2023 Speakers

We are again in conversation with a number of great speakers for this 32nd year and have secured several to speak at our Retreat in September~

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

2022 Speakers

We are in conversation with a number of great speakers for this year~

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.

                          Check back with our site for updates! 

                             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 Lady of 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 


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 Guiding the Retreat Team:

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.

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.