Tag Archives: catholic

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.

Father Flanagan’s Visionary Cause Takes Modern Focus

On the morning of the dedication of a life-sized statue of Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, rain poured down in his hometown of Ballymoe, Ireland. Steven Wolf, president of the Father Flanagan League Society and vice postulator of his cause for canonization, checked the weather. Rain was forecast throughout the country all day.

Wolf had traveled from Omaha, Nebraska to the little Irish village of 250 people. He brought with him the statue purchased by alumni of Boys Town to honor the famous priest.

Father Flanagan was born on July 13, 1886 in a whitewashed limestone, thatched-roof cottage, the eighth of 11 children in a hard-working farm family. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and was ordained a priest in 1912.

Tom Lynch, director of Community Programs at Boys Town and also director of their Hall of History Museum, explained that Father Flanagan came to Omaha as a diocesan priest to be with his older brother Patrick, who was also a priest.

ROOTS OF BOYS TOWN

“Father Flanagan saw men living on the streets, so he opened a shelter and called it a working men’s hotel,” Lynch said. Over time, men started showing up with drug and alcohol and mental problems. What they had in common were broken families, no education, and no skills. It inspired Father Flanagan to seek out homeless boys living in junk yards, railroad yards, and even prisons and offer them a better life.

“He went to a Jewish friend and borrowed $90 to rent his first home in 1917,” Lynch explained. “It was an old mansion that had been converted to a boarding house. In two weeks, he had 70 boys. By 1920 he needed a bigger facility to house them.” A priest with a crowd of homeless boys of different races and religions was not especially welcomed in neighborhoods, according to Lynch. Father Flanagan rented another building for a while until he was able to buy the Overlook Farm, about 10 miles west of Omaha.

“The property was beautiful with orchards and crops in the field, and a lake for swimming and fishing,” Lynch said. “Father Flanagan announced: ‘We are free and independent, we will build our own village.’” It was the start of Boys Town.

By the 1940s, the village had expanded to over 1,000 acres. At the public school, some boys were discriminated against and on average, they were around three years behind so Father Flanagan started a school for them. He created individual learning programs and also taught them trades. Church on Sunday was mandatory, but the denomination was of their own choosing. Father Flanagan had said, “Every boy must learn to pray; how he prays is up to him.”

ABUSE IN IRELAND

Father Flanagan was a social reformer, protecting the rights of children, fighting racism, closing reformatories, and insisting that every child had a right to basic necessities. The boys flourished under his supervision. At this same time, however, children in his homeland were not doing so well. In 1946, Father Flanagan received letters from Ireland begging him to investigate religious-run industrial schools that served poor and homeless children and unwed mothers. He went unannounced and was shocked.

After he returned to the U.S., Father Flanagan wrote letters to key people and spoke to a reporter, calling the institutions a disgrace where children were treated harshly and abused. The Irish government was furious and denounced him in the Irish parliament. Undeterred, Father Flanagan vowed to return to clean things up. However, after World War II ended, President Truman asked him to assist governments with programs for war orphans in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Austria, and Germany.

Father Flanagan complied with the president’s request in 1947-1948, planning to then get back to Ireland. He died of a heart attack in Berlin, Germany on May 15, 1948, however. Sadly, it would be another four decades before the truth became public. Beginning in the 1990s, a series of criminal cases and Irish government enquiries established that hundreds of priests had abused thousands of children over decades. If only Father Flanagan had been listened to.

DEDICATION DAY

Back in Ireland, before the dedication ceremony in November 2001, Wolf and 40 other Boys Town alumni climbed onto a bus outside their hotel, 10 miles from the village of Ballymoe. “It’s not going to rain on Father Flanagan’s day,” Wolf announced to the others. People smiled at his optimism. The rain kept coming though. There would be three bishops, the papal nuncio to Ireland, the U.S. ambassador, members of the Irish government, and a letter from their president would be read, and the Celtic Tenors would sing the U.S. and Irish national anthems.

As the bus rolled along on bumpy, country roads, the rain slowed. By the time they pulled into the village, where 1,800 would come for the ceremony, the clouds parted. The ceremony took place under a blue sky. After the ceremony, clouds moved back in and the rain resumed.

