Tag Archives: catholic

Entrepreneurism in the Church – a new springtime

There is a crisis in the Church, but not the one you are thinking. This crisis is a lack of proper innovation and entrepreneurship in ministry. Pope Saint John Paul II famously called for a new evangelization — new in ardor, new in expression, and new in method. Sounds like the call of an entrepreneur! Pope Francis has called for a need for “accompaniment” and going out to the peripheries. Sounds a lot like — know your customer and expand into new markets.

For every one person who joins the Catholic Church, six leave. What we are doing in ministry is clearly not working, and we need to review with candor—with an eye toward measured, transformational impact—new approaches and methods to engage and retain those in the pews (re-evangelize) and to reach out to those that are not. A continued reorientation of the Church outward and further rediscovery of her missionary dynamism is needed. The “new methods” called for in the new evangelization, remaining faithful to the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church, are even more needed today than when Saint John Paul II called for them. For this to take hold, we need a greater integration of solid theological formation combined with an entrepreneurial mindset (that, too, takes formation). It is a both/and. This integration needs to take place in the training received in theological and pastoral formation in our Catholic universities as well as in the pairing of gifts and talents with the needs in our parishes and dioceses. We need to begin incorporating design thinking and entrepreneurism into our seminaries, theological programs, and pastoral formation. To employ people who have degrees in theology and pastoral studies who cannot think like an entrepreneur will no longer work. And, to have the more entrepreneurially minded in our finance committees, but not in our ministries, is a mistake. Likewise the creative, innovative, risk-takers should not be marginalized and needing to move out to flourish. The creative represented by St. John and the institutional represented by St. Peter are both essential and needed.

This integration between solid formation, coupled with an entrepreneurial know-how, is lived out in the mission and members of Legatus. We need you! You are not only the ambassadors in the marketplace, but you can and should bring your professional expertise to bear on the ministries in your parish and diocese. Please again note—while your professional expertise could and should apply to the “business functions” or the operational management of your parish, it is even more needed in the very heart of ministry—helping to create innovative methods to reach people for Christ.

In addition to the need and hopeful rise of entrepreneurism, properly understood, in the Church, there is a need for a greater sharing of ideas. Too often, the programs and ministries in parishes and dioceses go on year after year and people do not know if they are effective and working. While in another area of the country a new method is working and thriving, this new idea isn’t being scaled, put into effect, and broadcast to places that need the information. Further, it is important to have a community where these innovative ideas can be vetted, enhanced, discussed, built upon, and scaled. Of course, that is what makes the Legatus chapter meetings, events, and forums so enriching. It goes beyond formation and fellowship; it is a place where new ideas related to outreach can be discussed and shared. But again, that can be limited in its regional scope. That is why OSV Institute is pleased to have sponsored and funded the new Legatus Networks. Through enriching and engaging conversations we as Legates can continue our formation, but also gain new insights and apply new ideas that can have a positive effect on the Church.

JASON SHANKS is the president of the OSV Institute, and will be a featured speaker at the 2020 Summit West in Colorado Springs. When not working, he enjoys playing with his five children: Nora, Xavier, Lila, Luke, and Ephrem. The OSV Institute is looking for big ideas leading to transformational impact. The OSV Innovation Challenge, located at www.osvchallenge.com, is hoping to spur innovative thinking and find creative ideas to advance the Gospel. He and his wife Melissa are members of the Fort Wayne Chapter.

New children’s books enliven evergreen lessons for life

Children are both a gift from God and our future, so writing for them is no small undertaking. It takes a special talent to translate the world into a simpler, more innocent place full of possibilities. For two Legates, Chuck Ormsby and Anthony DeStefano, writing children’s books is a labor of love in which they impart character-building, evergreen lessons.

Godly insights for everyone

Anthony DeStefano and his wife Jordon are members of the Jersey Shore Legatus Chapter. He has worked successfully in politics and business, and is a member of the board of directors of Priests for Life and Rachel’s Vineyard. He has also been an EWTN television host and appeared on many national television and radio programs.

And through it all, he writes.

Stefano is an award-winning, best-selling author of 20 books for adults and children. His first book, A Travel Guide to Heaven, (2003) has been published in 15 languages and in 20 countries. Another book for adults, Hell: A Guide, will be out in June.

DeStefano’s latest children’s book released in October, The Seed Who Was Afraid to be Planted, is the retelling of Jesus’ parable of the seed in verse, beautifully illustrated by Erwin Madrid, an animator on the Shrek franchise. The story is about a seed wanting to stay in a cozy drawer rather than get buried in the ground. Faced with his biggest fear, the seed undergoes a transformation into a beautiful tree that nurtures the creation around it. It imparts the lesson that no matter how small or scared we may be, God has plans for us more wonderful than we can imagine.

Speaking specially to Catholics

This new book is his first with a Catholic publisher. “Now is the time to start writing Catholic books with the Church,” he explained. “I’ve had the sense over the last three years—and I think all Catholics have had this sense—that the Church is going through troubled waters. I’ve had a conviction that instead of focusing on the general market where I’ve had a lot of success, I should write for a Catholic-specific audience.” It also helped that DeStefano had met the publisher of Sophia Institute Press, Charlie McKinney, and was very impressed. Sophia will also publish his next two children’s books: Our Lady’s Wardrobe in April and The Grumpy Old Ox next Christmas.

DeStefano’s stories, which reflect Godly values and insights, have attracted readers across denominational lines and even no denominations. The Seed Who Was Afraid to be Planted, he explained, is also a message that applies to everyone.

Facing the universal phobia – fear

“I believe the biggest problem that people face—not just children—is fear,” DeStefano said. “People are afraid about their money, and job, and families, and health, and most of all they are afraid they don’t have what it takes to overcome their problems.” Unless we help children deal with their fears, he said, it can manifest into much bigger problems that could last a lifetime.

The idea for the book came to DeStefano during adoration while reading the parable of the grain of wheat that fell to the ground and had to die in order to grow. “It hit me like a bolt of lightning; Why not retell the parable of the seed from the perspective of the seed?” he explained. “The message is about trusting God and allowing him to transform your fear into something wonderful.”

