Pictured Above: Seated (left to right): Br. Patrick, Fr. Augustine, Abbot Melvin, Fr. Maynard
Standing (left to right): Br. Francis, Fr. Francis, Fr. Edwin, Br. Mark Martin, Fr. Philip, Fr. Luke, Fr. Albert, Fr. Maximilian, Br. Simon Peter, Br. Thomas Aquinas, Br. Asiel Maria, Fr. Francois. (Photo by Mike Scanlan)

Meet the Monks

Abbot Melvin J. Valvano, O.S.B.

Abbot Melvin has been the spiritual leader of Newark Abbey since 1973. He is a 1956 graduate of St. Benedict's Prep. He also serves as president of our prep school, St. Benedict's Prep. From 1989 to 2001, he served as president of the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine Monasteries, to which our monastery belongs.


Father Augustine J. Curley, O.S.B., Prior


Fr. Augustine Curley has been a Benedictine monk of Newark Abbey since 1983. He was a student at St. Benedict's Prep in 1972 when it "suspended operations." After spending a year at St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, he matriculated at Assumption College, where he double majored in philosophy and politics. He then pursued a Ph.D. in philosophy at Boston College. After seminary studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary of Seton Hall University, he was ordained in 1988.

Father Augustine serves the community as Prior, as well as abbey librarian and archivist. He came to the monastery after several years of graduate studies, and finished a Ph.D. in philosophy after entering the monastery. He was in the Class of 1974 of St. Benedict's Prep.


Br. Patrick Winbush, O.S.B., Subprior


Br. Patrick, a native of Newark, came to know the community through Fr. Edwin, who served in his home parish as a weekend assistant. He currently serves as the subprior and vocation director.


Father Albert Holtz, O.S.B., Formation Director


Fr. Albert has served the community for many years as Director of Formation. He teaches religion in St. Benedict's Prep, and has authored several books of spirituality to his credit. His blog can be found at http://downtownmonks.blogspot.com.


Father Maynard Nagengast, O.S.B.

Fr. Maynard came to know the Benedictines through Fr. Lucien Donnelly. For many years he taught art in St. Benedict's Prep. Although retired from teaching, he keeps busy by painting and caring for the abbey garden.

Father Edwin Leahy, O.S.B.

Fr. Edwin has served as Headmaster of St. Benedict's Prep since its reopening in 1973.

Father Philip Waters, O.S.B.

Fr. Philip is rector of the abbey church, where the faith community of St. Mary's meets. He also teaches Latin in St. Benedict's Prep, and drives the school bus whenever his services are needed.

Father Luke Edelen, O.S.B.

Fr. Luke is the Master of Ceremonies for the monastery. He is also the Chancellor for the Syriac Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance, and teaches Latin in St. Benedict's Prep.

Father Francis Flood, O.S.B.

A number of years ago, Fr. Francis transferred his vows to Newark Abbey. Fr. Francis currently served the community as procurator and for a number of years he was the infirmarian. With a degree in canon law, he is sometimes called upon to offer an opinion on an issue that the community needs to decide.

Fr. Maximilian Buonocore, O.S.B.

Fr. Maximilian currently serves the community as librarian, teacher, the director of the Learning Center, and co-facilitator the Gardening Project and Summer Gardening at St. Benedict's Prep School. He serves as a licensed professional counselor, and as the Local Safe Environment Coordinator for the Monastery and school. In the past he served as infirmarian, tailor, guest master and kitchen master. Fr. Maximilian has a B.S. in Engineering, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and an M.A. in Systematic Theology degree. He completed his studies for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary, and was ordained a priest on June 22, 2017.


Brother Thomas Aquinas Hall, O.S.B.

An alumnus of St. Benedict's Prep, Br. Thomas Aquinas made his solemn (life) vows on August 15, 2017. He previously served the community as guest master. He currently serves the community as a teacher at St. Benedict's and is pursuing in graduate studies in counseling.

Brother Simon Peter Clayton, O.S.B.

Br. Simon Peter Clayton, O.S.B. was born and raised in Newark, NJ. He attended St. Benedict's Prep and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing at St. Vincent College in Latrobe PA. Prior to graduating in 2012, Br. Simon secured a job with PNC Bank as a retail banking Branch Manager in Washington, DC. After spending a few years in the financial industry, Br. Simon Peter decided to answer God's call to return to his hometown and join our monastic community. He currently serves as kitchen liaison and attends Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.

Brother Asiel Maria Rodriguez, O.S.B.

Br. Asiel Maria was born in Cuba, but grew up in Union City. After spending some time with another religious community, Br. Asiel transferred to our community. He is currently studying for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, and serves in the monastery in several roles as the Infirmarian, Tailor, and Director of Monastery Publicity, as well as teaching in St. Benedict's Prep.


Brother Francis Woodruff, O.S.B.

Br. Francis was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He made simple profession in November 2017. He had previously been a member of the monastic community and returned to Newark Abbey after an absence of several years, having discerned the Lord's call to return home. Br. Francis currently serves the community as the Abbey Sacristan, and as Assistant- guest master.


Brother Mark Martin Dilone, O.S.B.

Br. Mark Martin was born and raised in New York City. Before coming to our community he was a member of another religious community. He is currently studying for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, and serves in several roles at the monastery as Guestmaster, Assistant tailor, Organist, Webmaster, and also teaches in St. Benedict's Prep.