COMMENTARY — Archdiocese & NJ Reentry Corp. hit grand slam with new addiction program

Last week, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark and James E. McGreevey, New Jersey’s former governor and the executive director of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, announced, jointly, the two organizations would be teaming up to train archdiocesan priests so they could be better suited to deal with parishioners in need of addiction treatment. Together, the two organizations have developed a program that, when it kicks off in a few weeks, will allow any adult parishioner in the archdiocese in need of addiction help to get it within 48 hours.

Privacy will be paramount for the addicts and stigma will not be attached to them nor will it be to their loved ones. In simpler terms, vitally needed help is on the way.

This program is innovative, the first of its kind in New Jersey — and it is devised so well that it should ultimately serve as a model for other archdioceses and dioceses in America and globally, and for religious organizations of other faiths.

The Archdiocese of Newark made it clear in its announcement of the program that often, when addicts need help, they turn to parish priests or lay employees in rectories for help.

And so by joining forces with McGreevey’s already fantastic program, it will have never been easier for addicts to get the help addicts so often direly need.

We’ve always known McGreevey to be an extremely forward thinker. And now, if there was ever any doubt, it should also be clear Cardinal Tobin is in the same category when it comes to providing addiction treatment. We are very impressed by the details of how the program works (see the story, which is also in this edition and on We are grateful to Cardinal Tobin and Gov. McGreevey for teaming up and acknowledging how important such services are. We are thrilled they’re not just talking the talk, but they’re most importantly, walking the walk.

It all begins July 1, 2023. All parishioners should remember this and never fear asking for help when needed. The only mistake that one could make now would be not to ask for assistance.

Doing otherwise would be the greatest tragedy of all.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.