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God will pierce the corporate veil

A statement I really hate is “I’m just doing my job.” People use this either as a humblebrag (“Piece of cake because I’m awesome”), or to evade moral responsibility (“I was just following orders”). While the first usage is annoying, the second is dangerous. Adolf Eichmann’s defense in the Nuremburg trial was nothing more than, “I was just following Hitler’s orders.” This defense did not convince the Nuremburg judges, nor will it convince God.

Conor Gallagher

You can’t separate the person from the work. This simple truth lies at the core of the ever growing, overly complex subject of “business ethics.” Peter Drucker once said, “There is neither a separate ethics of business nor is one needed,” meaning that the same ethical rules that apply to man in his private life apply to him in his business life. An altruistic statement for sure, given our cluttered world of regulations and corporate law. Drucker, however, has a great point – as always.

As Catholic leaders, we must not allow ourselves to excuse or justify every decision we make with an unreflective “I’m just doing my job.” As leaders, we must take ownership of our actions and examine our individual consciences in light of what we profess to believe. If this reflection causes a few more sleepless nights, or, hopefully, more prayerful nights, then so be it. Actions have moral consequence. The corporation may be a legal “person”, but God judges real persons. He judges us.

Sometimes I wonder if the concept of a corporate entity, distinct from the people themselves, leads to a convenient disconnect between the person’s actions and the business’ actions. I remember the question being raised in metaphysics: does a community of persons have its own essence? And I remember a similar question being raised in corporate law: is this corporation a legal person? Both philosophy and law grapple with the same question. That should not surprise us, for it is an interesting and important question, especially for those of us for whom the answer is so fraught with significance. I understand the need for a legal entity and the need for a corporate veil. But we must not delude ourselves into thinking that the business actually took action. We took action. The legal entity is a fauxperson – convenient, yes, but faux nonetheless. It is we that will be judged, not the corporation.

In other words, God will pierce the corporate veil.

If we are virtuous through our businesses, God will reward us. If we are sinful through our businesses, God will punish us. “But God, I was just doing my job!” I would not want that as my defense on judgment day.

After being asked about corporate ethics, Milton Friedman once said, “So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no, they do not.”

I think my fellow Legates would disagree with the great Milton Friedman on this point. For we all know that Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, not the S Corp, C Corp, or LLC.

CONOR GALLAGHER is publisher at Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books. He is the author of If Aristotle’s Kid Had an iPod: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents and obtained his J.D. and M.A. in philosophy from Catholic University. He and his wife, Ashley, have 12 children.

Fearless Witness to the World

Dr. Scott Hahn has told the story of his conversion to Catholicism countless times, but he is always happy to do it again.

“I never get tired of sharing this story of my journey of faith because even though it’s been more than 30 years it still feels like yesterday,” Hahn said. Nowadays, “I’m not asked to share that story as much as answer questions from people who are experiencing that journey now and have questions, and it’s something I find always exciting.”

Hahn, who holds the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio), is the author or editor of more than 40 books and remains a popular lecturer and speaker on scripture, theology, and the Catholic faith. Rome Sweet Home, the book he and his wife, Kimberly, wrote about their conversion experiences, has sold millions of copies in more than 30 languages since it was first published in 1993.

The Hahns were Presbyterian students at an evangelical seminary near Boston in the early 1980s when they became convinced that contraception was morally wrong — a position Protestant churches had abandoned in the 1930s. That led Scott on an academic journey in which he came to question the foundational tenets of the Reformation, sola fide (“faith alone”) and sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”), and to embrace the Catholic concept of covenant.

Later, while pastor of a Presbyterian congregation and a seminary teacher, he continued to be drawn increasingly to the truths of the Catholic faith. He presented his theological and biblical arguments to fellow Protestant scholars, hoping they would dissuade him. Some offered unsatisfactory answers. Some wound up converting to Catholicism ahead of him.

It was a gradual, inexorable journey. “I felt like I was knocked off my horse in slow motion over a three-year period,” Hahn said. “By the time I hit the ground I was scared, I was startled, but I was also very excited.”

The process was difficult also for Kimberly, whose father and uncle were Presbyterian ministers. It strained their marriage after Scott, with Kimberly’s consent, entered the Church in 1986. But Kimberly herself would convert four years later and join him as another powerful apologist for the CAtholic faith. Their marriage grew stronger than ever: They have now been wed 38 years and have six children and 15 grandchildren.

