Legates challenge the culture
Annual Summit, headlined by President Bush, encouraged Legates to challenge the culture . . .
Speakers ranging from Cardinal Francis George to Patricia Heaton challenged Legatus members to bring God and faith into the marketplace during the Feb. 4-6 event at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point, Calif. Click for Summit slideshow
President George W. Bush headlined a dynamic lineup of speakers at the event. In a wide-ranging talk that touched on the genesis of his political career as governor of Texas and his belief in the universality of freedom, Bush’s most moving statements came as he talked about his encounters with two popes.
“I was always amazed at the sparkle in their eyes,” he told the 460 Legatus members attending the summit. “One of the most amazing experiences of my presidency was to welcome Pope Benedict to the south lawn of the White House. I was amazed at watching people’s reactions to the Holy Father. It blew me away. I’m standing next to the Holy Father looking at 13,000 people look at him. The range of emotions was unbelievable ranging from pure joy to tears. I share that with you because it’s one of the memories I’ll never forget.”
At the conclusion of the President’s talk, Legatus founder Tom Monaghan and Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International, presented Bush with the Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award.
Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista discussed the former Speaker of the House’s entry last year into the Catholic Church. The couple also premiered their new film Nine Days That Changed the World. The documentary chronicles Pope John Paul II’s historic first visit to Poland in 1979 shortly after his election to the papacy.
Cardinal George, who also received Legatus’ pro-life award, discussed Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate and its application to the world of business as it relates to marriage. In the encyclical, he said, the Holy Father purposely left many questions unanswered.
“I’d like to think of Legatus as a sign of the creative imagination to bring successful business leaders together,” he said. “I know you can fill in the blanks in Pope Benedict’s encyclical, and I rely upon you to do that.”
Eduardo Verástegui, star of the pro-life movie Bella, filled in for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who was ill. Verástegui, who recently joined the Legatus’ Hollywood Chapter, told the gathering his “reversion” story, how he came back to the Church after years as a model, singer and actor.
“Never did I think that a boy from Xicotencatl, Mexico, would replace the archbishop of New York on a stage like this,” he said. “But with God all things are possible.”
Addressing the Summit theme, Challenging the Culture, Emmy-award winning actress Patricia Heaton told Legatus that Hollywood is meant to be a beacon of hope for the world. She quoted Pope Benedict’s message to artists last year calling upon artists to give a “shock” to the culture.
“An essential function of genuine beauty,” she quoted, “is that it gives man a healthy ‘shock,’ it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum.”
Summit chair Kathleen Eaton said the event was far from humdrum.
“It was nothing but the Holy Spirit moving all weekend — not just the speakers but the people,” she said. “You could just feel the joy in the room. Everyone was walking around with smiles on their faces.”
Eaton, whose BirthChoice clinics were among the first to receive funding from Bush’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, had the opportunity to thank the President personally.
“After I told him how many lives we’ve touched since that time, he had tears in his eyes,” she explained. “Then he thanked me! It doesn’t get better than that.”
The next Legatus summit will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Naples, Fla., from Feb. 3-5, 2011.
Patrick Novecosky is the editor of Legatus Magazine.
2009 Award Winners
Ambassador of the Year: Tim Busch
Officers of the Year: Paul & Sherry Durnan
Courage in the Marketplace: Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon
Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Award: President George W. Bush, Cardinal Francis George, Kathleen Eaton, Dinah Monahan, Johnny Hunter
Bowie Kuhn Special Award for Evangelization: L.H. Bayley
Defender of the Faith Award: Bishop Thomas Tobin
Campbell Award: Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Morris County, Toronto, Pasadena
Angott Award: Baton Rouge