Taking the worst, pulling out the best

It is a message that relates to Christ himself, according to DeStefano. “Jesus is the best example of the seed who was planted,” he said. “He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He died and was buried in the earth. It was the worst evil that ever took place in the world: the murder of God by His own creatures. But three days later, the Resurrection represents the greatest good that could ever happen. The gates of heaven were thrown open and all of us can receive everlasting life. If God can take the worst thing and pull out the best thing, He can pull good out of our life.”

Imparting such a vision can transform a child’s whole life, DeStefano said. “It can help prepare children to understand other deeper truths— including the love God has for us, the beauty of creation, the temporary nature of bodily death, the meaning of resurrection, and the joy of heaven.”

Far-reaching love for kids

Attorney Chuck Ormsby, member of Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Chapter, also has deeper messages in his whimsical children’s books. They reflect his own commitment to God and children alongside his full-time work at his law firm, Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC. He has specialized in corporate law for over 30 years alongside raising three children with his wife, Linda, and building schools in Uganda.

“I went on my thirteenth trip there this past Halloween,” he said. “Previously we built a school in the jungle where a genocide took place,” Ormsby said. It all began in 2007 when Ormsby accepted an offer from visiting priest, Father Joseph Sserugo, to visit Uganda. He came to build a primary school on a one-square-mile piece of land that had been a place of genocide, thereby turning it into a blessing. Pope John Paul II high school was later built and is currently educating 600 students.

There is also a vocational school begun by Ormsby with another 150 students. Students can be sponsored at the Pope John Paul II High School, to defray yearly tuition. And there are also opportunities for covering their room and board at the local university (go to bridgetouganda.org to learn more).

Out of the mouths of babes

Ormsby’s foray into writing children’s books as a hobby has a humbler beginning. “We were driving in the car and one of the kids asked, ‘Why is Dad’s head ‘shaped like that’ —round and bald,” he explained. “My wife said, ‘So water runs off. If it had a dent in it, water would well up and he’d have a problem; puddles would form, birds would come drink and trees would grow.’” Thus was born Mr. Puddlehead, published in 2016 by Archway Publishing.

The brightly animated story in verse is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. The moral behind the silly story is: accept the way God made you, and see the puddles in your life as a blessing.

Life lesson from grandma

On another day, Linda came home from pushing a grandchild in the stroller with a sticky mess on the wheel that had picked up a napkin and a cigarette. From that came the story of Mrs. Sticky Wheel. She is in too much of a hurry to clean off the mess so ends up coming home with a dog, a cat, a duck and a pig stuck to the stroller.

On the first page of the second book, Mrs. Sticky Wheel marries Mr. Puddlehead. On the last page is the moral:

“She learned a lot from this haul
Address your issues when they’re small
Or better yet so not to stall
Avoid your problem after all.”

A third book is in the works. When his oldest of five grandchildren, Tiernan, recently explained that his superhero power is never getting tired, Ormsby envisioned his next book – a story where the villains are such a pest, while the superhero needs no rest.

Stay tuned.

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing writer.

Rallied By Rock-Solid Faith

Pittsburgh Steelers great “Rocky” Bleier — the January Summit East’s opening night keynote speaker — relied on his Catholic foundation as he struggled to overcome war injuries, to become a four-time Super Bowl champion.

In the stifling heat and humidity of Vietnam, Rocky Bleier walked through the grass and brush of the remote Hiep Duc Valley, 35 miles from Da Nang, stirring up memories of a half-century before. It was August 20, 2018, 49 years to the day since Bleier was badly wounded when his Army platoon, vastly outnumbered and surrounded By Viet Cong, came under intense fire there. Four U.S. soldiers were killed in the attack, and Bleier was among the 25 wounded.

Revisiting the battle scene for the first time as part of an ESPN special, The Return, which aired earlier this year, Rocky found himself overcome with emotion.

“I think about those guys that got killed,” he said. Among them was a 19-year-old infantryman nicknamed Hawaii, engaged to be married, whom Rocky had come to know well. “He’s down, and he’s not moving,” Rocky remembered. “He took two rounds…and he dies.”

Bleier, who was drafted into the U.S. military during his rookie season as a running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was among the fortunate ones who returned home alive. But his wartime injuries, said doctors and everyone else, would prevent him from ever playing professional football again.

Rocky was determined to prove them wrong. Aided by the strength of his faith, he would do just that.

A Catholic Upbringing

Robert “Rocky” Bleier – the nickname dates to his infancy – grew up in Appleton, Wis., the oldest of four children of Bob and Ellen Bleier. The family lived above the tavern his father owned, Bleier’s Bar, just a halfblock from St. Joseph’s Parish. His paternal grandparents belonged to that parish, and so his father and siblings all attended St. Joe’s grade school.

“When I was growing up there were only two kinds of kids in my world, public school kids and Catholic kids,” Bleier recalled, “so being Catholic was the only thing I knew.”

Rocky sang in the choir, served at the altar, and learned “some of the toughest lessons” from the Notre Dame Sisters at St. Joe’s and, later, the Christian Brothers at Xavier High School. That Catholic education and upbringing “set a foundation and belief that became essential throughout my life,” he said. “It set an order and discipline that got me through the toughest of times.”

Bleier was a three-time all-state selection at running back at Xavier, and although not a “blue chip” recruit he garnered interest from a number of college coaches. After visiting three campuses, he made his decision. “I did what every good Catholic boy was taught to do, and that was to go to church and pray for guidance,” he said, “and then like every good Catholic boy I did what my mother wanted me to do — and that was to go to Notre Dame.”

It proved to be a good choice for him. “College can be an age of question as you are trying to figure who you are, where are you going, what is important in life, what you believe. During this period you need solitude, a time for reflection, a place to go,” Bleier said. “I found that solace in walking the lakes on campus and ending up at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine,” the famous grotto near the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. That’s where he would stop to pray in preparation for every Notre Dame football game and at countless other moments in his years in South Bend.