Fear: A Bad Investment

Hahn will be a keynoter at the 2018 Legatus Summit to be held January 25-27 in Orlando, Fla. The conference theme, “Be Not Afraid,” is a biblical admonition that was a signature phrase for St. John Paul II.

“I’ve heard recently that that phrase ‘be not afraid’ occurs 365 times in Sacred Scripture, which seems so fitting because you’ve got one for every day of the year,” Hahn noted. “Every single day, when you wake up, you have a new set of challenges that could easily cause you to give in to fear.”

God sends challenges our way, but He always gives us the grace we need to overcome them by living out our faith, he said. “A perfect love casts out all fear,” he added. “So we’ve got to really allow our love to grow and become perfected so that we trust more than we fear.”

Business leaders are not immune to such fear, Hahn said. Everyone has work-related concerns, whether it’s fear of losing to a competitor, losing in investments, or losing a job.

“Fear charges a great deal of interest but pays no dividends,” he said. If we view things from an eternal perspective, however, recognizing God as our Father and heaven as our lasting home, it can help us keep “kind of a loose grip” on earthly things that we are responsible for as stewards.

It also means keeping professional goals in perspective. “If you lose the world but gain your soul, you have gained everything,” said Hahn. “But if you gain the world but lose your soul, then everything is a failure, even all of your apparent successes.”

Evangelizing Through Friendship

Part of our baptismal commitment is to care for other souls through evangelization – a word that can strike fear in our hearts if we don’t know how to go about it or confuse it with soapbox preaching.

Protestants see evangelization as leading others to a personal relationship with Christ. That’s certainly very important, Hahn said, but it’s only the beginning, like a man and woman on a first date. The real purpose of evangelization from a Catholic perspective is to bring people into a covenant relationship, such as develops and continually deepens over time in a marriage commitment.

The “new evangelization” described by recent popes involves reaching those who are baptized but have strayed from the faith, Hahn said. We meet these fallen-away Catholics everywhere, in our workplace and neighborhood — which presents opportunities to evangelize.

“For us as Catholics, the principal form of evangelization is not preaching on the job during the coffee break, but establishing friendship, pursuing excellence in our work, reaching out to coworkers,” he explained. “It’s sharing the joy that we have from knowing our Lord and Our Lady, and the fact that we are in the family of God.”

Such friendships can stimulate conversations about faith that lead coworkers on the path back to the Church, he said. “They’re just looking for answers, looking for a friend who could help them find their way.”

Catholics commonly fear we aren’t capable of answering objections to the Catholic faith or citing Scripture verses to support her teachings. While it’s good to pursue those answers, “to share with others the joy that we have found is more effective than whatever counter-arguments or ‘proof texts’ we can memorize and deploy,” Hahn said. “In that way, evangelization becomes perfectly natural.”

Reclaiming Marriage as Covenant

At the Legatus Summit, Hahn will speak on “The First Society: The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and The Social Order.” The First Society is also the title of his new book due for a January release by Emmaus Road.

Matrimony, he emphasized, is not a contract, nor is it a human institution. It is a covenant, and it was designed by God at the beginning of creation. Christ elevated marriage to a sacrament, which gives us grace in order to transform us.

“A sacrament is what God does to make up for what we lack, to give us all we need to be faithful to what he calls us to be,” he said. “Being a sacrament doesn’t make matrimony easy, [but] the sacramentality of marriage is what makes lifelong fidelity possible.”

Restoring this understanding of marriage as a covenant, Hahn said, is “an essential part of the new evangelization,” particularly in a time when the institution of marriage is being sullied by rampant divorce, infidelity, contraception and same-sex relationships.

The answer, he said, lies in “reclaiming the sacramentality of marriage,” and entrusting to God “the task of rebuilding us, our lives, our marriages, our families and our society.”

Societal change “will be the net effect of enough Catholics allowing God to really transform us,” said Hahn. “I think that once He awakens the sleeping giant of faithful American Catholics and makes us more truly faithful, then the side effect will be a transformed society.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus Magazine staff writer

Why not Father Scott Hahn?

A 1980 pastoral provision established by Pope John Paul II makes it possible for married former Episcopal and Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism to seek ordination as Catholic priests. For married clergy of other Christian denominations who “swim the Tiber,” there is a separate potential pathway by which a diocesan bishop may petition Rome on the minister’s behalf for a dispensation from the celibacy requirement. In either instance, additional theological formation and certain limitations apply.

