Date of Chartering Sep 01, 1988
Archdiocese of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap
President Bill Stemper
Chapter Chaplain Father William G. Donovan, PHD
Legatus was still in its infancy—only five months old—when the Philadelphia Chapter held its original informational meeting at the residence of then-Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua in October 1987. Thirteen potential member-couples were invited to attend the meeting. Through Archbishop Bevilacqua’s approval and support, the chapter had grown to 50 people by the time it chartered as Legatus’ second chapter on September 1, 1988.
Founding chapter president Bud Hansen credited Archbishop Bevilacqua for helping the group achieve the “critical mass” needed to achieve chartering status. Hansen also attributed a shared vision among the early members, together with maximum membership participation for the then-record pace with which the Philadelphia Chapter reached chartering qualifications.
Planning was an important part of the early chapter meetings as well. During the chapter’s formation stages, several speaker-less monthly meetings were scheduled for the purpose of brainstorming methods by which “every meeting would be the kind that members would build their calendars around,” Hansen said. “We realized that we were already busy with social events, that we were looking for more than just another night out, another meet-and-retreat group. We held off on the outside speakers and kept talking and listening to each other.” The success of the Philadelphia Chapter vaulted the group into a leadership role for other subsequent chapters to emulate.
United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed the Philadelphia Chapter at the Four Seasons on May 11, 1999. They were joined by members of the Jersey Shore Chapter, drawing more than 150 members in total. Philadelphia Legate Barbara Henkels extended the invitation to Justice Scalia and directed the event, which was a huge success for the chapter. Today, the chapter likes to move its meetings each month to take advantage of all the beautiful churches and wonderful restaurants in the area.