At 5-10 and 177 lbs., Bleier was small for a Fighting Irish halfback, but in his junior year he became a starter for Notre Dame’s undefeated 1966 national championship season – the year the #1 Irish tied #2 Michigan State 10-10 in the season’s penultimate game to secure the title in what has been dubbed “The Game of the Century.”

In 1967, he was a team captain as the Irish went 8-2. Although injury forced Rocky to miss the final game — a 24-22 win over the University of Miami — his team and coach Ara Parseghian awarded him the game ball.

Pittsburgh … And Vietnam

Selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 16th round of the NFL-AFL draft, Bleier made the final roster in 1968 but played sparingly his rookie season. Then his life took a dramatic turn: with the Vietnam War raging, he was drafted into the U.S. military. At season’s end, he was inducted into the Army, and following advanced infantry training his unit was shipped out to Vietnam in May 1969.

The following August, Bleier’s unit was on a recovery operation in Hiep Duc when they were ambushed by Viet Cong soldiers. Several of his platoon mates would be killed or wounded in the attack, and Bleier himself was shot in the left thigh. After crawling 200 yards behind a hedgerow, “I said the most fervent prayer of my life,” he wrote in his 1975 memoir Fighting Back. A short time later, an enemy grenade landed near him and blasted shrapnel into his lower right leg, blowing away part of his foot and leaving him in agonizing pain. It would take several excruciating hours and heroic efforts from some of his fellow soldiers to carry him two miles to a helicopter for evacuation.

While Bleier was undergoing treatment for his injuries in Tokyo, doctors told him it would be “impossible” for him to play football again. But soon he received a postcard from Art Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers: “Rock, the team’s not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney.” With several surgeries and a long rehabilitation ahead of him, Rocky was determined to “fight back” and return to the gridiron, even in the face of near-unanimous skepticism.

Field Goal: Back To The Team

But return he did, through sheer determination, perseverance, and hard work. In 1970, the Steelers placed him on injured reserve. He was waived twice, but always re-signed by Pittsburgh. He spent the next three seasons playing on special teams, amassing just four carries from scrimmage and eight kick returns in that time. In 1972, he was on the sidelines when Franco Harris scored on the controversial “Immaculate Reception” play in the closing seconds of a playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. When he signed his one-year contract for the 1973 season, Rocky briefly contemplated retirement, but instead focused on strength training and bulked up to 216 lbs. In 1974, he became a starter alongside Harris. In 1975, he won the first of his four Super Bowl rings with the Steelers.

During the 1976 season, Bleier and Harris became only the second backfield duo ever to rush for more than 1,000 yards apiece in a season. Perhaps his greatest moments came in Super Bowl XIII against the Dallas Cowboys, when he caught a second-quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Terry Bradshaw and later recovered the Cowboys’ last-minute onside kick attempt to seal the 35-31 victory.

The Rooney family was Catholic, as was Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, which gave a certain ethos to those years in Pittsburgh. “There is a certain belief foundation of doing what is right that prevailed,” Bleier said of the Steelers organization in the 1970s. “No one wore their religion on their sleeves, but it made it easier to feel a part of the family.”

Bleier retired after the 1980 season, ending his career as the fourth-leading rusher in Steelers history. His remarkable story and his grit on the playing field had won him the admiration of football fans everywhere. That same year, his book was made into a TV movie, and last spring it was reissued with two new chapters. Today, Bleier is a popular motivational speaker and operates a retirement planning firm in Pittsburgh.

Amid all the daunting challenges of his life, Bleier credits the “foundation” of his Catholic faith for carrying him through.

“I didn’t have to ‘turn’ to my faith, it was always there,” he reflected. “As a famous football coach once said, ‘You pray to God as if it is up to Him, and you prepare as if it is up to you.’ Praying, wishing, wanting, and hoping aren’t enough to succeed, although they are an essential part of that foundation. One still has to put the time and effort into it.”

Return To Hiep Duc

Bleier’s return visit to Vietnam was unexpectedly emotional, as the ESPN special reveals. In the muggy Vietnam heat he remembered the events of August 20, 1969, and wept openly for the men who died that day.

“After 50 years, I saw the changes in Vietnam — the growth, commerce, buildings, townships, cities, the natural progression of time,” he said. “Not as I left it: villages, jungles, rice paddies, trails.”

Vietnam is “still a police state, a communist country, so I asked myself: ‘for what?’” he said. “We lost that war, [but] more importantly we lost 58,000 soldiers…. Not that they died in vain, but we should never had been there to begin with.”

Yet his takeaway from that visit was positive, too. “I am more proud today of having the opportunity to serve my country,” Bleier said, “because no matter what injustice one might feel they have to endure, there is not a better country to live in.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer

When Catholics come home

Tom Peterson knows the exact date his life changed forever.

June 11, 1997.

It was the date of my spiritual reversion,” Peterson, 58, a member of the Legatus Atlanta Chapter, said.

Peterson, who never missed Mass but said he did not make God his first priority, went on a married men’ s weekend retreat. That weekend, the Holy Spirit touched his heart and gave him an ”epiphany of faith” that led him to understand that his priorities were not in right order.

A couple of months later, while attending daily Mass, Peterson asked God what He wanted him to do with his life. That night, Peterson said he had two dreams, one pertaining to the prolife movement, and the other focused on evangelization.

The next morning, Peterson’ s two apostolates were born: VirtueMedia and Catholics Come Home.

Many thousands respond to ‘evangomercials,‘ TV show

“It’s been an exciting adventure, definitely fueled by the Holy Spirit,” said Peterson, whose betterknown apostolate, Catholics Come Home, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In those two decades, hundreds of thousands of lapsed and fallenaway Catholics have seen the apostolate’s commercials – “evangomercials” – on television welcoming them home to the Church.

Dioceses that have partnered with Catholics Come Home have reported seeing increases of tens of thousands of people returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mass after the apostolate began airing its commercials on local television.

Millions of people around the world have visited the apostolate’s website. Peterson also hosts a Catholics Come Home primetime television show on EWTN, where he spotlights reversion stories of people who embraced their Catholic faith after years of being away from the Church.

