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Legatus charters in the nation’s capital
Legatus members are called to represent Christ and his Church in the world, Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl told charter members of Legatus’ Washington DC Chapter on Oct. 27 following the chapter’s chartering event.
“The creation of this chapter was to say that’s who you are, that’s what you’re committing yourselves to be: ambassadors of Jesus Christ, ambassadors of his kingdom, ambassadors of his Church, ambassadors of his message, ambassadors of his gospel,” he said.
“And when you do that, like every ambassador, you stand in the midst of wherever you’re sent as everything that kingdom stands for.”
The newly chartered DC Chapter joins a host of other Legatus chapters in the Capital Region — Northern Virginia, Baltimore and Wilmington, Del. Cardinal Wuerl granted permission to begin a new chapter at the urging of Tom and Glory Sullivan, members of Legatus’ Jacksonville Chapter. Legatus launched the initiative with a gala event on May 5, 2015.
The cardinal that day told members and guests that today’s Catholics, like early Christians, have an important role to play in living and sharing their faith in a secular world that is indifferent and sometimes often hostile to Gospel values.
He reiterated those sentiments at the chartering event in October. The evening began with Mass at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Cardinal Wuerl was the main celebrant. Joining him were concelebrants Fr. Bill Byrne and Monsignor John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charites for the Archdiocese of Washington. Then members transitioned to The Army and Navy Club for dinner and remarks from various speakers, including Cardinal Wuerl, Legatus’ ambassador-at-large John Hunt, and Brian Beckham, director of Legatus’ Southeast Region.
“We launched the chapter with the cardinal’s invitation to the business community in May 2015,” said chapter president Peter Farrell, co-founder of CityInterests and PADC Realty Investors. “We drummed up the support of the business community and fully seven months later we had arrived at the magic charter number of 20, and we’re now at 47 total members strong. I’m happy to say this chapter has a lot of legs!”
Farrell not only has ambition to grow the chapter, but also to increase the influence of the Catholic Church in Washington and beyond.
“One of the really compelling reasons for joining Legatus in DC is that you’re probably going to be with people you don’t normally see in your business work day,” he explained. “It’s an incredibly diverse collection of lawyers, accountants, real estate professionals, business owners, educators, politicians and physicians. We have a panoply of professions represented.
“Part of the appeal of being here is that I would never have met them otherwise, and here we share this incredibly common gift — faith. The best part about Legatus is we’re not asking much of our members. We’re just telling them: ‘Come here. We’ll do the heavy lifting, and we’ll put a little top-spin on your faith for another 30 days.’ I think it’s the easiest ask in town!”
Gerry Mitchell, who serves as the chapter’s membership chair, agrees.
“I heard about Legatus about eight years ago from Keith Fimian, a member of the Northern Virginia Chapter,” he said. “Keith told me that he thinks Legatus is the best thing he’s ever found. It’s his date night and a rich substrate of Catholic truth. When I had a chance to join, I did. What he said has proven to be true.”
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.