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NFL stars and a Wahlberg to speak at new Christian men’s conference

J-P Mauro - published on 05/27/22

The Emmaus Center's first ever men's conference will seek to strengthen and encourage Christian men ahead of Father's Day.

Brooklyn’s newly minted Emmaus Center is hosting a day of fellowship and encouragement for Christian fathers of all denominations. The Emmaus Center’s first ever men’s conference, titled “The Ultimate Playbook,” will feature comments and discussions from former NFL stars, James Wahlberg, and a Catholic priest. 


“The Ultimate Playbook” conference is a day-long event that is offered to men only. Taking place June 11,the weekend before Father’s Day, the conference will bring Christian men together to be strengthened through the bonds of fatherhood and friendship. As a nod to their NFL speakers, they call the event a “pre-game” for Father’s Day. 

Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, Vicar for Development at the Diocese of Brooklyn and Board Chairman at The Emmaus Center, will be one of the key speakers. He said of the event in a press release: 

“Men need encouragement and to be formed by faith. We pulled together extraordinary role models whose faith in Jesus Christ guides them in their home life and in their witness to the world. Men need to build little teams of faith to help them be on the offensive with Christ day in and day out and our conference event will help encourage men to build their team.”

Guest speakers

The day will feature comments from NFL coach Bill Lazor, offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, and former quarterback and author Jeff Kemp, son of football star turned politician Jack Kemp. The two will likely draw on their experiences leading teams of men on the gridiron in their addresses. 

In the press release, Kemp commented: 

“Men don’t need to be lonely, discouraged or dissed. Men need a team – a couple of deep friends and a real relationship with the perfect man, Jesus, and with their perfect Father God. I’m excited to huddle up and encourage men with the Ultimate Playbook. In the NFL and ever since, teamwork and huddling with a couple of deep friends has been my life. God wants that friendship and teamwork for all guys so we can overcome life’s blitzes and win for those who need us. I’m excited to huddle up with hundreds of men for this life-impacting day.”

Also speaking at the conference is James Wahlberg, brother of Mark Wahlberg. James serves as the executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. As a filmmaker, James Wahlberg has made movies that raise awareness to alcohol and opioid addiction. He is expected to use his expertise on such matters to extol the virtues of turning to Christ in times of hardship. 

Monsignor Gigantiello will also be at the podium to give remarks from his own Catholic perspective. The speakers will each be allotted time to speak, but they will also take part in a group discussion that is bound to be as entertaining as it is informative. 

Music and prayer

To round out the day’s content, attending fathers will be treated to a performance by Christian singer Jonathan Traylor. This 29-year-old phenom is a singer/songwriter, producer, and dancer, as can be seen in the excellent music video for his hit song “I Trust in You.” Released in 2020, the hit song has been viewed over three million times on Youtube. 

The performance will follow the powerful testimonies of the aforementioned guest speakers. Along with his address, Monsignor Gigantiello will also be present to guide the conference in prayer. The Monsignor commented: 

“Today, so many things are coming against men and fathers, so I wanted to host an event that strengthens and encourages men to be the best fathers, husbands, sons and friends – true witnesses of Christ. Come hear testimony,” said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello. “We want to fill The Emmaus Center – so this is an invitation to all men, no matter where you live. We won’t turn anyone away. Come find friendship. Come join us. Whether you are from the greater New York area or just want to fly in and be a part of our day – you have a welcome here. We want to be part of your team and help you build yours.”

Emmaus Center

Opened in 2020, when many venues began to close during the world pandemic, The Emmaus Center describes itself as a “forum to highlight the true, good, and beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages.” This performing arts center seeks to present the heights and depths of human expression in thought and culture. 

Their doors will open for “The Ultimate Playbook” men’s conference at 10 a.m. on June 11, with the festivities beginning at 10:30. Interested parties can reserve tickets for themselves or a loved one here. 

Learn more about the Emmaus Center here.

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