“Our messages have always been positive,” Peterson said. “They’ve been inviting. They’ve been merciful, and we use the tone that Jesus uses in the Sermon on the Mount. We have found that they’ve been very effective because people don’t find them judgmental or condemning. They find them hopeful and inviting.”

Former ad exec, several legates turn talents toward Christ

Peterson has been a member of Legatus for more than 17 years. He helped found the Legatus chapters in Phoenix and Atlanta, holding leadership positions for both chapters. He was on the Legatus’ International Board of Governors for two terms, where he served as vice chairman. Peterson began Catholics Come Home after a 25- year career as an award-winning ad executive.

Several Legates have played key roles in making Catholics Come Home to become a successful apostolate. Legates Jack Hake from the St. Louis Chapter and Russ Scaramella from the Phoenix Chapter are advisory board members for Catholics Come Home. Robert Trussell Jr., a Legatus member in Lexington, Kentucky and founder of Tempur-Pedic, is the chairman of Catholics Come Home. David Fischer from the Fort Worth Chapter is the apostolate’s treasurer.

“Scripture tells us, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Peterson said. “Many of us Legates have been blessed with incredible intellect, business savvy, talents, and gifts. Through the vision of Tom Monaghan and through the Legatus infrastructure, we have a group of like-minded people to bolster our hope and pave a way for us to be more sacrificial and more energetic and passionate in sharing our faith with these God-given talents He’s given us.”

Ad efficacy tested first – proof in the pudding since

Peterson used his advertising talents in launching Catholics Come Home’s first test campaign in Phoenix in 1998. After that initial campaign, local pastors reported seeing several thousand people return to the sacraments.

“We tested the effectiveness of the ads through focus groups and dial testing. It was scoring very highly so we knew it was safe, and it could be effective to run the ads,” Peterson said. “And then when we did, we saw that tens of thousands of people were coming back to church.”

Several years later, a Catholics Come Home campaign drive motivated as many as 92,000 Catholics to return to Mass in Phoenix.

“I am deeply grateful to Catholics Come Home for the projects they have undertaken in support of the Church and of virtuous living. I highly recommend them,” Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix said in a testimony posted on the apostolate’s website.

Around 37,000 Catholics reportedly returned home to the Church after the Catholics Come Home campaign ran in the Archdiocese of St. Louis during Advent 2011. That translated to an 8.3 percent overall increase in local Mass attendance.

“I can’t tell you how many times Catholic families shared with me how proud they were when they saw the commercials talking about our Catholic faith,” Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis said in a testimony also posted on the apostolate website.

“We are thrilled when one person comes home and responds to us, or checks out our website,” Peterson said. “But it’s also heart-warming to see such large numbers when we partner with archdioceses or dioceses around the world who welcome them home to the sacramental church in their parish family”

Evangelizing means not being afraid – but Christ-like

Peterson noted that Catholics Come Home was founded during the pontificate of Pope St. Pope John Paul II, who called for a New Evangelization and asked Catholic organizations during Jubilee 2000 to reach out to inactive Catholics and welcome them back into the life of the Church.

“John Paul II reminded us not to be afraid,” Peterson said. “That phrase is a similar call to arms that is in the Bible at least 365 times, one for every day of the year. It’s there to remind us, with all the scandals and other challenges of secularism, that now is not the time to cower in fear. Now is the time to boldly preach the Gospel, the good news of Christ, to those who are drowning in secularism and who need this message of hope.”

Person said he has found that most people fall away from the Church after becoming distracted by life’s demands. Over time, they slowly drift away and stop attending Mass. Many of them do not have deep-seated animosity toward the Catholic faith. They just need someone to invite them home.

“The invitation is critical,” Peterson said.

For people who are estranged from the Church because of trauma related to sex abuse or other deeply personal reasons, Peterson said God calls upon Catholics to show them love and warmth, to provide a listening ear and a compassionate attitude; in short, to be Christ- like.

Ramping global message – effort for hope in Christ

“Now is not a time for despair. Now is a time to ramp up our enthusiasm and our efforts, knowing full well that Christ has already won the war,” said Peterson, who added that Catholics Come Home plans to ramp up its evangelizing efforts in the coming years.

Peterson added that the apostolate has plans to expand internationally, publish more books, and release a web app designed to help people identify and combat the hidden vices in their lives, to focus on building their will power and strengthening virtue.

Peterson said one of his most important messages in his evangelization efforts is, “Don’t lose hope. With God, all things are possible.” In many of his talks, Peterson begins with a phrase attributed to St. Teresa of Avila.

“Jesus has so many enemies and too few friends. It’s important for us, his few friends, to be good friends,” Peterson said. “Doesn’t that tie in with the message of Legatus, to be ambassadors for Christ, to study, live, and share the faith?”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Real Catholics who’ve come home

Michael Mark (and his father, age 90), in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Michael left the faith when his mother died and he felt God didn’t answer prayers to heal her. He returned after years of substance abuse, after seeing a Catholics Come Home ad, crying, and feeling God’s healing mercy in Confession and in his parish. Now he is like “Mother Teresa” giving care to homeless men in a hospice run by the archdiocese.

Chris Ahrens, Denton Texas, former Marine and Firefighter. After having a son, he felt he was disciplined in everything but faith. He visited Catholics Come Home website and began his journey back to faith. Soon after returning, he helped his mother come home to her Catholic faith, too.

Daniel Bui, University of TexasAustin grad living in Houston, high school teacher. Daniel was raised in Vietnam in a Buddhist family that converted to Protestant Christianity when they moved to Texas. Upon looking deeper into faith, he discovered the truth of Catholicism and now serves at Latin Masses. He also has discerned the priesthood.

Thomas Manns, Vancouver BC, Canada. When his girlfriend left him after high school, Thomas became a loner, a literal hermit. He was struck by a car, and nearly killed. Upon reading the Catholics Come Home book, Thomas returned to church, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and traveled out of his city for the first time in decades, including attending a Catholic men’s conference.

Legates enjoy confidential support amid life’s toughest challenges

Mike Sullivan doesn’t know what he would do without his Legatus Forum.

