Parishes of West Essex Announce 2019 Faith Quest Lenten Speaker Series 

The 2019 annual Lenten adult spirituality program, Faith Quest, will be held Wednesday evenings March 20, March 27, April 3 and April 10 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Notre Dame Church at 359 Central Avenue in North Caldwell.  


The program is open to the public and the three speaker topic areas focus on:  Prayer and Spirituality, Sacred Scripture, and Faith in Practice.   


Wednesday, March 20 

Prayer and Spirituality – “The Conversion of St. Monica: The Other Story in Augustine’s Confessions” by Father Douglas J. Milewski, professor of theology, Seton Hall University.  Among Father Milewski’s areas of expertise are the Fathers of the Church and the theology and history of early Christianity. Father also serves at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Roseland. 



Sacred Scripture – “The Women in Jesus’ Life” with Sister Honora Werner, O.P., a Sister of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. Sister Honora has taught extensively from the elementary school to doctoral level and most recently she taught and directed the doctoral program in preaching at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri. 


Faith in Practice – “How to be a Peacemaker: In Society, In the Church, in My Heart” by Father Timothy Graff, director, Social Concerns Office, Archdiocese of Newark. Father Graff also serves in pastoral planning, government relations and labor relations for the Archdiocese. 


Wednesday, March 27

Prayer and Spirituality – “My Petitions vs. Thy Will Be Done” with Ginger Grancagnolo, Ed.D., OPA, lecturer, author and counselor. Grancagnolo holds a doctorate in Christian ministry and has a background in education, psychology and theology. 


Understanding Sacred Scripture – “The Saint John’s Bible: From the Middle Ages to the 21st Century” with Marie Marmo Mullaney, Ph.D., professor of history at Caldwell University. Attendees can view the sacred art of The Saint John’s Bible, the first illuminated, handwritten bible of monumental size to be created in more than 500 years. Dr. Mullaney is a historian who has taught numerous courses including “The History of Catholics in America” and “The History of the Catholic Church.”  


Faith in Practice -“Our Invisible Neighbors: Detained Immigrants in New Jersey (and beyond)” with Ken Boccino, treasurer and member of the board of trustees of First Friends of New Jersey and New York, an organization which works to uphold the inherent dignity and humanity of detained immigrants and asylum seekers through volunteer visitation, resettlement assistance and advocacy.   Boccino is a deacon at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Maplewood, NJ. 


Wednesday April 3 

Prayer and Spirituality – “The Eucharist: The Meal that Nourishes, That Unites and That Identifies” with Father Robert Laferrera, pastor of Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament in Roseland, New Jersey.  Father Laferrara is former associate director of the Office of Worship, Archdiocese of Newark and former chair of the Archdiocese Liturgical Commission.  


Understanding Sacred Scripture – “As I have Done” with Sister Donna Ciangio, O.P., D.Min., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell and chancellor of the Archdiocese of Newark. Sister, who  also serves in St. Rose of Lima Church, Short Hills, will focus on how Jesus gave a great commandment to do as he did and how that affects all areas of life  in accompanying others on the journey of discipleship.  The discussion will focus on ways to live the command: “As I Have Done”.



Faith in Practice – “Sharing Faith, Sharing Life,” with E. Denise Peoples,  double lung transplant recipient, community educator, faith based coordinator and family services coordinator for the NJ Sharing Network. She is an advocate for organ and tissue donation and for the effects the process can have on families and communities.  She also founded Mae’s Plate, a non-profit named in honor of her mother, that serves home cooked meals, resources and donated supplies and clothes to individuals who are in-between homes.   



Wednesday, April 10 


Prayer and Spirituality – “The Gift of Our Stories: Christian Spirituality and Evangelization in Our Social Media World” with Father Antonio “Tony” Ricarte, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament in Roseland.  He holds a Licentiate in Missiology from the Gregorian University in Rome with a special focus on dialogue and new evangelization.



Understanding Sacred Scripture – “The Gospel within the Gospel: The Parables of Luke 15 and Lent. A Scriptural Exploration of the Prodigal Son” with Rev.  Christopher M. Ciccarino, associate dean  for seminary and academic studies, Immaculate Conception Seminary and editor for the revision of the New Testament of the New American Bible. 


Faith in Practice – “Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching” with Jonathan D. Lace, who teaches Biblical studies and iOS application development at Seton Hall Preparatory School and is the  creator of  the Theologica iphone app.  


An offering of $3.00 per session or $10.00 for the four week series is requested to help defray expenses.  Pre-registration is also requested.  Checks should be made payable to Notre Dame.  For a brochure and registration form, contact any of the sponsoring parishes. Attendance at prior sessions is not necessary to benefit from participation at a later session. All sessions qualify for catechist certification.


Faith Quest began in 2007 as part of the Archdiocese of Newark’s New Energies Initiative.  The four cluster parishes of West Essex — St. Aloysius in Caldwell, Notre Dame in North Caldwell, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Roseland and St. Thomas More in Fairfield collaborated to develop an adult education and information program that is held during the Lenten season.  In the event of inclement weather, check for updates at  or call 973-226-0979.

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