Today there are some 120 married priests serving in the Roman Catholic Church who once were clergy in the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, or Presbyterian communions. Occasionally people ask why Dr. Scott Hahn, the popular Catholic apologist and theologian who was once a Presbyterian minister, is not among them.

“It was something I did consider, and I talked it over with Kimberly when she came into the Church as well,” Hahn said. He also has had conversations in more recent years with various bishops and priests. To date, however, “I have not felt such a calling.”

Hahn explained that for the past 27 years he has been a supernumerary of Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church that provides spiritual formation to lay men and women to help them seek personal holiness and do apostolic work in the midst of ordinary life.

“The thing I enjoy most about being a Catholic is my life as a lay person,” he said. “I have the sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation, and Marriage, and these give to me a really clear sense of apostolate. I don’t have to be numbered among the clergy to do apostolic work.”

He noted how some colleagues who have become married Catholic priests “describe their lives as sort of committing bigamy, where you have one wife and family but your congregation is like another wife and bigger family.” It’s a kind of “tug of war” that he felt even in his own days as a Presbyterian clergyman.

While Hahn looks back on his years of clerical ministry with gratitude, he sees “the gift of celibacy and the celibate priesthood as an even greater gift.”

So does his family, apparently: two of his sons are presently in the seminary preparing for the priesthood.

Unleashing our gifts for Christ

Dr. Paul Kengor

It was 30 years ago, December 1987. Speaking from St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics to seek God’s will with the talents we’ve received, in causes small or large. It was a poignant message in time, and also poignantly timeless.

That year had seen tremendous breakthroughs by leaders of the world’s temporal powers. That very month, on December 8, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty—the greatest nuclear-missile-elimination treaty in history. The Cold War was peacefully ending.

Ronald Reagan personally saw such achievements as him using his talents to accomplish God’s will. “Whatever time I have left is for Him,” Reagan pledged after surviving an assassination attempt in March 1981. He would use his talents for God, especially against an evil empire.

John Paul II might have had such larger achievements in mind (and smaller ones, too) when he gave a blessing from St. Peter’s at the close of the year, Christmas week, where he pointed to the parable of the talents. “The story of the human race described by Sacred Scripture is, even after the fall into sin, a story of constant achievements,” said the pontiff, “in response to the divine vocation given from the beginning to man and to woman.”

The Pope applied this philosophical statement to practical realities, to all men and women and their gifts. Such could be a challenging task, but it was a duty nonetheless. “Anyone wishing to renounce the difficult yet noble task of improving the lot of man in his totality, and of all people,” averred the Pope, “with the excuse that the struggle is difficult and that constant effort is required, or simply because of the experience of defeat and the need to begin again, that person would be betraying the will of God the Creator.” The Pope pointed to “the Lord Jesus Himself, in the parable of the talents,” who emphasized the severe treatment given to the man who hid the gifts he received.

“It falls to us,” said the Holy Father, “who receive the gifts of God in order to make them fruitful, to ‘sow’ and ‘reap.’” A deeper pondering of these severe words “will make us commit ourselves more resolutely to the duty, which is urgent for everyone today,” to work together for others, for the whole human being, and for all people.

The achievements then being made by men like John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were an extension of their commitment to do the work of God on behalf of others, for the whole human being, for all people. It was always a struggle, often fraught with defeat. It was, nonetheless, a commitment to be resolutely pursued.

In a speech at Notre Dame on May 17, 1981, Ronald Reagan had stated: “When great causes are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”

Yes, duty—to do right, and to resist evil.

As John Paul II’s Catechism stated (section 409): “The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, often at great cost to himself.”

That applied not just to John Paul II, to Ronald Reagan, and their battles, but ours. Yes, also ours.

Will you use yours? Will you use the talents God has given you? Will you stand up to the secular forces today threatening our religious freedom, or will you cower in fear of being called names for standing for what’s right?

At Christmas time, we think of Christ and gifts. Well, here’s a gift that we, in turn, can return to Christ by putting to good use the unmistakable talents bestowed upon us.

DR. PAUL KENGOR, PH.D. is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century.

Christ reveals man to man himself

The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture.
— Evangelium Vitae, ¶1

In order to authentically redirect society from its perilous direction and transform it into a Culture of Life and Civilization of Love, hearts must be re-oriented toward Christ, the Light of the World. After all, the closer the human person comes to God, the closer he comes to his own humanity and the truths of the world in which he lives. As Gaudium et Spes says, “Christ…fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.” [¶22]

The human person, in every age, seeks answers to the meaning of human existence: “Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What follows this earthly life? What is truth, the meaning of happiness, and why is there suffering and evil?”