A member and former president of the Denver Chapter, Sullivan has been part of a Forum for 12 years. During that time, he said, the 11 Legates in the group and their families have experienced births, deaths, job successes and challenges, and significant spiritual growth. “I look around the room and see guys who are peers on many levels, but mostly we are tied together by our strongly held Catholic faith,” Sullivan said. “There is absolutely nowhere else in the world where I can go on a regular, long-term basis to experience the love and support that I get from these wonderful guys.”

Sullivan has been a vigorous promoter of Forums since 2007 when, while serving as chapter president, he was advised at a Legatus Summit to consider starting the small groups in Denver. He took the idea back to the Chapter, which today has 11 Forums – five for men and six for women. “Roughly 71 percent of the total Legatus membership of approximately 103 members in Denver are now in Forums, with a new one planned to start soon,” he said.

Deeper camaraderie

A Forum is a small group within a chapter that provides a “deeper dive” into the Legatus experience, said Mike McCartney, a member of the board of governors and the Genesis Chapter. “It is a confidential, close-knit group that discusses where your faith, your work, and your family converge.”

Legatus Forums trace their origins to Orange County Legate Mary Campbell and two other women from her chapter, who started a Forum based on their experience with groups in the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Their idea took off, and today Orange County has four men’s and three women’s Forums.

Each Forum group meets monthly at the minimum and begins with an opening prayer and reading of a confidentiality statement, followed by short updates from each member and discussion. Sticking to the format is important and keeps the group from becoming something it’s not intended to be, said Laura Sacha, Legatus director of training and development. “A Forum isn’t a book club and it’s not to give advice and it’s not a social gathering.”

Peer-group privacy

Confidentiality is key and means that members do not share what is said in the group with anyone, not even their spouses. “You have conversations in that Forum you could never have outside of it,” McCartney said. “In fact, that is the bedrock: the number-one prevailing rule is unbending confidentiality.”

This is especially important when it comes to discussions about business. “In many cases,” McCartney continued, “this is a chance to run stuff by your peers, to get challenged, be supported, and explore options of how you would handle business issues that have far-reaching ramifications.”

Added Sullivan: “For some, it’s like having a private board of directors to assist in complex and thorny business issues.”

Legatus currently has 101 Forums – 55 for men, 44 for women, and two that are mixed. Of the 90 chapters, only 38 currently have Forums and Sacha said every chapter is being encouraged to have one Forum each for men and women by the first of the year.

The structure and format of Forums have worked well and so have remained unchanged since the groups were introduced, Sacha said. However, with the push to establish more Forums, an effort is being made to offer more structured training for facilitators and additional support for the groups.

 Where Forums flourish, chapters are solid

Forums are considered beneficial not only to individual Legates, but chapters as a whole. “Wherever you have Forums flourishing, you have a solid chapter,” McCartney said. “. . . Our data tells us that if you’ve got a vibrant Forum, it will be foundational for your chapter.”

Sacha said this is partly because membership in a Forum enhances the Legatus experience, making Legates more committed to the monthly chapter meetings and national events. It also leads to higher retention rates. “Some members renew just because of their Forum,” she said, adding that for many, the groups represent their core support system.

When their 21-year-old daughter, Courteney, was killed in an auto accident in 2017, Denver Legates Craig and Shelly Saeman said their fellow Forum members brought meals, prayed with them, and fulfilled other needs, including helping with funeral arrangements. Craig said the support continued after the funeral as Legates had Masses said for Courteney and called and texted him and his wife, inviting them to lunch and letting them know their friends were thinking of them.

Sacha said one of the strengths of Forums is that members know from the start they are with likeminded individuals. “It’s not like a layer of onion you have to peel off. It’s a given. You’re in that Forum and you can get to the real issues more quickly.”

NOTE: Must be a Legatus member to participate in a Forum. To start or revive a chapter Forum, contact Laura Sacha lsacha@legatus.org.

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Ponder the portrait of a Catholic gentleman

First and foremost, a Catholic gentleman is a Catholic; that is, he is permeated to the core by the Faith handed down for twenty centuries, witnessed to by the blood of the martyrs, and embodied in the creeds and councils of the Catholic and apostolic Church. The Faith is the air he breathes, and his whole life is dedicated to knowing and following Jesus Christ with his whole heart.

A Catholic gentleman is not the casual Christian-and-Easter Catholic, who treats the faith like a buffet from which to cherry-pick beliefs that suit his way of life. Rather, his way of life is conformed to the truth as revealed through the Church founded by Jesus Christ. He lives by his baptismal promises, rejecting Satan and all his pomps and works. If someone pointed a gun to his head and asked him to deny his faith, he would respond like the Cristero martyrs of Mexico: “Viva Christo Rey!” Long live Christ the King

A Catholic gentleman does not hide his faith, but rather, lets his light shine before men and witnesses to the beauty of the truth with joy, humility, and love. Accordingly, he is a true evangelist. Above all, a Catholic gentleman loves Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, striving at every moment to please them, honor them, and love them with his whole he

Second, a Catholic gentleman is gentle. Gentleness is not highly valued for men in our culture. It is too often associated with a sort of milquetoast weakness that shrinks from challenges. But gentleness is not weakness – it is strength under control.

Anyone who has lifted weights in a gym knows there are showoffs who like to lift more weight than they can handle. After one or two shaky reps, they drop the dumbbells with a tremendous crash, hoping others will notice how much weight they were putting up. But the truth is, dropping weights doesn’t reveal how strong you are. Anyone can drop something heavy. What is impressive is the hulk of a man who can squat eight hundred pounds and still manage to set the barbell down lightly and carefully. His gentleness reveals his strength.

Likewise, a Catholic gentleman has strength in reserve. He can defend the weak when called upon, and he can rise to face difficult challenges when he must. But he is no braggart, intent on crashing his way through life in an attempt to prove his strength. His power is channeled and harnessed, fully under the control of a disciplined will.

Finally, a Catholic gentleman is a servant leader … He is not obsessed with power or authority, for he knows that true leaders do not demand obedience, but, rather, inspire it by their example.

