Tag Archives: 2019 Summit

2019 Summit showcases Catholicism’s timeless worth in unmistakable beauty, goodness, and Truth

Another sold-out Summit was prized by 400+ attendees this year, at southern California’s exclusive oceanfront Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.

With a customary kickoff on Thursday January 24, the Legatus Golf Tournament was enjoyed on the spectacular seaside Monarch Beach Links. Legates also had daylong options for relaxing at the resort’s spa retreat, enjoying warm sun at the pool, or walking the rolling trails around the resort and to the beach. Daily Mass, Confession, Adoration, rosary, and Benediction were likewise

Hosted by the four Orange County chapters – Orange Canyons, Orange Coast, Orange County, and San Juan Capistrano – the Summit was themed for the transcendentals of the Catholic faith: beauty, goodness, and truth. Special chapter-hosted events included an evening excursion/Mass at San Juan Capistrano Basilica and Mission, themed dinners including an outdoor clambake and lawn concert, and a finale-night formal

At a time when faithful Catholics are navigating unprecedented ‘rough seas’ in society and particularly in the Church, the Summit affirmed the importance of remaining in the ‘Barque of Peter,’ staying the course of the true faith, and living it

Ben Shapiro rocks opening night

Ben Shapiro’s opening night keynote launched the three-day, 13-speaker lineup. As he does so often in media appearances and live exchanges, the wildly popular conservative podcaster, radio host, and pundit fired up Legates’ appreciation for America’s successful Judeo Christian values – and today’s chief threats to them.

“The recent Covington debacle was really about the media’s desire to ignore the March for Life, and to castigate religious schools as evil,” he said, prompting thunderous applause. “We live in an age of the ‘crisis of me,” he said, adding that a contingent of Americans simply seek to destroy the roots of their civilization. “So they find meaning in attacks and anger.”

His knack for crafting affirmative arguments for religious truth – based on the irrefutable reality of natural law that even nonbelievers cannot oppose – was evident in his straightforward advice. “We have to defeat the media on their own terms,” he said. “And though we should defend the good names of our clergy, when appropriate, we should likewise call out sin where it obviously exists, and clean our own [faith] houses first.”

Catholic leadership demands authenticity

Catholic Leadership Institute’s CEO, Dan Cellucci, spoke on the paradox of acknowledging the Church’s current crisis without – at the same time – unwittingly betraying Her mission and adding to scandal.

“I admit, the last six months have been very difficult for me,” he said, given his position at the helm of the Catholic Leadership Institute, which trains and advises parishes and priests in effective evangelization. “But humiliation draws us closer to God,” he said.

“I have a neighbor who actually cannot believe that I do this as a full-time professional job,” he said, to delighted audience laughter. Noting that the neighbor-family had lapsed in their faith, and yet they’d continued to ask him questions and make comments, they all turned a corner without realizing it.

“Out of the blue, his wife asked us if they could come to Mass with us,” Cellucci said. “It just goes to show, like sports figures who wear jerseys to identify being on a team, other people need to see what’s real to us – who we are, where we stand.”

To be truly genuine for others, Cellucci advised: sharing the faith; speaking truth with love; succession planning (mentoring); supporting courageous leaders and prelates; and staying close to the Lord through the Church.

Spiritual muscle fortifies faith fitness

Super Bowl champion Matt Birk, longtime offensive lineman with the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, shared what it means to succeed at the highest level – in faith adherence, as in sports. He emphasized how habitual and dedicated Catholic faith practice – Mass, confession, Adoration, rosary, and prayer – trains a person’s spiritual muscle to be ready for stress and onslaught.

Today, CEO of Matt Birk and Company and father of eight, he drew the parallel between habit-forming training for NFL-level play, and building a fit faith-foundation that can withstand ravages of scandals and storms.

“There’s a lot expected of Catholics,” Birk said, “and a majority of our priests are great priests!” Listeners erupted in clapping and applause. “But … there are not enough priests to pull us out of this crisis in the Church – we the laity have to do it.”

“The Church itself – in all its faith practices – hasn’t changed. Fundamentals never change,” he said. “What changes is the attention we pay to them.”

Rousting roundup

Other compelling sessions featured:

  • Steve Ray, on the beauty and truth of the 5th gospel (the Holy Land);
  • Rita Cosby, on her WWII father as a ‘quiet hero’– and on the beauty of forgiveness;
  • Dr. Elizabeth Lev, on the beauty of sacred art in an age of crisis;
  • Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, on clergy sexual abuse and the Church’s response;
  • Sr. Stella Karalekas, on the dazzling value of a soul;
  • Archbishop Paul Sayah, on peaceful interreligious dialogue in Lebanon;
  • Fr. Larry Richards, on striving to be a saint;
  • Lila Rose, on transforming the culture of life;
  • Premier of the new film Unplanned;
  • Patrick Wayne, on life and conversion of his father, actor John Wayne.

Newly named 2018 National President of the Year, Steve Cameron (San Juan Capistrano Chapter, and featured in this issue’s “Five Minutes” interview on page 48), also won the 2018 Ace of the Year Award for recruitment of the most new members in his Chapter last year.

The closing vigil Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Jose Gomez, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Next year, Legatus will return to offering two Summits – Summit East in Naples, FL, January 23-25, 2020; and Summit West in Colorado Springs, CO, September 17-19, 2020.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

Securing the future

Happy New Year! We have just had our 2019 Annual Summit, which is the highlight of all our national events and a joyful gathering of more than 450 Legatus members from across the continent. At the Summit, we announced exciting news that in 2020, we will be going back to having two Summits a year. As a result of our growth, we want to make the Summit available to more of our members. Each Summit will not be identical, so we would love to have as many members as possible at both events.

Stephen Henley

I want to take the time to also touch on our endowment fund. In your renewal invoices, we give the option for members to donate to the fund. The fund is meant to ensure the growth and longevity of Legatus. Each year, we have members give between $15K-$30K. Your previous generosity in giving above and beyond your dues is nothing short of inspiring, especially as we continue to aim even higher in our goals. Each of you is part of a chapter that, at one point, was in development. We recently ran the numbers on what it takes to develop a chapter and it is a NET cost of $50K. This is by far the largest expense in our budget. However, how can we say “no” to growth when we can see the impact on all our lives and the amount of souls it has brought back to Christ? Throughout our 32 years, Legatus has had a great benefactor in its founder, Tom Monaghan, who has given over $13 million to Legatus and continues to pay his own way in all ways (dues, Summits, pilgrimages). But we are self-sufficient now and should not continue to count on his generosity.

Our goal in 2019 is to develop at least 12 new chapters, which equates to a net cost of $600K. Our national budget is not built with a surplus of $600K, so where do we get it? Either a chapter founder funds the development (we have had many of these before, such as Tim Busch or Joe Canizaro), we utilize funds from the endowment, or we raise dues $200/ member. I believe our two best options are to find chapter founders and to increase our endowment.

A possible fourth option is for those chapters that have excess funds year to year, to sponsor and/ or adopt a developing chapter. This is a way for a chapter to be involved in the future growth directly and put their excess funds to the best investment out there.

Between pages 38 and 39 of this issue, you will find an envelope where you can make a fully tax-deductible donation to the Legatus endowment fund. Please consider making a gift, and also consider naming Legatus in your will. You know the impact and potential Legatus has in our world. Let’s work together to secure that for many years to come!

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.