Planting a flag in Connecticut
Legatus charters its first chapter in the Constitution State
When Archbishop Leonard Blair left Toledo to become the 13th bishop of Hartford in 2013, he was leaving behind a thriving Legatus chapter (see page 22). But in the back of his mind, he envisioned planting something similar in the Connecticut capital.
His vision began to percolate less than six months after his installation with an organizational meeting in the summer of 2014, and less than 18 months later, the chapter chartered with 20 member couples.
Founding president Bob O’Hara and his wife Rosanne were the first to sign up. “I was with the National Security Agency for 13 years, so I do a lot of research before I join,” O’Hara explained. “Bringing couples together for chapter events was an aspect that we found very attractive. That sold it for us.”
The Dec. 10 chartering event began with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Blair at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in downtown Hartford. Chaplain Fr. Thomas Barry concelebrated.
After the chartering ceremony, the evening continued at The Society Room with dinner and remarks from Archbishop Blair, executive director John Hunt, and John Knowles, director of Legatus’ northeast region. The evening also included a Q&A “fireside chat” with Legatus founder Tom Monaghan and O’Hara as moderator.
Bill Teed, chapter vice president, attended his first Legatus event in early 2015. “I was intrigued by the idea of a group that combined faith and business,” he said.
Both Teed and O’Hara praised members of Legatus’ nearby Western Massachusetts Chapter and the directors of Legatus’ northeast region for their support in growing the chapter and helping them understand Legatus’ mission and purpose.
“When we were introduced to Legatus, we said, ‘That’s interesting, but we don’t get it. Where’s the ask? Where’s the charitable relief?” O’Hara explained. “Every Catholic organization we’ve ever belonged to asks for something like that. Where’s the hook? But there was no hook.”
Peter Schwartz, a senior vice president at The Travelers Companies, said he heard about Legatus from his pastor. “I really enjoy gathering with likeminded Catholics on a regular basis and having a date night with my wife. It’s very nourishing to be with other people who understand that the Catholic Church really does have all the right answers.”
Even though the chapter has reached chartering status, O’Hara said members wouldn’t rest on their laurels.
“We have 50 potentials on our list right now that we’re working,” he said. “A lot of us are in big companies with a lot of executives, so there’s great opportunity here. I’m also helping Legatus rebuild the chapter in Fairfield County, south of here. I gave a bunch names for people I know down there. The first member from that chapter is here tonight.”
Teed said he’s also looking forward to growing the chapter. “I do a lot of business meetings, so it’s good to get outside that setting with fellow Catholics,” he said.
“Legatus truly has deepened my faith — especially doing the rosary, which I didn’t know that well,” he said. “Going to Mass and hearing the speakers has given me more knowledge about my faith. Now we need to keep growing it and share our excitement with others.”
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.