Excerpt from: The Catholic Gentleman: Living Authentic Manhood Today, by Sam Guzman (Ignatius Press, 2019). www.ignatius.com. From Chapter 23: “What Is a Catholic Gentleman?” pp. 125-127

SAM GUZMAN is the founder and editor of The Catholic Gentleman blog and a marketing professional. His writing has appeared in various faith-based publications and websites, such as Catholic Exchange, Aleteia, and The Christian Science Monitor

The state of our soul

I am writing this column on the heels of a very powerful State of the Union address by the president and the season of Lent soon to be upon us. It struck me that in a sense Lent is the spiritual equivalent of the State of the Union address for each of us and the state of our soul. In business, we are accustomed to preparing elaborate annual reports for our shareholders or our banks as a way of showing the health of our company or organization. In her preeminent wisdom, the Church has built into the liturgical year this time for us to examine how we are doing in our spiritual lives.

Tom Monaghan

I have told the story innumerable times of how as a young man, I came up with a set of priorities to help me sort out how I wanted to live my life… I called these my five personal priorities. I first came up with the list when I was a Marine, during a voyage from the Philippines to Japan… as I had plenty of time aboard the ship to reflect on my life and goals. These five priorities are: spiritual, social, mental, physical, and financial. As I look back, approximately 60 years since setting those priorities, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of keeping the spiritual priority at the top of the list.

So, let me encourage you to take this season of Lent and examine how you are living your priorities. It is very easy for us to simply go through the motions and do what we have always done for Lent… Instead, I suggest that each of us take this season as a time to assess how we are really doing in living the priorities we have set for our lives. And let us approach this season with the same vigor and dedication with which the president prepares his State of the Union address or we prepare the annual reports for our companies… because when all is said and done, the only thing that really matters is the state of our souls and souls of those Christ has placed in our lives.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

For better or worse –in business and marriage

“Married couples who work together to build and maintain a business assume broad responsibilities,” said Melissa Bean, now a vice chairman for JP Morgan Chase, from the floor of Congress during her years as a U.S. representative from Illinois. “Not only is their work important to our local and national economies, but their success is central to the well-being of their families.”

Husbands and wives who manage businesses together while raising their families can experience special challenges as well as joys. A few entrepreneurial Legate couples recently shared a bit about what that’s like and how their Catholic faith helps them succeed at work and at home.

Keeping work and marriage ever well

Dr. Chris Zubiate was in the behavioral health field when he met his future wife, Leah, who then worked in private equity. She became involved in behavior health through a volunteer opportunity and had her “eyes opened to a new world I had never been exposed to or really thought about,” Leah recalled.

Now married with two young children, the San Francisco Legates operate Ever Well Health Systems, a network of residential treatment facilities for adults with serious mental and emotional problems. Chris is Ever Well’s president and CEO, while Leah serves as an administrator with broad oversight of the flagship facility.

In the early years, Chris and Leah commuted two hours to their first facility – sometimes separately, sometimes together. “Initially, we weren’t covering our bills, and the time away from the family filled us with doubts,” Leah remembered. “Now, looking back, our commitment to the work was never more tested.”

On the days they commuted together “our commitment to each other was strengthened,” she added. “It allowed us to be together as a couple and reflect on our purpose and our faith.”

Work-life balance remains difficult, but having two little ones keeps the home life in the forefront. “Having the flexibility to start our work days at different times, the ability to work from home, or being able to alternate ‘late days’ is incredible at this stage and a real gift,” said Leah.

The company is open 24/7, she explained, so “it’s easy to become engulfed. We have to set boundaries with ourselves to not always be talking about work. Or for me, to not get so emotionally invested.”

Competition and compromise

Drs. Frank and Cheryl Mueller met as undergrads in the pre-med program at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. “I was attracted to Cheryl not only because she was pretty and smart, but also because she came from a Catholic family with strong work ethics and strong family ties,” Frank recalled. They were married shortly before entering medical school.

Cheryl planned to go into pediatrics, but Frank convinced her to join him in family medicine. Sharing a practice, he reasoned, would facilitate coordinating parental responsibilities.

“We have been practicing family medicine together in the same office for over 30 years,” said Cheryl. “We each have our own patients, but we cover for one another and are business partners as well as life partners.”

The San Antonio Legates’ three sons are grown now, but the Muellers remember the challenges during those child-raising years. Cheryl said she and Frank agreed that at least one of them should attend every important event in their kids’ lives.

“Even though our jobs required being ‘on call’ and responsive to our patients 24/7, we sincerely tried to be the best and most involved parents we possibly could be,” she recalled. “We both are so grateful to God and our families for providing the ability to accomplish this goal.”

Frank noted Cheryl and he have a “natural competitiveness” as to who brings in more patients or income, or who makes final decisions on managing staff or redecorating offices. “However, armed with Christian ethics and compromise, the problems get solved, and our relationship stays intact,” he said.

Passions and priorities

“For me, the challenge of being in business together is having to intuitively navigate two great passions of my life,” said Charlie Domen, president and CEO of DisplayMax Inc., a retail merchandising firm he founded in southeastern Michigan around 1993 with his wife, Susan, who is vice president. The Ann Arbor Legates admit “it is only through the foundation of faith that we are able to balance the peaks and valleys of managing business and family life.”

Charlie worked in sales and Susan was in office administration in the early 1990s when they each took side jobs merchandising products in grocery stores. That experience and their respective skill sets inspired them to start their own company offering services including inventory resets, retail fixtures, and store remodels

“Faith and our family are absolutely our priority,” Susan agreed. “However, as entrepreneurs, our business is certainly our passion. We are always open to looking at ways to improve our organization, to better serve our clients, improve processes and communication, and looking at better ways to integrate systems and software.”

Ensuring that their drive for entrepreneurial success doesn’t compromise family needs – the Domens have three daughters, ages 11 to 18 — is a key concern in addition to simply weathering the ups and downs of business.

Susan recalled a lean December when cash was tight and credit was thin. After a long-awaited receivables check finally arrived on Christmas Eve, jubilation turned to desperation when the bank placed a five-day hold on the funds. A generous bank manager came to the rescue and waived the hold. “That was our Christmas miracle,” remembered Susan. “We went out, got our tree and a few presents, and had one of our best Christmases ever!”

