EARLY LEGATUS DIRECTOR AND MARKETING PRO ENTERED PRIESTHOOD AFTER IGNATIAN RETREAT
Father Charles “Chas” Canoy is the rare Legatus chaplain who actually worked for Legatus as a regional director in the 1990s.
Father Canoy, 45, the chaplain of Legatus’ Ann Arbor Chapter, was also once a marketer for General Mills who dreamed of getting married and starting a family. However, an Ignatian retreat he undertook helped give him the clarity he needed to enter seminary in 2001.
Today as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Jackson, Michigan and as a Legatus chaplain, Father Canoy finds that his professional background helps him relate better to those whom he ministers. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.
How difficult was it for you initially to give up your dream of having a wife and family?
It took a real dying to self for me to relinquish that vision I had for my life. It took doing the 30-day version of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for me to get over my selfishness, to trust in God’s will for me, and to say yes. You know, when you’re living your everyday life, I think it’s easier to dismiss God’s promptings and nudges during our short daily prayer time. But in such a long silent retreat with no communication with the outside world, it’s just you and God.
How much have you seen Legatus change since you were a regional director in the 1990s?
With a lot more chapters since the ‘90s, its reach has broadened and its membership has diversified. It used to have a strong Midwest feel, but with such developments like the rise of the western chapters and the unique flavor that all those Louisiana chapters add, the Summits have a more universal vibe than ever!
How does your professional background help you in your role as a chaplain?
Having that initial business background helps me to appreciate the great achievements our members have accomplished. I understand the significant influence they have in their workplaces. The bottom dollar and quarterly profits may be how the world measures the effectiveness of business leaders, but we all know that legacies and what makes effective men and women truly great lie not simply in the numbers, but in the lives they have helped fulfill and transform both in the here and now and for eternity.
What do you see as Legatus’ benefits?
More and more faithful Catholic business leaders are receiving the formation and support needed to live their faith more openly instead of being a “closet Catholic.” It’s difficult to be a bold witness when you feel like you’re the only one trying to do so. The forums really help the members learn from each other and persevere in swimming against the cultural currents in order to be those shining witnesses that our families and our communities need.
How has Legatus impacted your priesthood?
The members are so inspirational! With all their creativity and passion for building up God’s kingdom, compassion for the less fortunate, and joie de vivre, they are great examples of the faith lived out in the real world. They are great witnesses of how God works through the members of His body if we are only willing to say yes and to be available and invest our resources to accomplish his healing and saving work in the world.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I love playing golf and hiking in the great outdoors! I just finished my sabbatical in the UK and made sure I played some of those great links courses in Scotland. Legatus member Deacon Dan Hall even came over for a week to enjoy them with me. A big highlight and dream-come-true for me was breaking 80 when I played the Old Course at St. Andrews!
Who are some of your spiritual heroes?
Hands down, my biggest inspiration is St. John Paul the Great! We are truly blessed to have lived under one of the greatest pontificates in the history of the Church.