Abbey Names New Monastery Publicity Chiefs


Courtesy of Newark Abbey

Br. Rafael González, nO.S.B., (at left) and Br. Bruno Mello, nO.S.B., will be leading Newark Abbey’s publicity efforts.

Samuel Pineda, Editor In-Chief

Two novice monks have been appointed to take over publicity duties for Newark Abbey, continuing to expand the monastery’s reach on social media as a whole and in the Hispanic community. 

In October, Abbot Melvin Valvano, O.S.B. has named Br. Bruno Mello, nO.S.B, and Br. Rafael González, nO.S.B., Co-Coordinators of Abbey Publicity, effective immediately. Br. Mark Dilone, O.S.B., will continue in his role as Webmaster of the Abbey’s website, while Fr. Augustine Curley, O.S.B. and Br. Asiel Rodríguez, O.S.B., will continue to oversee the Abbey Facebook page.

Brs. Bruno and Rafael will be stepping into the role once held by Br. Asiel, who will shortly be ordained a priest and will be assuming more duties associated with that role, along with dedicating himself more deeply to his Abbey positions, which include Formation Socius and Infirmarian. As many students know, he also teaches Spanish at St. Benedict’s Prep. 

“I’m very excited to take on the responsibility of Co-coordinator of Abbey Publicity, recognizing that it is just that: a responsibility. Our first priority is to expand the Abbey’s virtual presence,” stated Br. Bruno, “Above all though, our goal is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter – virtually or in person. If we’re not preaching the Gospel with everything we do, we’re wasting our time.”

Over the next year Brs. Bruno and Rafael plan to improve the video recording and live streaming capabilities in the monastery in order to share more of the liturgical life of the Abbey, including recordings of the chants during Solemn Vespers. They also wish to grow the number of  followers on the Abbey’s online platforms, especially by expanding Spanish language content and increasing collaboration with SBP Advancement, The Benedict News, and the Vocations Director.

 Other ideas include involving the entire community in various projects such as Live Q&A sessions, recording conferences on various topics, and sharing vocation stories. They will also continue what Br. Asiel started, expanding the collection of Abbey-branded printed materials that include everything from prayer cards to pamphlets. 

“I am very happy to be given this role, Br. Bruno and I make a good team,” said Br. Rafael. “He focuses on the English part and I on the Spanish, although we also do a lot together such as designing the publications.” Br. Rafael is excited to be able to use his native language in an effort to aid the publicity of the Abbey.

Br. Rafael plans to film videos with the monks who speak Spanish about their vocations and other interesting topics. He has already posted two of these videos to YouTube as part of a new Spanish-language blog, “Monjes en la ciudad.” Br. Rafael wants to try to make the Abbey Facebook page as bilingual as possible, and has the same goal for the Instagram account. In the Spanish blog, monks have already been posting short Sunday reflections to readings as well as the literature about feast days of the saints translated into Spanish.

 In the three years Br. Asiel directed publicity for the monastery, its profile was raised substantially in the press, including a Star-Ledger feature, a recent New Jersey Monthly profile on Br. Simon Peter Clayton, O.S.B., ’08 and Br. Asiel, numerous stories in SBP’s alumni publication and website as well as in The Benedict News and on its website.

 On the internet, Br. Asiel made substantial inroads as well, expanding the monastery’s social media presence by enhancing content on its Facebook page, creating a thousand-follower Instagram account, as well as overseeing the creation of an Abbey YouTube channel earlier this year.  He designed and published a great number of informational brochures, including the Abbey’s first Spanish-language brochure. He also grew the relationship between the newly-created Abbey Publicity office and the longstanding SBP Advancement Office and continued the monastic presence in the Business Office.

 Brs. Bruno and Rafael are ambitious in their goals for the organization, but their motives remain clear. “Abbey Publicity is not, and must never become, self-serving,” Br. Bruno said.

Citing a passage from the Bible’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Br. Rafael added: “Everything we publicize, advertise, or post should point to Jesus Christ, through the lens of our monastic vocation. The role of those coordinating Abbey Publicity is ‘to preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.’”


Visit Newark Abbey virtually through the following links:

Newark Abbey Facebook-

Newark Abbey Instagram-

Newark Abbey YouTube-

“Monjes en la ciudad” Blog-

Fr. Albert Holtz, O.S.B.’s “Downtown Monks” Blog-