Sadly, as Judeo-Christian values have decayed, the common language used to express and defend those values has become foreign to many. The foundational principles that have guided centuries of civilization are no longer points of demarcation for understanding the human person and his inherent dignity, his relationship with his neighbor or his Creator. This is why we must once again turn our gaze to the One who reveals man to man himself.

The joyous herald of the angels that first Christmas night sheds light upon the answers we desperately seek: I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. (Luke 2:10 11) Christmas reveals the full meaning of every human life and in Jesus’ birth all life in all of its stages is given its purpose and full significance. It is the good news offered to people in every age and culture.

The unwavering reverence for the dignity of every human person is at the heart of the transformation of cultures, and the resolution to the challenges confronting contemporary humanity cannot be found apart from this single truth. It is this truth that provides the safeguard against the individualistic and totalitarian tendencies that have tragically scarred our cultures, societies and families.

Man is called to a fullness of life, which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase. — Evangelium Vitae, ¶2

Catholic tradition affirms, “The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual… [The] body and soul are inseparable” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 362-368); therefore, they stand or fall together (Veritatis Splendor, ¶49). As citizens of two cities, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one that is to come, we are mistaken to think we can evade our earthly responsibilities instead of discharging them conscientiously.

Christianity is not just about social action, or feeling good about one’s life, or working out one’s own salvation, or practicing one’s faith when convenient or opportunistic. Faith in Christ is about an unwavering commitment to Jesus, His mission, commands and Church.

Being transformed by Christ, the One who reveals man to man himself is the fulcrum for a radical transformation of our societies and cultures.

This Gospel exceeds every human expectation and reveals the sublime heights to which the dignity of the human person is raised through grace. — Evangelium Vitae, ¶80

To the extent to which we answer the call to personal holiness, to the extent to which it is the Holy Spirit living the Life of Christ in us, we will transform the world around us and build a Culture of Life and Civilization of Love.

 

FATHER SHENAN J. BOQUET is the president of Human Life International and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA.

The Immortal in You: How Human Nature Is More Than Science Can Say

Michael Augros
Ignatius Press, 324 pages

What does it mean to be human? Are we just another animal, more intellectually advanced, as science might suggest? Or is there something more to us, something that sets us apart and gives us a special place in the universe? Philosophy professor Michael Augros takes on scientism — the idea that science tells us everything that is knowable — and summarily dismantles it as applied to the human person. Science might describe how our bodies work, but it can’t get at who we are, the truths about human nature, why we were created or where we are destined. Augros’s trek gets into the deep at times, but it’s well worth the trip.

Order: Ignatius PressAmazon

Meet the Chaplain: Fr. Gordon Kalil – Napa Valley Chapter

Father Gordon Kalil was a retired fashion executive in his mid-30s trying to find himself in the Bay Area. One day, he walked into St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco. That visit prompted a conversion that would lead the driven businessman to be ordained a Dominican priest, and later become a priest for the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

Today, Fr. Kalil, 75, uses his business background to good effect as pastor of St. Helena Church and as the chaplain for Legatus’ Napa Valley Chapter. He spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

What was it about St. Dominic’s Church that led to your conversion?

First of all, it’s one of the most beautiful churches. I walked in, and they had a shrine to St. Jude, and the statue was identical to the one we had in my small hometown Catholic church in Indiana. It just overwhelmed me in that moment and I started to sob. Then I moved over to the side chapel in front of the Blessed Mother, and it was the same image we had in that same church in Indiana. It really was like returning home.

Why had you been away from the Church?

When I was 18 and a student at Indiana University, I just couldn’t find the answers in the Church so I left. It just didn’t make sense to me. During my time in New York City, where I was for about 14 to 15 years, I felt this emptiness. It came at a time when I was just getting tired of the fashion industry. It just seemed so hollow for me. I had wanted to be a priest when I was about 9 or 10, but our pastor in Indiana said I didn’t have any intelligence, and he also said that my family didn’t have enough money. In those days, sponsorship for the seminary was usually from the family.

Did that experience with your pastor discourage you?

It did, but then I was also raised to believe that the pastor knows best.

Do you ever miss living and working in Manhattan?

