Legatus draws a lucky seven
2014 ends on a high note with December new charterings in Atlanta and Oklahoma City . . .
The New Year is looking brighter than ever for Legatus after finishing 2014 on a high note. By all accounts, it was a record year for the organization with seven chapters reaching chartering status and a nearly 90% renewal rate.
Legatus ended the year with 2,469 executive members — 457 of them new members. In June, chapters chartered in South Bend, Ind., and Lafayette, La. Santa Barbara, Calif., and Savannah, Ga., chartered in the fall. Crowning the year-end was DuPage County, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta reaching charter-status.
Atlanta chartered on Dec. 3, and Oklahoma City did so a week later. DuPage County will celebrate its chartering on Feb. 20.
Last year was a banner year for Legatus in Georgia with the state’s first two chapters reaching chartering status. The genesis of the Atlanta Chapter began about nine years ago when founder Tom Monaghan was speaking at a Eucharistic Congress in the city.
After his talk, Tom Wessels — then an At-Large member — congratulated Monaghan on his speech. When Wessels mentioned he was a Legate, Monaghan told him: “You need a chapter in Atlanta.”
“We’ve been very blessed,” said Wessels, now the chapter’s past president. “We accepted the challenge and after years of hard work, here we are.”
The chapter held its first gathering in 2006 with the blessing of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory. One of the challenges to growing the chapter is the city’s notorious rush-hour traffic. However, when the chapter settled on meeting in the city’s north end, things began to gel, members said.
The chapter’s chartering event began with Mass celebrated by chaplain Fr. Peter Rau at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell, Ga. After the chartering ceremony, members gathered at Pastis Restaurant and Bar for dinner and remarks from chapter officers and Legatus executive director John Hunt.
The Big Friendly
With a nickname like The Big Friendly, it’s no wonder that Oklahoma City registered Legatus’ first chartered chapter in the state less than five months after it first met on July 29.
During his homily at the chapter’s Dec. 10 chartering Mass at Christ the King Parish, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley encouraged Legates to bring Christ to the world. “To be leaven in the world is the unique contribution of lay Catholics to transform the world, to bring the world to Christ.”
Chuck Zorio, who joined the chapter last fall, said he loves Legatus because it enriches his spiritual life.
“We made new friends and renewed old acquaintances,” he added. “We enjoy being with fellow Catholics and being inspired by their lives and witness — plus being enriched by the speakers and people we might not otherwise interact with.”
Chapter vice president Mike Lockard, who joined Legatus in August, said his experience as a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) helped him to grasp quickly Legatus’ mission and purpose.
“I don’t know that Oklahoma City has a large Catholic population, but it’s a tight and faith-filled group,” he said of the chapter’s rapid growth to charter status.
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.