For new Miami chaplain, it was an easy transition
“Business leaders need to have something in their life that reminds them to be faithful to the Lord.”
Father Richard Vigoa, 49, a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami, is the chaplain of Legatus’ Miami Chapter, set to charter this month.
Father Vigoa, parish administrator of St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center in Coral Gables, Fla., was ordained in 2008. For nine years, he served as the priest-secretary for Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami. In a recent interview with Legatus magazine, he described himself as a “workaholic” who probably doesn’t take as much time off as he should.
How old were you when you first thought of becoming a priest?
It was my pastor who first said something to me when I was age nine: “I think you should be a priest.” At the time, I told him, “No way, Father. I don’t want to be a priest. No offense.” But that kind of stuck in my mind. What did he see in me that he saw the potential of the priesthood?
When did you start discerning the priesthood?
It wasn’t until college. I was dating a young girl. I was even thinking about marriage. That didn’t work out, but I was very involved in my parish. Again, the pastor of that church told me, “You know, you have a vocation to the priesthood. Have you ever thought about being a priest?” I called the archdiocese and asked them if there was a day when I could visit the seminary. They told me to come by that weekend. So I made a pledge to the Lord: “I’ll give you one year. If I’m not happy after one year, then I’m outta here.” And I can honestly say, from Day 1, it felt like I was home. It was right for me, and it was where I was supposed to be. As they say, the rest is history.
How did you get acquainted with Legatus?
I was the priest-secretary for the archbishop of Miami for almost nine years. I was in my office one day this past September, and I received a letter from him saying, “I have appointed you to be the chaplain of Legatus.” We had talked about Legatus a lot. And, being his secretary, I was kind of aware of what was happening with Legatus in Miami.
What have been your initial impressions of Legatus?
I was already aware of some of the bigger donors here in the archdiocese. So for me it was easy to go into the role because I knew a lot of those people already. Also, a lot of my parishioners were either in the chapter or were interested in joining, so it’s very easy to slide into the role of chaplain.
What value do you see an organization like Legatus having for the Church?
Leaders, specifically business leaders, need to have something in their life that reminds them to be faithful to the Lord, to stay committed to holiness, and to continue to encourage, motivate, and engage others to know Christ better. If we can get the leaders in our community to be strong in their faith, that’s only going to make society better. It’s going to change culture, and it’s going to help the businesses they run to be effective and for the kingdom of God.
Who are your spiritual heroes?
Right now I’m writing a book on Bishop Fulton Sheen, on how he was the precursor to the New Evangelization. Pope St. John Paul II called him an apostle of the New Evangelization. There is no one who did it better in the 1950s than Fulton Sheen.