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Legatus Magazine

COVER STORY
John Knowles | author
Feb 01, 2020
Filed under Featured
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Advent blesses Boston Chapter’s long-awaited return

On Tuesday evening, December 3, with a rare early-season blizzard passing through New England that no one expected, the Boston Legatus Chapter re-chartered after more than a decade of dormancy with 26 active members.

More than a foot of snow fell in Boston in the 48 hours preceding the chartering ceremonies, creating travel challenges for both local members and dignitaries such as Legatus founder and chairman Tom Monaghan and executive director Stephen Henley, flying in from Ann Arbor. Despite delayed flights and changes in their plans, Monaghan and Henley arrived just in time for Mass.

Chapter restored at last

These challenging circumstances — and overcoming them — were in some ways a metaphor for Legatus’ long-anticipated return to Boston. The timing was not right until last year, when a core group of Legatus alumni and prospective members coalesced around Fr. Eric Cadin, director of vocations and director of campus ministry for the archdiocese, who was familiar with Legatus. Alongside him was Christian Nielsen, a local Catholic lay leader and advancement strategist in Boston who consulted on the development project. Cadin and Nielsen did much of the legwork recruiting the charter members of the Chapter, including re-instating former Legatus members in Massachusetts and transferring in members from other parts of the country.

With the enthusiastic blessing of His Eminence Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, the new Boston Chapter grew rapidly from zero to 26 members in about six months. The culmination was the Chartering Mass and Banquet, which began at Corpus Christi-St. Bernard Parish in West Newton, Massachusetts. The Metro West location is near the homes of many of the charter members. Confession was available from Fr. Cadin and Monsignor Christopher Connelly, the longtime chaplain of Legatus’ nearby Western Massachusetts Chapter. A reverent rosary was followed by the chartering Mass celebrated by the vicar general of Boston, Bishop Peter John Uglietto. After the homily, the Chapter was formally installed by Tom Monaghan and each charter member was individually recognized. The chartering chapter officers, led by president Rich Sotell, then took an oath for their respective roles.

Cozy fireside celebration

After Mass, the evening continued around the corner at the prestigious Brae Burn Country Club. Mr. Monaghan signed copies of his bestselling book Monaghan: A Life while all present enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Deacon Steven Marcus, one of Legatus’ most distinguished members (Western Massachusetts Chapter founder and longtime president, two-term director on the Legatus Board of Governors) offered a memorable toast to commemorate the occasion before the group took their seats for dinner.

Over salads, congratulatory remarks continued. Fr. Eric Cadin was presented the AMBY Chapter Founder Award, Legatus’ highest honor. His impromptu remarks in accepting the award were considered a highlight of the evening by many in attendance. After dinner, Rich Sotell interviewed Tom Monaghan in a “Fireside Chat” format. Mr. Monaghan shared insights into his personal journey from poverty Advent blesses Boston Chapter’s long-awaited return in Michigan to founding and leading Domino’s Pizza, his ownership of the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise, and his inspiration to start Legatus and the Ave Maria schools in Florida. The fellowship continued well into the evening, with so much to celebrate and look forward to.

Legatus — crucial to Church and country

“It has been a great privilege to serve as part of the team that restored Legatus in Boston,” Nielsen said. “The charter members are among the most respected lay leaders in our archdiocese, and you could not ask for a better foundation to build upon.”

Sotell added: “My wife Kathleen and I believe Legatus’ mission is important for our Church and our country. We are very excited for the coming year of Legatus programming and growing as Ambassadors for Jesus Christ.”

By JOHN KNOWLES

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