Patrick’s parish in Yorktown Heights, Doug lived his Cursillo weekend in 2014, and currently serves as Chairperson for the Cursillo School of Leaders for the New York Archdiocese.

Fr. Anthony Domenic Sorgie, Pastor of the Parish of Immaculate Conception & Assumption of Our Lady in Tuckahoe NY, since July 2015, as well as Holy Mount Cemetery, and ICS Regional Catholic Elementary School with 16 acres on three Campuses and 11 buildings. (See 2020 Speakers)

[Please also See Our 2020 Virtual Mini-Retreat Speakers below…]

Joseph Quinn was a Dynamic Parish Consultant. Dynamic Parish  helps facilitate the transformation of individual parishioners and parishes to re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism.
Eventually, he heard a call to “Come and work for Me … in my garden.” So, Joe set out to find a job working for the Lord. He is now evangelizing and working with several parishes in New York, New Orleans and Detroit to make them more fruitful.  Joe will come share his journey and what he learned as the answer to that question at our retreat in September.

Fr. Anthony Domenic Sorgie

Fr. Anthony Domenic Sorgie was born into a family of Italian Immigrants and was raised in the Pelham Bay Area of the North East Bronx.  Baptized at the Italian National Parish Shrine of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, he attended St. Theresa Grammar School with the Sparkhill Dominican Nuns and Cardinal Hayes High School.  The wonderful Diocesan Priests that served at St. Theresa influenced his decision to be a priest. His father, Nunzio, passed away in 2003 at 89 and his mother Maria Lisette Provenzano passed away in 2010 at 94. His brother Charlie and sister-in-law Ursula retired to Florida.
Fr. Sorgie entered Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception in Douglaston Queens and then St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, Yonkers NY.  He was ordained a priest on November 6, 1982.  He served at St. Boniface Church in Wesley Hills New York while pursuing a Doctorate in Music and Education at Columbia University.  In 1986, he was placed on the Faculty of St. Joseph’s Seminary where he taught until 2000.  In 1987 he spent a semester at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and subsequently at the Pontificio Musica Sacra in Roma. During his time at Dunwoodie Fr. Sorgie taught Music, Liturgy, and Homiletics and was in administration as Dean of Admissions and Academics, and finally as Vice Rector, when he was transferred in 2000.
 Cardinal Dolan appointed him Pastor of the New Parish of Immaculate Conception & Assumption of Our Lady July 2015 with two Churches, Holy Mount Cemetery, ICS Regional Catholic Elementary Schools with 16 acres on three Campuses and 11 buildings.  The parish is busy, vibrant and a very active Catholic Community.

Clergy Who Guided the Retreat Team for Many Years:

Msgr. Dermot Brennan –In Memoriam

Msgr. Dermot R. Brennan, passed into Eternal Life, April 18, 2021. He was 90.

Born in New York City in 1930, Msgr. Dermot Brennan attended Corpus Christi Parochial School, Cathedral College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie and was ordained in 1956. His ministry has included teaching for 12 years in archdiocesan high schools, 12 years as an assistant pastor and 25 years as a pastor, 5 at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Mt. Vernon, NY and 20 at St. Patrick’s Parish in Yorktown Heights, NY. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, conducted the music for the Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium in 1979, and has authored a book on using visuals in children’s homilies and performs Magic as a hobby. Furthermore, as the result of many years of active ministry, he authored in 2009, Your Parish Priest and Man of Mystery offering answers to the mystery on what do priests do from Monday to Saturday each week on two levels: (1) the sacramental, ritual, teaching ministries and prayer life and (2) counseling, consoling, preaching, visiting the sick and homebound, caring for the poor and the elderly, challenging the youth of the parish, evangelizing the unchurched, overseeing the parish and school maintenance and upkeep, among other pastoral things; concluding that the life of the parish priest is very fulfilling indeed, thanks to the grace of God, the presence of Christ, and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

A Parish Vigil Mass was offered April 27 at St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown Heights. Auxiliary Bishop Peter Byrne was the principal celebrant, and Father Louis Jerome, pastor of St. Charles on Staten Island, delivered the homily. A Funeral Mass was offered April 28 in St. Patrick’s Church. Cardinal Dolan was the principal celebrant, and Father Joseph McLafferty, pastor of St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary on Staten Island, delivered the homily.

Last year, a surprise birthday car parade was held May 22 for Msgr. Brennan, who turned 90 that day. Approximately 150 cars joined the afternoon caravan in Yorktown Heights. Parade participants, observing Covid-19 protocols, came from St. Patrick’s and other area parishes where Msgr. Brennan had served.

“He was a great priest, full of enthusiasm and energy,” Father Jerome, who knew Msgr. Brennan for almost 40 years and served under him as parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s, Yorktown Heights, 1994-2001.

The Manhattan Retreat Team joins in the voices of praise for Monsignor; while he is not here with us, he is very much with us in spirit: guiding, cajoling and mentoring us, now and always!

A Tribute to Msgr. Dermot Brennan by David Dziena

 I would like to express my prayers sympathy and support to the Archdiocese of NY regarding the passing of Msgr. Brennan, pastor emeritus of St. Patrick’s in Yorktown Heights, NY. He was always there for my family through good times and bad. It is a tough loss for the archdiocese and for me personally.

Monsignor was a dear friend, mentor, and role model. He was known as a “priest’s priest”. If you didn’t know him personally, or only saw him at Mass, you may not have known how compassionate and caring he was. Monsignor brought St. Patrick’s parish out of debt and did a lot of good for many people. He also was an advocate for women in the church and never felt threatened to give laypeople a place at the table. Through Al-Anon and other support groups, he helped families dealing with the pain of drug and alcohol addiction.

In the late 1980s he worked with parishioners to establish a sister parish in Nicaragua. He fought to keep religious symbols on public display during the holidays. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and was outspoken on pro-life issues. He ministered faithfully to area nursing homes and worked tirelessly at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women as well as Camp Marist in New Hampshire, where he spent many summer vacations.

This past year I have been working with him on a revision and update to his book “Homilies Kids Can See”, a book for priests, deacons and catechists about teaching Bible messages to children using visual aids. I am honored to complete it as a memorial to his tireless work.

When he would hear people say “I’m doing fine, and that’s better than the alternative” he would never hesitate to say that the “alternative” is his goal and should be ours too.

Current Chaplain:

Fr. Thomas Franks OFM Cap.

Fr. Thomas Franks, OFM Cap., is the current Manhattan College chaplain.  As chaplain, he provides direction, guidance and pastoral care for the liturgical, sacramental and spiritual life of the College campus community. He had been the pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of Holy Cross and Saint John the Baptist in midtown Manhattan. Prior to the merger of the two churches, he was pastor of Saint John the Baptist from 2011-15 and was parochial vicar from 2008-11. Furthermore, Fr. Franks was a missionary of mercy during the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, with faculties conferred by Pope Francis. Since 2012, he has been the deputy chief chaplain of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. He also has served as a rector at the Shrine of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina and has been a pilgrimage chaplain on trips to Italy, Germany and the Holy Land.

Fr. Franks received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy from Fordham University in 2003, when he graduated summa cum laude and was the class valedictorian. He earned his Master of Divinity in sacramental theology from Weston Jesuit School of Theology. He entered the Capuchin order in 1998 and was ordained into the priesthood in 2008.