Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, an All-Star catcher for the Mets, will return to New York to speak about his faith at ManUp New York, a daylong Catholic men’s spirituality conference Saturday, Oct. 23.
In 2016, Piazza spoke about the Church’s importance in his life when he was honored by ArchCare at the archdiocesan health care organization’s annual gala. “The rock that is the Church will always be there,” he said. “So I feel confident. I’m parking my car here.”
Piazza will be joined that day at St. Joseph’s Seminary, 201 Seminary Ave. in Dunwoodie, by other speakers including Cardinal Dolan, who will deliver the keynote address; Father Donald Calloway, M.I.C., an author of seven books on Catholic spirituality who will speak on Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father; and Dr. Greg Bottaro, a clinical psychologist and founder of the CatholicPsych Institute whose topic is Mental Health: The Epidemic of Addiction, Depression and Suicide Among Men in Today’s World.
The day includes a Gospel reflection group talk for all men in attendance as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a 4 p.m. Mass.
The conference is sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Adult Faith Formation under the direction of Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez and ManUp New York, an outgrowth of the established ManUp Philly and more recent ManUp South Jersey conferences.
There is a committee of laymen and clergy in the archdiocese working as organizers of the ManUp New York conference.
“Reaching our men is important for our Church to flourish and grow,” Ms. de Gonzalez told CNY. “This is a time for men to come together and talk about their faith.”
She said ManUp New York seeks practicing, faithful Catholic men who are seeking to enrich their faith and recognizes some may not be as devout as others.
Eustace Mita, the founder of ManUp Philly, said he plans to personally participate in the first run of ManUp New York.
Speaking to CNY by phone last week, he said components of the ManUp “blueprint” include a limited number of speakers (never more than four), featuring at least one well-known athlete to attract younger individuals.
He cited statistics that show when fathers accompany the family to church, attendance skyrockets.
ManUp is more than an annual conference. Forming Gospel reflection groups is an integral part of ManUp’s ongoing success, Mita said. About 2,000 men participate in 200 such morning groups in Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey.
Groups have as few as three men and as many as several dozen. Mita’s own group in Chester, Pa., which was formed nearly 20 years ago, recently totaled 90 between Zoom and in-person participants.
He touts the ManUp model as a “forever” concept that is “tried and true.” One of its best features, he said, is that the kinks are already worked out.
His pitch to men in the Archdiocese of New York who may be undecided about participating in ManUp New York is simple.
“There is a part of us always searching for peace—peace of mind, peace of heart and peace of soul,” Mita said. “Just give ManUp New York a try. It’s an opportunity to get closer to our Creator.”
Along with in-person participation at the seminary, many parishes are expected to host watch parties for the men in their parish. The registration for those online participants will take place in parishes.
Early registration until Sept. 6 is $30. Regular registration from Sept. 7 to Oct. 20 is $40. (There will be no refunds.) Information and registration: archny.org