2o19 Speakers


Father Emiel Abalahin,  

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. An alumnus of the Pontifical Gregorian University, he returned for further studies and is currently completing his doctorate in spirituality. Prior to entering into religious life as a Carmelite, he worked as a contractor for the US Government. He is currently Pastor of Transfiguration Parish, Tarrytown, NY, served by the Carmelite Friars.


Richard Wolff

Richard Wolff is a retired V.P. from ExxonMobil; and a graduate of USMA at West Point, NY.  After graduation from West Point, Richard served as an engineer officer in the 101st Airborne Division and as company commander in the 3rd Engineer Brigade. Upon leaving the Army, he joined Mobil Oil Corporation in the Marketing & Refining Division and progressed through positions of increasing responsibility in regional operations, leading Mobil’s Y2K remediation and compliance; and then, with the merger of Exxon and Mobil, taking leadership positions in IT among Mobil’s operations in the U.S., South America and Asia Pacific; culminating in a tenure as CIO of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. He subsequently moved to the Global Real Estate & Facilities Division as its International Manager for facility operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. His final assignment was as Vice President and Managing Director of ExxonMobil Environmental Services and Global Manager of Environmental Services where he was responsible for all aspects of remediation-related activities, risk assessment, land reuse protocols, soil and ground water liability, claims litigation and other Public affairs strategies worldwide. In addition to Richard’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering from West Point, he also obtained a Master of Business Administration, and is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Finally settling his family in the Westchester County, NY area with his wife of 43 years, former Kathleen Ryan, he is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, Lector, parishioner of St. Patrick’s Church -Yorktown, NY and member of its Pastoral Council. He is also a member of the parishes Emmaus Men’s Journey, a small-men’s group study and table discussion program that focuses on Sunday Mass readings; centering on an introductory reflection on some aspect of the readings or personal spirituality; and related questions designed to engage the heart and stimulate group discussion.

On retirement from ExxonMobil, he enjoys time with his family, two grown children and four grandchildren.

Deacon Steven F. Minninger, Sr.

Steven F. Minninger, Sr. is a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of Fall River and serves at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis, Massachusetts. He is also founder and principal for Minninger Financial Services. Deacon Steven was ordained in 2007, and while he has enjoyed over forty years in business as a Financial Planner, among his many pastoral activities he is a Cursillo and ECHO Team member; Spiritual Advisor to Society of St Vincent de Paul Conference at Holy Trinity Parish and Cape Cod Director of CALIX Society for Catholics in Recovery. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and very involved in the pro-life movement as a member of the Deacons For Life; Chaplain to Cape Cod Chapter of Mass Citizens For Life, and further engaged as the Chaplain to the Cape Cod Bus For Life- attending the Annual March in Washington, D.C. for over 10 years.

Finally, among his other service engagements, he was a six term member of the Town of Orleans, MA., Finance Committee; Charter Member of the Planned Giving Council of Cape Cod; and proudly served the country in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers as Platoon Leader and Company XO, at Ft. Lewis military facility located south-southwest of Tacoma, Washington.

Sean Flanagan

Sean Flanagan was born in Ireland, emigrating to the United States in 1956 at the age of 23.  His wife to be, Marjorie, joined him a year later. They married in 1958 during his two-years of service in the US Army.  They are blessed with 6 children and 30 grandchildren.  On their 50th wedding anniversary, they took the entire clan – all 44 – on a tour of Ireland and renewed their wedding vows in their old Parish Church.  They recently celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2018.

Sean has been involved in Pro-Life cause for 40 years, serving on the board of NJ Right to Life for over 20 years. He currently serves on the boards of Legal Center for Defense of Life, Catholic Radio/Domestic Church Media, Good Counsel Homes, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School.

Sean is a founding member of the Catholic men’s Marian Apostolate called the Consecrated Knights of the Mid-Atlantic Militia of the Immaculata, a worldwide evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 encouraging total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.

Now semi-retired, Sean had been an automobile dealer in NJ for 53 years. In partnership with his sons, they own and operate three dealerships.  His Volvo dealership, Smythe Volvo Cars, has been one of the top-ten in the North American market for many years.

Robert V. Thomann, D. Min., PhD

Robert V. Thomann, D. Min., PhD is a Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ. He and his wife Joan minister in the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Ridgewood, NJ where they also walk in the First Community of the Neocatechumenal Way. He holds a Doctor of Ministry from Fordham University, a Master’s in Systematic Theology from Seton Hall University, a Ph.D. in Oceanography from New York University, a Master’s in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from NYU and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College (1956). He was Assistant Director of Administration for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Newark and has taught in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam and in the diaconate programs of the Dioceses of Newark and Paterson, New Jersey. Previous assignments included Director of the RCIA for his parish for almost two decades. He previously held a position of Associate Director for Deacon Formation for the Archdiocese for 7 years. As an Environmental Engineer and Scientist, he taught at Manhattan College for 30 years where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Environmental Engineering and Science. He was widely published in the field including a best-selling textbook on Water Quality Modeling. He is an Emeritus member of the National Academy of Engineering. His recent publications include the books, “A Hemorrhaging Church,Evangelization and the Neocatechumenal Way” and “Environmental Fear or Christian Environmental Love”(Amazon) and papers in Crisis Magazine and Homiletic and Pastoral Review.


Clergy Joining the Retreat Team:

Msgr. Dermot Brennan

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.

He is currently retired from parish administration but is still very active in priestly ministry.

Fr. John Michael Lee

A native of Toronto, Canada, He has preached across Canada, the USA, and Jamaica West Indies.Fr. John holds a BA, from the Passionist Monastic Seminary,; a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto; an M.A. from St. John’s University, a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Michael’s College and a Certificate of Theological Studies from The Institute for Spirituality and Worship at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. His ministry included youth outreach in parishes and schools, parish and retreat leadership, social justice advocacy, and adult education.Fr. John has been the Retreat Director at Bishop Molloy Retreat House since October 1, 2008.

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.