No, I don’t miss that sense of “go, go, go” and the bustle and hustle. The pedestrian traffic is reflective of the mood in the town, which is you have to go where you’re going rapidly, and if you stop, you die. I don’t miss that, though I do miss the incredible walking town that it is, and of course the arts.

Does your business background inform your priestly ministry today?

Absolutely. First of all, from the perspective of knowing about people who are in business, knowing a bit of what drives them because I was very driven and competitive. Also, I think that my counseling of people comes from an orientation of knowing the temptations, which are all around someone who is striving to be successful, and there are many temptations, even beyond what we would consider the norm for anybody living in the secular world.

What do you do as a Legatus chaplain?

I’m available to the members for counseling, confession, spiritual direction, as any priest would be. Also, I think in part my history, having been in the business profession, helps. Now, I’m not saying that’s a requirement, but it has certainly helped. The foundation of Legatus is certainly an appeal to people in business, and it helps to be relatable to them because ‘I’ve been there and done that’ so to speak.

What has struck you the most about being a priest and Legatus chaplain?

I’m continually humbled by the strength and the power of the laity; their faith, their witness to the faith, and their willingness to serve the Church and its ministries. When we went through our founding as a chapter, I looked out at the members and realized every one of them was involved in a charity, not just for the Church but for the world at large. It’s a joy in my priesthood to see the laity committed to being servants of Christ in the world.

Fr. Donald Calloway: Modern-day prodigal son

Rebel-convert to Catholicism resuscitated by Christ’s mercy, Mary’s help

Catholics today may recognize Fr. Donald Calloway as a Marian priest who is a prolific author, speaker and pilgrimage guide. But as a young man, he was a drug-addled high school dropout who had been kicked out of a foreign country and thrown in jail multiple times. A chance encounter with a book about Marian apparitions sparked a radical conversion to the Catholic faith and a subsequent calling to the priesthood.

Father Calloway, 45, the vocations director and vicar provincial for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, today lives in Steubenville, Ohio. He will be speaking at the 2018 Legatus Summit in January. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

What are you going to be talking about at the Summit?

I’m giving two talks. One will be on my conversion story. I was not raised a Catholic, and I had a radical life before becoming Catholic. Then I converted to Catholicism and got my vocation to become a priest. Hopefully, I’ll give the people a message of hope in that talk, especially anyone who may be having difficulty with their children who are away from the faith.

The second talk will be about my book, Champions of the Rosary. Tom Monaghan read that book after it came out, and he loved it. He said one of his staff members bought dozens of copies and gave them away. As result of that book, he said he wanted me to come and speak at the Summit. Basically it’s about the history of the rosary, the popes, the saints, the major players, miracles, battles, all that good stuff.

What was your life like before you converted to Catholicism?

It was pretty messed up. I had dropped out of high school. I was involved in criminal activity, immoral activity. I ended up in two drug rehabilitation centers, was kicked out of a foreign country, was thrown in jail. I had long hair down to my waist. I followed the band the Grateful Dead. I was all messed up.

Did you grow up in any faith tradition?

No. I wasn’t anything. I didn’t believe in God.

What brought you to your conversion?

My parents had a big conversion almost three years before I did. They became Catholic, and I was resisting all that. I thought they were crazy. I thought they had joined a cult. I didn’t know what it was, but one night when I was at their house, I picked up a book they had on their shelf about Marian apparitions. I didn’t know what that was, who the Virgin Mary was. I went through that book, and that book changed my life. That helped me to go talk to a Catholic priest, and after that, everything snowballed. My conversion went really fast.

How soon after your conversion did you have the inclination that you were called to be a priest?

It was within one year. I just fell so madly in love with Jesus, Our Lady and the Church that I didn’t know what to do with my life. So in prayer, I kept asking, “What do you want me do?” and I just felt that call to be a priest. To do all that, it took ten years because I had to go back to get my education and do all the studies.

Do you have any hobbies?

My favorite hobby would be surfing, but I don’t get to do it much in Ohio. I travel a lot, so I try to surf when I can. I also write a lot and lead pilgrimages all around the world to Marian shrines. Every year I lead four pilgrimages. I go to Fatima, Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe. I go to Poland just about every year. Those are really powerful pilgrimages with just so many saints and so many shrines. That culture just totally loves Our Lady.

How do you find the time to do everything?

It’s not easy. A lot of time I work in airports because I fly so much. I put in earphones, tune out everything going on around me and I’m there for hours, just writing. It works.

