Welcome to the website of the Center for Spirituality at the New Jersey Reentry Corporation! We are delighted to have you join us on this transformational journey towards personal growth and spiritual exploration. At the Center, we understand that the process of reentry can be disheartening, challenging, and complex. That’s why we have created a space dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated individuals, returning veterans, and people living with addictions on their paths to spiritual growth.

We invite you to explore the website to learn more about spiritual direction, pastoral counseling/listening, soul care, and other available programs. The Center is here to support you as you navigate the complexities of life, cultivate your spirituality, and nurture your soul in your transition to family, community, and a future grounded in wholeness and hope.

We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with you at the Center for Spirituality. May this be a place where you find healing and peace, your spirit finds nourishment, and your true self is reverenced and embraced.

Douglas Haefner 

The Director of Faith-Based Initiatives at the NJRC Corporation. He has served as an Ordained Minister and Pastor of a large Catholic Community in Central New Jersey. He has over 46 years of experience in various ministry positions. He holds a B.A. Degree in Theology, STB in Theology, A Master’s Degree in Divinity from St. Mary’s Seminary and University, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston College. He has done post-graduate work at Boston College and Fordham University.

Phone: 973.982.6536 Ext. 258

Spiritual Direction/Soul Care

A spiritual writer once said: “ A spiritual director is not a therapist or counselor but a friend of the soul who accompanies us on our spiritual journey with wise counsel and the support that sustains us in times of doubt, difficulty, and through our everyday lives. Spiritual Direction is offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 am -1:00 pm. Each session will last 50 minutes. To schedule an appointment click the button below:

Pastoral Care/Counseling

These sessions provide a safe and sacred space for one-on-one listening and allow the participant to begin the journey to healing, wellness, and hope. This time together is strictly confidential and will reverence and honor the participant’s story. Pastoral Care/Counseling is offered every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The session will usually last 50 minutes. To schedule an appointment, click the button below:

Servies Offered

  • Space for Reflection and Prayer
  • Pastoral Counseling, Soul Care
  • Introduction to Prayer, Mindful Meditation,
    Centering Prayer, etc. 
  • Spiritual mentors and directors
  • Connections with Faith Communities
  • Podcasts on Spiritual Topics 
  • 12-Step Spirituality
  • Monasteries of the Heart, the Monastic Tradition
  • Resources for the Spiritual Journey

At the Center for Spirituality, We Value...

...the dignity of each person

...all religious and spiritual traditions and beliefs

...believers and non-believers

...an environment that is open and non-judgmental

...the power of forgiveness and mercy

...and more.

Falling Down and Getting Up by Mark Nepo

“When Medieval Monks were asked how they practiced their faith, they said, “By falling down and getting up.” This is the human journey from which no one is exempt. We are constantly challenged to get up one more time than we fall, to open one more time than we close, and to put things together one more time then we take them apart. The Japanese proverb Nanakorobi yaoki puts it this way: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

When I first read this quote in Mark Nepo’s, book those opening words lingered in my mind and heart for a number of days. What a beautiful and honest way to look at our lives as we live this human journey from which no one of us can escape. For many of us in reentry, we seem to get stuck on the falling down than we do on the getting up. If we’re honest, that’s not a hard thing to do in this world of ours, where so many people seem to delight in the falling down. For so many in the process of reentering, whether it’s coming home from incarceration, military service, or trying to live with addiction, we beat ourselves up; we focus on the falling because many of us have been conditioned to think this way. In some of our families, some of us could never live up to the expectations of our parents, in school, in our jobs, in our relationships, and sadly, in our communities. This focus on falling can help damage our innate goodness and our sense of self and can block any attempts at self-compassion. Kat Armas says that: “ God is not surprised, intimidated, disappointed, or offended by what makes us human. We are loved when the tide is high and when the tide is low.”

At the Center for Spirituality, our focus is not so much on the falling down but the getting up. We can’t deny or forget the falls of our past because they are part of who we are and are integral to who we are becoming. We carry it all with us, the scars and bruises, the hurt and pain, the healing and hopes, the love and joy integrated with all the good that is an essential ingredient of who we were created to be. The Spiritual Life is a way to look deeper, to heal the hurts and bruises our fallings created and pick up the pieces and begin again. The spiritual life can help us affirm the divinity that is within us and that feeds and fuels us every day on the journey. Mark Nepo once again captures what the Center for Spirituality and its programs are all about and what they can be for you on your journey to wholeness and healing.

“You see, falling and getting up is an inevitable part of nature’s cycle… What matters most can never be destroyed, only rearranged. That is the secret to falling down and getting up. So, clear the rubble in your heart and welcome the light now coming through your collapsed way of being. While nothing can minimize the pain and loss that comes from falling down, nothing can keep us from helping each other up.”

The Center for Spirituality Board

Reverend Allan Boyer

Retired/ African Methodist Episcopal Pastor

Reverend Rocco Danzi, S.J.

Parish Administrator, St. Aedan’s: St. Peter’s University Church, Jersey City, N.J.

Reverend Martisha-Kanard Dwyer

Hope Church, Bound Brook, Roots to Recovery

Reverend Monsignor R. Vincent Gartland

Retired Pastor of St. Ann’s, Lawrenceville, NJ; Former Director of Ministry to Priests, Diocese of Trenton, N.J.

Matthew Harper

Research Associate, NJRC

Anthony Hawthorne

Intake Coordinator, NJRC Newark

Joseph Hayden

Partner, Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C.

The Reverend Dr. Torise Hiller

Metro Community Church, Hackensack,NJ

Reverend Cynthia Jackson

Pastor, Allen AME Church, Newark, N.J.

Reverend Joseph Mancini

Pastor, St. Stephen Church, Kearny, N.J.

Reverend Reginald McCrae

Retired AME Pastor, Jersey City

Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein

Rav Congregation Ishay Yisorel

Sharon McGreevey

Director NJRC Veterans Services

Sister Kathy Rooney, SSJ

Prison Chaplain, Edna Mahan Correctional Center for Women

Reverend Raul Ruiz

President of NJ Coalition of Latino Pastors and Ministers, Pastor Spanish American Baptist Church, Jersey City

Imam Nazimool Saheb

Masjid Sadar Community and Center, Parlin, NJ

Phyllis Stone

Stepping Stones Consulting, Board of Trustees Notre Dame University, Task Force on Diversity Notre Dame University, Pastoral Associate

James Tansey

First Assistant Prosecutor, Union County

Keisha Williams

Participant NJRC

Mental Health and Sprituality

Exploring the dynamic intersection of spirituality and mental health unveils a transformative journey toward holistic well-being. It’s becoming clearer that spirituality plays a significant role in our mental health. The following articles provide accessible insights into this evolving relationship and the recognition it’s gaining in these fields.