Abbot Augustine’s Blessing: Community Takes the Streets of Newark!


Photo taken by Sebastian Urbina UD2

Joseph Ranalletta, Feature Editor

The Newly Blessed Abbot and the Cardinal,
Photo taken by Sebastian Urbina UD2

Abbot Curley’s journey has been a long one. He began here as a student but in 1972, when the school “suspended operations”, he was forced to move schools to St. Peters Prep. From there he began his studies at Assumption College where he double majored in Philosophy and Politics. After graduation, he continued to study and pursued a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Boston College. During this time, he entered the Newark Abbey, and while here he completed his Ph.D. During his first years at the Monastery. Abbot Augustine attended Immaculate Conception Seminary on the grounds of Seton Hall College and was ordained a Priest in 1988.

During his extensive time at Newark Abbey, Abbot Augustine served the community as the Abbey Librarian and Archivist. At the same time, he also held the position of Prior, a position ranking just lower than the Abbot in the Benedictine tradition. After providing the community with his gifts and talents in these positions, on May 12, 2022, he was elected as the third Abbot of the Newark Abbey Monastic community.

When elected as Abbot, it is tradition for the new Abbot to be blessed. In Abbot Augustine’s case, this blessing would occur at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, located on the highest point in Newark. For this special day for the community as a whole, the entire Prep Divison, over 600 people, were invited to the event.
When the all-important and very special day came, there was an air of excitement and anticipation for many of the students, many of which had never experienced something like this. After convocation, the community took to the streets and the two-mile parade through Newark began, accompanied by music, singing, and cheers for the Abbot.

As the community marched through the center of Newark, police motorcycle escorts shut down intersections and closed streets, virtually closing downtown Newark, so that the parade could continue. People looked out of their windows and stood out on their front lawns in awe of what was going on. “It was strange to see a parade go through Newark, let alone a parade of high school students going to church!” said Andrew Gomez ‘24 at St. Benedict’s.
When everyone gracefully arrived at the Cathedral after the parade, an anxious quiet fell upon the community as the Mass began.

Finally, when the Abbot was finally blessed and was presented in front of the community, cheers erupted throughout the Church, with people calling out his nickname “Goose” as the Abbot smiled back at everyone.
With the blessing of the new Abbot completed, the march back to school began. The community once again walked through the streets, but this time celebration and cheerful singing and talking could be heard all around.
Abbot Augustine’s Blessing marks a new era at St. Benedict’s Preparatory school. One that will be filled with amazing times and great experiences for the community as a whole, under the leadership of Abbot Augustine Curley.