Faith as a guide

These couples have in common a strong faith that permeates their lives both at work and at home.

“Our Catholic faith doesn’t only inform and impact our business, it forms and impacts our hearts, our families, our schools, parishes, and workplaces,” said Charlie Domen.

“One of the more practical and basic ways our faith has impacted our business is it allows us to see each person for who they are, the way Jesus sees them, not as a human resource, but as a human person,” he explained. That translates into generous wages and benefits for employees, prayer before meals, sponsorship of charitable events, and a culture that promotes trust and teamwork.

At Ever Well, Chris and Leah Zubiate echo that perspective.

“Our Catholic faith helps us steward our employees and resources to affirm the dignity of the vulnerable people we serve,” Leah said. “A lot of what guides us is opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit and following God’s will. We try to be open with our employees, residents, and customers about the strength of our Catholic faith and frequently make connections between what we do for work and our personal mission to serve the mentally ill.”

That principle is reflected in the company tagline: “Everything. For everlasting change.”

The Muellers rely on faith to guide their marriage as well as their medical practice.

“Our faith has always been extremely important to both of us,” said Cheryl Mueller. “It is important to be compassionate and understanding to patients who may be discouraged or irritable because of serious health problems. Both of us feel that spirituality is an important part of healing, and we try to include this in the way that we minister to our patients and our employees.”

Frank told of how Mass, prayer, the sacraments, and even Legatus gatherings help them decompress and “enjoy life again as a married couple.”

The Muellers will celebrate 40 years together in 2019, “and God-willing, we will work together another 10 years or so before retiring,” said Frank. “It has, in all aspects, really become a family practice.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Occupational hazards – persevering with grace

Married couples know it takes “work” to make a marriage thrive.

Some spouses work not just on nurturing their relationship, but on maintaining their business.

Two Legatus couples who own and operate companies shared their experiences and lessons learned from working together in business.

Mike and Judy Thompson, members of Legatus’ Rockford, Illinois Chapter, are co-owners of Ultrasonic Power Corporation, a leading global ultrasonic cleaning equipment company.

Andrew and Eva Berney, members of Legatus’ Phoenix, Arizona Chapter, for 18 years have together been running Titan Power Inc., a privately held for-profit specialty contracting business that employs 19 people.

Both couples navigated early difficulties to build businesses now thriving in competitive marketplaces. The Thompsons and Berneys also lead their respective companies with unapologetic Catholic worldviews. Both couples credit God for sustaining them in difficult times, and with blessing their businesses.

Mike and Judy Thompson – Rebuilding neglected family business

Any visitor walking through the corporate headquarters of Ultrasonic Power Corporation in northwestern Illinois will see numerous crucifixes at various entryways, and may spot Mike and Judy Thompson praying together before a meeting.

“It’s about witnessing and evangelizing. We don’t park our Catholic faith at the door. It’s a part of us and our business,” said Mike, 61, who along with Judy, his wife of 38 years and business partner, are co-CEOs of Ultrasonic Power Corporation, a company they bought from Judy’s father in November 2011.

Mike and Judy were living in Houston, Texas, when they decided to purchase the company from Judy’s ailing, elderly dad. As a young married couple in the 1980s, they had previously worked for the company until Mike took a job in the oil and gas industry.

When they returned to Illinois, they found a struggling business that suffered from a lack of top-level leadership.

“Whenever the primary owner becomes ill, no matter where you are, a company might run on momentum for a time, but ownership discussions and strategic decisions about the future get delayed,” Mike said.

For more than two years, Mike and Judy worked long hours at the office to stabilize the company’s financial footing and reposition it for growth.

“In the beginning, there was a lot of taking work home,” Judy said. “There were long days trying to understand the ins and outs of the business. Eventually, we made the rule that the work stayed at work and we separated that. Because otherwise, it would be all-consuming.”

Under Mike and Judy’s leadership, Ultrasonic Power Corporation has grown its bottom line and doubled its workforce from 15 to 30 employees. The Thompsons said they strive to establish a work culture that understands that family comes first.

“We’re not resting on our laurels,” Mike said. “We know we’re blessed, but we also know we’ve been put through trials. Had it not been for our faith in God, or even our association with other like-minded CEOS through the Legatus organization, I think we would have been less happy and given in somewhat to despair.” “This was definitely a learning experience for the both of us,” Judy said. “But I can’t imagine doing this with anybody else. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him.”

Mike compared growing a business “in phases” to developing a marriage over many years.

“We’ve gone through a lot of those learning curves, the ups and downs, the frustrations, the feelings of despair and thinking, ‘Why the heck did we do this?’” said Mike, adding that he and Judy feel the responsibility for the well-being of their employees.

“I think Jesus was the first and greatest servantleader,” Mike said. “If we’re not serving our people and helping them to get their jobs done, tearing down any barriers and encouraging them, then we really are not going to be a successful business.”

Judy said she and Mike have also learned to complement each other for a job well done. They have grown in their faith, gotten more involved in their parish, and last year both went on a pilgrimage to Rome.

“Even on the most difficult of days,” Judy said, “We remind ourselves it is our job to get each other to heaven.”

Andrew and Eva Berney – Recognizing skill sets, faith priorities

Like any successful management team, Andrew and Eva Berney have an organizational chart.

“One of the things we discovered when we started working together as husband and wife was that there was a tendency to not know which areas you should step your foot in or not,” said Eva, who is the vice president and director of finance and administration for Titan Power, Inc.

“One of the things we did early on that helped was we created an organizational chart so that we would really be aware of what his responsibilities were and what my responsibilities were, and communicating that to the rest of our team,” Eva said.

Andrew worked at Titan Power, Inc., for seven years before he purchased the company in 1997. Eva, who had a background in property management, joined the business shortly after she and Andrew married in 2000.

“I brought a different set of skills than Andy had,” Eva said. “He’s more on the technical side of the business and I’m more of the management, HR, and accounting side.” The organizational chart helped Andy and Eva, as well as their employees, to better understand their roles in the company.