Sparkle of Louisiana Christmas traditions

Le Réveillon, or the awakening (the morning feast following Midnight Mass on Christmas or New Year’s Eve) is an age-old custom inherited by the Louisiana Creoles from their European ancestors and adopted by the Germans who settled in the River parishes of Louisiana. Réveillon was a time of family reunion and thanksgiving, which began early in the evening with family members converging on households for hours of conversation. In the French Quarter of New Orleans when the church bells began to ring at about 11 o’clock, the Creoles and their families strolled to St. Louis Cathedral for Christmas Mass. A man might miss any service during the year, but he would be certain to join his family for Midnight Mass at Christmas.

Christmas Eve was recognized as a day of fasting and abstinence by most Catholics. By the end of Midnight Mass the Creoles were hungry and ready to celebrate with a Réveillon feast. Family members returning from church were greeted with an elaborate meal of daube glacé, chicken and oyster gumbo, salmis or game pies, egg dishes, sweetbreads, soups and soufflés, grillades, grits, hominy, homemade breads, crystallized fruits, fruitcake and lavish desserts, wine, brandy, eggnog and New Orleans coffee. The Creole table emulated what might have been found on the tables of France during that same hour.

In rural South Louisiana, Le Réveillon was celebrated though in admittedly more humble circumstances. People gathered at the house of the family matriarch or patriarch to visit, then to walk to Midnight Mass. Often, the trip was lighted by bonfires along the levee, and a hearty breakfast always followed. It is actually the bonfire tradition that has stood the test of time. St. James Parish, where I grew up, was settled in the 1700s by French and German settlers from the Old World. It seems that the bonfire tradition was inherited from these generations past. As necessity is so often the mother of invention, many surmise that because there were no churches on the east bank of the Mississippi River at that time, those living there had to cross the river to attend Mass. So, bonfires were lit on the west bank to guide their skiffs safely across the muddy waters.

The Folse family certainly participated in the annual bonfire tradition. The day after Thanksgiving, we started gathering timber to create the bonfires that we would enjoy in the weeks ahead. Much to our father’s dismay, we put willow branches within the wooden pyre so that once lit, there would be popping and sparks like fireworks.

Today, it is believed that the bonfires light the way for Papa Noel and his team of swamp gators. Bonfire festivities are accompanied with a celebration of food. Most commonly served are steaming bowls of Chicken and Andouille Gumbo served over rice. Faith, family and food – then, as now – is a mainstay of Louisiana life.

Chef JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle Catholic, Chef Folse supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

 

Daube Glacé – A festive Creole hors d’oeuvre

Daube glacé is a classical Creole hors d’oeuvre, traditionally beef braised with vegetables; this one is made with leftover cooked daube, which is seasoned and set with gelatin. Any combination of leftover meats can be used – such as chicken, turkey, ham, or pork – along with any terrine mold. During the holidays, try a festive shape to add flair to your table.

Prep Time: 2.5 Hours, Yield: 12-15 Servings

Ingredients:
1 (3-pound) cooked daube, cut into (1-inch) cubes
2 quarts beef stock reserved sauce from precooked daube
½ cup minced onions
½ cup minced celery
½ cup minced red bell peppers
¼ cup minced garlic
½ cup minced carrots
½ cup chopped parsley
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
3 (1-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin, dissolved in ¾ cup warm water

In a cast-iron Dutch oven, bring beef stock and sauce from precooked daube to a light boil. Add daube, onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic into sauce, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until meat becomes very tender and easily shreds apart. Strain all ingredients from liquid through a fine sieve and set aside. Return liquid to heat and reduce to 1½ quarts. Add carrots and parsley then season to taste using salt and cayenne pepper. Whisk dissolved gelatin into sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Break the meat into small pieces and place equal amounts into two terrine molds. Divide cooked vegetables from the original sauce evenly between the two molds. Ladle stock over the meat, cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator. Daube glacé is best when allowed to sit 24 hours for flavors to develop. When set, slice daube glacé and serve with garlic croutons.

Beating professional burnout

An unintended consequence of modern technology and all that it allows us to accomplish is the “burnout syndrome.”

Dr. Michael Parker

Burnout occurs when the excessive stressors of our work lives aren’t balanced by adequate rest and recovery. The hallmark symptoms of burnout include physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and feeling ineffective in our work. These symptoms can develop acutely or over an extended period of time.

