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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Brian Fraga | author
Apr 01, 2015
Filed under Featured
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Taking root in the land of Lincoln

Legatus charters its third chapter in Illinois and the first in the Diocese of Joliet . . .

Three months after its first meeting last fall, the Legatus chapter in DuPage County, Ill., exceeded the 20-member-couples threshold for chartering.

The chapter went on to charter on Feb. 20 with 29 member-couples, and its officers see no reason why they cannot double their membership by year’s end and experience more growth in 2016.

Growth-oriented

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Jeff and Nanci Hyman pose with Bishop Conlon

“Growing the chapter is easy to do if we focus on reaching out to like-minded people who want to take this journey with us,” said chapter president Jeffrey L. Hyman. “I think all of us know two couples like that.”

Paul Green credited his chapter’s vibrancy to Hyman’s leadership as well as the “great events” and speakers that Legatus officials have lined up.

“Quite frankly, that has made it pretty easy to attract people, to get them coming to meetings,” said Green, the chapter’s treasurer. “I think we’re in a good spot.

We have a dense population of good Catholic people to draw from.”

The DuPage County Chapter is Legatus’ third chartered chapter in Illinois, joining the chapters in Chicago and Peoria. A new chapter in Rockford, Ill., is in formation and moving towards becoming fully chartered.

DuPage County is also the first Legatus chapter in the Diocese of Joliet. Bishop R. Daniel Conlon was a driving force for establishing the chapter, and he celebrated its chartering Mass at Notre Dame Church in Clarendon Hills, Ill.

He said he was “pleased to announce” the new chapter.

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Members of Legatus’ DuPage County Chapter

“The mission of Legatus closely aligns with the Diocese of Joliet,” Bishop Conlon said. “To study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives.”

Bishop Conlon also said he’s urging anyone with interest to learn more about Legatus. “I am hoping this is the beginning of a long, prosperous relationship and partnership.”

Nancy Haskell, Legatus’ Great Lakes Region director, also sees “a lot of growth” ahead for Legatus in DuPage County. “It quickly went from one member to 29,” she said. “I really feel this is just the beginning. It’s exciting to see.”

Chapter origins

Hyman, 51, senior vice president of Ultra High Net Worth Client Solutions at Merrill Lynch in Chicago, said Haskell told him about Legatus’ history and mission. When she mentioned Legatus founder Tom Monaghan, Hyman said it piqued his interest since he and his wife had known Monaghan when they lived in Michigan.

As they learned more about Legatus, Hyman said he and his wife Nanci began to see membership as a great opportunity. They approached several other couples whom they thought would be interested in starting a new chapter.

“Before you knew it, we had our inaugural meeting on Sept. 30,” Hyman said. “It was a success from there. We spoke to people we knew and other potential members who in turn told other people, and it really took off.”

Among the first couples the Hymans reached out to last summer were Paul and Sherry Green. Paul Green, the tax market leader for Ernst & Young’s Chicago tax practice, said Hyman told him that he felt called to start a Legatus chapter — and that he wanted to know if Green would help him.

“I had never heard of Legatus,” Green said. “I didn’t know anything about it. My wife and I looked at it, and we thought it was something she and I could do together. As business leaders focused on the Catholic faith, Legatus was very appealing.”

The chapter’s first meeting featured Fr. Leo Patalinghug, founder of the Grace Before Meals apostolate. Father Leo spoke and cooked a meal.

“My wife couldn’t stop talking about how great it was,” Green said. “It’s been a phenomenal experience being a charter member on the board, building this chapter with Jeff.”

Hyman added: “How many date nights do you have when you can go out and break bread with people who are like you, who are on their journey in faith and care to be leaders in their particular organization and in the community? That to me was the most attractive thing about Legatus.”

Chartering event

Paul and Sherry Green pose with Bishop Conlon

Paul and Sherry Green pose with Bishop Conlon

The chartering Mass was also memorable. Bishop Conlon, the main celebrant, was joined by Fr. Steven Borello, the chapter’s chaplain, and Fr. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, the executive director of Relevant Radio.

“Bishop Conlon must have to say no to 80% of stuff he’s asked to do, so to have him there sent the message that this was an important thing to him,” Hyman said.

The reception was held at the Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook, Ill. That location is significant in that Catholics founded it in 1920 because they were not allowed to join an existing country club, according to a 1997 article in the Chicago Tribune.

Mike Caspino, a member of Legatus’ Orange Canyons Chapter in California, was the evening’s keynote speaker. Caspino was one of two attorneys last year who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to stop a satanic group from holding a black mass with a stolen consecrated host. (Click here for a related link.)

Hyman said the talk was “powerful” in explaining how Legatus had helped Caspino discern a call to leave his law practice and serve the Church more effectively. Caspino also recounted how he had experienced resistance from forces that he attributed to the devil.

“He just blew everyone away,” Hyman said. “It was emotional and had a very strong impact.”

Now that the “training wheels are off,” he said, his chapter is focused on growing membership and organizing activities. “Legatus is a great opportunity to meet monthly with like-minded leaders that have the same goal in mind — and that goal is to grow in faith and get to heaven.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Massachusetts-based writer.

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