“It really helped us respect each other, and it also helped communicate to the employees who was responsible for what,” Eva said.

There were some early financial difficulties. Andy and Eva often worried about making payroll.

“We dealt with it together,” Eva said. “Both of us realized how important it was to seek counsel, so we sought counsel from professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, and people we knew who were already in business. We both realized that we don’t know everything.”

Both also relied on their Catholic faith to establish an ethical business culture. They pray everyday before work and tithe ten percent of their business earnings and personal income. They say that God has rewarded their faith with amazing growth in the company.

“We’ve seen that the more we give, the bigger the company gets,” Andrew said. “We see God working in that. And as we grow, our charitable donations grow too. He has blessed us in that area.”

“We’re very aware of how our faith and the decisions we make affect our employees,” Eva added. “We really feel that God has put them with us and we’re supposed to take care of them. We do that through our prayers and making good decisions for the company so they can have a stable environment and go home at the end of the day and be with their families.”

Andrew and Eva are already thinking about their lives after Titan Power. They recently brought their son, Stephen, aboard, and he has already shown good business instincts. Andy and Eva joke that he is their retirement plan.

“Our goal is when we retire to do more ministry work,” Eva said. “We don’t envision ourselves retiring and sitting around. We know the rewards that come from doing God’s work that He is calling us to do.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Spiritual ventures enkindle the soul

Legatus’ fall 2018 Mexico and Rome pilgrimages were magnificent excursions for intensifying faith, appreciating salvation history, and reinvigorating the fervor of today’s Ambassadors for Christ – for sharing with family and colleagues for years to come.

Miracle of Guadalupe

The four-day Our Lady of Guadalupe Family Mission Pilgrimage, September 7-10, has greatly increased in popularity. Legatus hosted its largest group yet with over 80 legates, extended families and friends.

Jacksonville members Tom and Glory Sullivan extended heartfelt promotion for the pilgrimage, having taken the trip some 30 times, affected more deeply each time by its spiritual worth. This year it was condensed to a long weekend, enabling more families to participate, as well as the two accompanying chaplains. Fr. Jeremy Davis, SOLT (who runs a school in Mexico for neglected children), and Boston’s Fr. Michael Drea, national chaplain for FOCUS, supported pilgrims with offering daily Mass, along with spiritual counsel and insights.

The group visited the world-famous Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe – the most visited shrine in Christendom. They walked the correlating site at Tepeyac Hill of Our Lady’s 16th-century apparitions to St. Juan Diego (whose tilma still shows her miraculous image, and which is prominently displayed at the Shrine). The tilma holds the world’s only apparition-result which can still be seen.

Pilgrims likewise spent a full day at Girlstown (Chalco, MX), founded by the late Venerable Father Aloysius Schwartz, continued to presentday by the Sisters of Mary. Visiting with the 3,500 underprivileged orphan girls of Childrens Village there has a profound effect. Many American youth could never envision these girls’ lives – especially their love of life – without the up-close experience they get on this pilgrimage.

One young teenager from Ohio, after interacting with the girls, was inspired to organize a new fundraising campaign for them and the Sisters of Mary

In a time resigned to youth leaving the Church, or seeing them as disinterested in Her truths and history, this year’s pilgrimage saw many engaged with great zeal.

“We had more youth on this year’s trip than ever before,” said Glory Sullivan, “and they add a totally different and wholesome dynamic to it.” The Sullivans said that many parents and grandparents bring their young family members on the pilgrimage – to expose them firsthand to the Miracle of Guadalupe, the Shrine, and the charitable work at Girlstown.

“It has literally changed some kids’ lives,” Glory said. “They engage with faith, hope, and charity like never before.” And they return home incredibly transformed in spirit. The 2019 pilgrimage is set for September 6-9.

Eternal City – the Church’s home

From October 5-12, Legatus pilgrims enjoyed an exclusive immersion in the Eternal City – Rome – during its most enjoyable travel season.

A special opening Mass was offered at Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri – the pontifical parish church of the Vatican dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Mary. Germany’s Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the main celebrant, concelebrating with Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, Indianapolis Chapter chaplain who led the trip.

A exclusive visit to the Swiss guard barracks was guided by former Swiss guard Dr. Mario Enzler, with his one-of-a-kind insights on living and working for three years among Pope Saint John Paul II’s special protective contingent. Later working as an investment banker, and today as professor of finance at Catholic University of America, he says of that special time with John Paul II, “I served a saint,” whom he believes made him a better man, executive, and leader.

Guided walking tours of Rome’s St. Mary Major, St. Pudenziana, and St. Praxedes Basilicas were taken after a special pasta-making lunch at Passetto Ristorante, one of the city’s most revered restaurants near Piazza Navona, known worldwide for its fresh, authentic regional dishes.

A day trip to the ancient hill town of Orvieto, a few hours north, featured old-town shopping and visits to its famed churches including Mass at Chapel of La Badia di Orvieto, a beautiful 12th-century restored abbey, which today also encompasses an adjacent hotel and restaurant. As Orvieto is also a wine-producing town, pilgrims enjoyed a special local-tasting before a private dinner at La Badia.

After savoring a special lunch with seminarians at the North American College in Rome, pilgrims enjoyed a private evening meeting and reception with the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Callista Gingrich, at the ambassador’s residence in Rome.

A day-long Vatican-vicinity walking tour included Mass in St. Peter’s Crypt, and included small-group Scavi Tours beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, tours of the main Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, the Pantheon, Coliseum, Roman Forum, and other churches throughout Rome. Sites were specially hostguided by well-known Church and art historian Liz Lev. The group even paid a visit to Saint Mother Teresa’s residence in Rome, where they had the opportunity to pray in her cell and attend Adoration with the Sisters of Charity in their convent.

Finally, Legate pilgrims attended a special Wednesday audience with Pope Francis, meeting the Holy Father personally, and having keepsake photos taken with him.

One Legate said, “Just being, existing, and breathing in such holy places — and learning so much more about our faith” made every minute worthwhile.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.