Factors that promote burnout are multiple and varied. They include excessive workload, and a chaotic and inefficient work environment. Low inner work-life satisfaction occurs when there is a lack of alignment on values, mission, purpose and degree of meaning derived from work. Those who have difficulty with work-life integration or lack social support outside work are also at greater risk.

Circuit-overload signs

The effects of the chronic stress can result in a number of physical symptoms and illness. Warning signs of burnout include poor sleep, poor concentration and reduced job performance. Chronic stress compromises the immune system leading to decreased physical conditioning and increased absences due to illness such as colds and flu. At the extreme, it can lead to chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, anxiety and depression. Interpersonal relationships are affected, leading to disruptive employees, employee negativity and lack of engagement in work-related activities.

Organizations that have high rates of burnout experience greater employee turnover, lower employee satisfaction, increased number of absences due to illness and inability to perform the job well. Every day, about 1 million employees miss work because of stress-related concerns. The cost can be enormous. It has been estimated that excessive employee stress can cost from $150 to $300 billion dollars annually. Excessive workload affects employee performance through decreased ability to focus, poor organization and decreased engagement in work.

Beating burnout

As individuals, there must be a commitment to personal wellness through proper diet, exercise, sleep and social engagement. Employers can incentivize this through discounts in health insurance for meeting specific health goals, discounts to wellness facilities, offering healthy food choices in employee dining rooms and team-building events.

Mindfulness techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises, practiced throughout the day, also help to reduce stress. “Quiet spaces” where employees can engage in these practices should be made available.

Companies should offer productivity solutions that promote personal fulfillment. Executive coaching has been shown to help reduce the incidence of burnout and improve employee satisfaction, creativity and engagement in work. Teaching managers and leaders how to coach individuals improves teamwork creating more effective problem solving and sense of autonomy in co-workers.

Individuals must be empowered to seek help when feeling overwhelmed. Providing mental health or counseling services should be an essential employee benefit.

Aiming for balance

Increased work stress also affects personal life balance that can carry over into the workplace. Workers should assume permission to detach from work and prioritize that which brings meaning and balance. Flexible scheduling and working off site to accommodate for the family should be considered. Taking work home and answering emails at night should be discouraged.

Organizations must engage their employees to recognize burnout and build resiliency. A corporate culture of expected wellness developed through a commitment to employee well being leads to more engaged employees empowered to solve problems at the local level and focus on providing quality work.

MICHAEL S. PARKER, MD is an OB/ GYN at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Cleveland, OH). He is also director for caregiver wellness for the Women’s Health Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, tasked with addressing physician burnout and productivity, and is trained as an advanced peer coach to help fellow colleagues through coaching, mentoring and wellness. He is current treasurer of the National Catholic Medical Association. Along with Dr. Will Turek, he co-hosted the “Catholic Doctors Show” on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio, AM 820 for more than five years.

WHAT TO SEE: The Star

Starring Steven Yeun, Keegan-Michael Key, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi
Run time: 86 min
Rated PG

Scripture makes no mention of animals being present at Christ’s birth, not even a donkey. Yet, it’s more than plausible: Jesus was born in a stable. Mary and Joseph likely didn’t walk the 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Responsible shepherds would never abandon their flocks. And wise men bearing gifts surely required assistance to traverse afar. Beasts are prominent in Sony Pictures Animation’s “The Star,” a sweet retelling of the Nativity story largely through the eyes of Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun), a small donkey with big dreams. Having escaped the drudgery of grinding grain at a mill, Bo and his bird friend, Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), flee to join a royal caravan rumored to be passing through town. Instead, touched by the kindness of Mary (Gina Rodriguez), Bo and Dave accompany Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem — largely to protect her from Herod’s evil henchman sent to hunt down the expectant mother with dogs and sword. It’s an enjoyable movie for adults and children alike. The animated Mary and Joseph come off as humanized but not cartoonish. Slapstick action designed to appeal to preadolescents gets tiresome in spots, but the dialogue is laced with clever humor all ages can appreciate. Interaction among the wise men’s camels (Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey) provides some of the best comic elements. The soundtrack of familiar hymns and new music is pleasant and appropriate. Although the film takes some liberties with the biblical storyline, the essentials are all there: A young virgin is chosen to bear the Son of God, the Messiah, and she and her courageous husband accept this unique calling with total faith and trust. In the end, wise men, shepherds, and animals alike gather to honor the newborn King — and they were all led there by the Star.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.