Full circle: From Legatus employee to chaplain
Father Chas Canoy used to work as one of Legatus’ regional directors . . .
Fr. Charles Canoy
Ann Arbor Chapter
Father Charles (“Chas”) Canoy once worked for Legatus, but he began discerning his priestly calling long before that. While working as a marketer for General Mills, he says, “God began nudging me toward a vocation that would not market Cheerios anymore, but would promote something that satisfies the hunger of the soul instead of the stomach.” Passionate about the New Evangelization (check out his YouTube channel), the Lansing diocesan priest tries to instill that passion in Legates as well as seminarians at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where he teaches and is associate director for undergraduate formation.
Tell us about your call to the priesthood.
I’d dreamed of having a wife and family, so I had to discern whether a priestly vocation was really for me. I decided to study a couple of years of philosophy at Franciscan University, knowing that was something seminarians studied anyway. Later, a 30-day Ignatian retreat helped me to overcome my selfishness and fears regarding priesthood and to trust in the Lord. I entered the seminary and was ordained in 2005.
By the way, I met a young lady at Franciscan and we dated seriously. That ended, of course. But a year after I was ordained, she entered the Sisters of Life. Now we’re both very happy that God got his way!
How did you become acquainted with Legatus?
I actually worked as the Great Lakes regional director back in the late ’90s. My ex-girlfriend was from around Ann Arbor, and one day she said, “I’m taking you to Domino’s Farms for Mass today.”
Not knowing it was the headquarters of Domino’s Pizza, I thought, “Domino’s Farms? I’ve never heard of St. Domino before!” Anyway, after Mass the priest struck up a conversation with me about my background, and the next thing I know I’m set to have a job interview with Legatus.
How would you like to see the Ann Arbor Chapter progress?
Legates need to be comfortable and confident having a conversation about life’s struggles and how their faith and relationship with the Lord help them to meet those challenges and give purpose to them. I would like to see our chapter members enter into a few small groups — forums — in which they meet once a month to do just that.
How do you approach your role as chaplain?
I see my role as providing the foundational grace of the sacraments at each Legatus event. I also try to provide some context and continuity between the events by suggesting how a particular message given to the group at the monthly event may relate to past speakers, to their vocation in the world, or to what is currently going on in the Church locally or worldwide. Of course, keeping them in prayer is also an important task of a chaplain.
Can you recommend any particular devotion?
Yes: the practice of lectio divina and using the Ignatian method of placing yourself in the Gospel scenes as you meditate on the scriptures. Marian devotion and the daily rosary have also been a stable constant in my life, giving words to my prayer when I am too tired to have them for myself.
Do you have any priestly advice for business leaders?
Simply doing your work well glorifies God and garners the respect of those around you. But the Lord has also given you that platform in order to draw the people around you closer to him.
Developing your own relationship with Jesus gives you such a desire, as well as the insight on how best to share that gift with those around you.
MATTHEW A. RAREY is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.