2018 Summit engenders boldness for Christ and His Truth
The spiritual, inspirational, and leisure event of the year for so many Legates, the 2018 Summit in late January at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, FL was a sold-out success.
The three-day “Be Not Afraid” event held January 25-27 stirred Legates far and wide to be radically bold in their witness for Christ through the Catholic truth in engaging the challenges of the day. This year’s Summit showcased over 13 renowned Catholic speakers – including major TV and entertainment celebrities, top theologians, priests, and laity – on issues spanning business, spirituality, marriage, family, bioethics, food, and politics. Each one had a unique story to relate – whether an eleventh-hour conversion, personal or business turnaround, radical reawakening to Christ, or prized insight into modern derailments which can wreak overwhelming destruction.
A special Legatus golf tournament kicked off the first day, with afternoon time each day for leisure at the pool, golf course, or strolling the magnificent lawns and gardens. Legates likewise had daily opportunity for Mass, Confession, Adoration, and two special exhibits – St. Padre Pio’s relics, and sacred sculptures by Tim Schmaltz.
Host chapter for this year’s Summit was the Lafayette-Acadiana Chapter, which treated lucky participants to samplings of delectable Cajun foods at meals, and a special gift cookbook.
Kudlow’s life-changing conversion
Opening-night speaker Larry Kudlow, renowned economist and broadcast journalist on WABC and CNBC – and recent advisor to the Trump Campaign, spoke on hitting bottom in his professional and personal life 20 years ago, then turning to a Catholic priest for help.
“I fell off my horse years ago, having made some very bad decisions,” Kudlow said before a rapt dinner audience. “I ignored guidance and essentially had no faith life … didn’t even practice my Judaism. I’d then befriended Fr. C. John McCloskey, who counseled me for seven years as I recovered from alcoholism – he knew before I did that I was in deep trouble. I’d ruined my marriage and career – everything – all at once.”
When Kudlow took a sabbatical to San Diego, Fr. McCloskey went there frequently to visit and teach him about Catholicism, bit by bit, answering his questions. And then with emotion in his voice Kudlow admitted, “I’d always loved the order in the Catholic Church. There was something about it. And so I was baptized into the Catholic Church in 1997. Leading a life of faith has changed my life and career – I never saw it coming. It’s better than ever.”
Today Kudlow is president of his parish council in Redding, CT and says, “Don’t think you can do all this – LIFE – without faith. I now know the benefit and joys of faith in the Catholic Church … and if it worked for me, it can work for everyone. I learned the hard way, but maybe that’s the best way.”
Former Cosmo writer concocted ‘reality’
“Only after I became Catholic at 57 did I see all the damage we’d done, and the lies we’d told at Cosmopolitan [Magazine],” said Sue Ellen Browder in an early-morning talk wherein Legates absorbed every word.
Browder gave rare and revealing insight on how many like herself had promoted the cultural ‘norm’ claiming the sexual revolution and women’s rights movements were intertwined, and that ‘sex without children’ was what women should really want. “After all, women were being fired in the 1970s for becoming pregnant.”
“But the sexual revolution has been built on much propaganda” mixing truth with lies, she said, as she admitted to being responsible for contributing to the facade.
“I later realized that the anti-motherhood movement has really been a spiritual attack on the motherhood of the Church, and a direct attack on Our Lady.” She noted the irreparable damage it did in her own life, personally and professionally, underscoring points from her book, Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.
Oasis of Catholic wisdom
Other compelling speakers included:
- Scott Hahn, Ph.D. on how marriage affects the social order;
- Ryan Anderson, Ph.D. on Catholics responding to the transgender moment;
- Fr. Rick Stansbery on the life of recently beatified Blessed Fr. Stanley Rother;
- Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers on his personal story of family healing through extending mercy;
- Paul Voss, Ph.D. on the Catholic Work Ethic pointing toward leisure;
- Aurora Griffin on nurturing and living her Catholic faith in college;
- Fr. Donald Calloway on his prodigal-son entrance to Catholicism and the crucial role of the rosary;
- Bishop William Callahan (Diocese of LaCrosse) and Maestro Luciano Lamonarca on the life and sanctity of St. Padre Pio;
- Live Q & A interview with Summit entertainer, Bobby Rydell, on his Catholic faith, rise to stardom, heartbreak and health crisis, and gratitude to God;
- “Future of Public Policy” for Catholics, with Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ), Keith Rothfus (PA), and Ron DeSantis (FL); and
- Fr. Leo Patalinghug (also the master of ceremonies) on the theology of food and understanding the Sacrament of the Eucharist – during his live cooking demonstration.
Newly elected 2017 National President of Year, Jerry Jones (Indianapolis Chapter), said the Summit speakers in their compelling address of critical issues “really lined up nicely with the swatches of life. There was something for everyone,” he said. “Legatus makes us all feel like a family. The Summit was truly well worth our time.”
He shared much credit with his Indianapolis Chapter for the 26 years of momentum they’ve built together. “Legatus continues to help me renew my faith. Now it’s my turn to give back.”
CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s managing editor.