Many “God-things” seem to happen when Father Flanagan is involved, according to Wolf. He lived at Boys Town as a 14-year-old runaway from a single-parent home. Wolf graduated from high school at Boys Town where he had been the editor of the school newspaper and joined the Army National Guard while he was still a senior, which he just retired from after 38 years. He went on to earn a degree in journalism and master’s degree in public administration.

Wolf did not convert to the Catholic faith until years later when he had a family of his own and was a board member of the National Boys Town Alumni Association. “When I talk to other alumni, every single one of us calls that place home,” he said. “The essential ingredient is love. For that ingredient to be there for everyone, that’s God’s love and that’s what ties us all together. Father Flanagan would say, ‘It’s not my work, it’s God’s work.’”

CAUSE FOR CANONIZATION

In May of 2017, Omaha’s three-year investigation into Father Flanagan’s life received a decree of judicial validity by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, according to Father Ryan Lewis, the archbishop’s episcopal delegate for the Cause and also chaplain for the Omaha Legatus Chapter. The next step is to determine if “Servant of God” Father Flanagan lived a life of heroic virtue. If so, he will advance to the status of “venerable.” Generally, a miracle credited to his intercession will be required for beatification, and a second miracle for canonization.

Many Legates of the Omaha Chapter are also members of the Father Flanagan Guild, promoting his cause for canonization. Mass prior to the monthly meetings takes place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the heart of Boys Town where the nave on the west side holds Father Flanagan’s tomb.

“With the sexual abuse crises across the globe, to lift up someone like Father Flanagan at this time—an American priest who worked with youth and who did so in a heroic, dare I say in a saintly way—is an example that we need now more than ever,” said Father Lewis. “At a time when morale is down among priests, we can look to him with great pride that he was one of ours.”

Father Flanagan’s work lives on. Boys Town began accepting girls in 1979 and has become a national organization with programs across the country including in-home family counseling and programs for schools.

For more information about Father Flanagan, to download prayers, or to plan a pilgrimage with Mass and a visit to his tomb, go to www. fatherflanagan.org.

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing write

 

Purity of heart heightens the mind

We study to see truth, and Truth Himself declared to us, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8). Only when our heart, our conscience, and our will are pure, free from the distractions of temptation and the stains of sin, can our intellects gaze clearly upon truth. Prudence is the virtue that guides the moral virtues of temperance, fortitude, and justice, but it also depends on them. It is through the exercise of virtues such as self-control and courage that we can discipline our minds to focus on what is truly important and then act to achieve it. Moral virtue strengthens and sharpens our powers of understanding so that they may better “penetrate into the heart of things.” We will not achieve the heights of intellectual virtue, of knowing the true in the manner of St. Thomas, without at the same time climbing and growing in the moral virtue of striving to seek only what is truly good.

St. Thomas was well aware of how temptations toward sexual impurity and other bodily sins can draw our hearts and minds away from the things that matter most. In writing about the “daughters” of the vice of acedia (or spiritual sloth) he declared, echoing the philosopher Aristotle, that “those who find no joy in spiritual pleasures have recourse to pleasures of the body.”

Indeed, when Thomas as a young man had dedicated his life to preaching and teaching Christ’s Gospel as a member of the new, humble Dominican Order, his biological brothers were so outraged that they captured him on the road to Paris and took him back to the family’s castle. There, his brothers explicitly endeavored to remove his mind from spiritual things through a powerful temptation to bodily pleasure. They introduced a beautiful young courtesan into his room, whereupon Thomas brandished a log from the fireplace and chased her out the door, making a sign of the cross on the door with the firebrand when he slammed it shut behind her! Pious legend reports that angels then came to his aid and gave him a girdle of chastity, whereupon he was never again tempted by sensual bodily pleasures, as he immersed himself totally in the joys of the intellect and the spirit.

…St. Thomas suggests that we turn our attention to the “universals” that only we humans can grasp through our God-given intellects. … St. Thomas was especially adept at practicing temperance because of his focus on the very highest of universals, the divine things of God.

…Regardless of the nature or intensity of our temptations, we also have access to the grace of God, the ultimate remedy for the bodily yearnings that pull us away from contemplation and spiritual joys.

Excerpt by Kevin Vost, Psy.D., from his latest book How to Think Like Aquinas: The Sure Way to Perfect Your Mental Powers (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2018), from Chapter Two, “The Power of Pure Prayer,” pp. 23-26.

KEVIN VOST, PSY.D. has taught psychology and gerontology at Aquinas College (Nashville), the University of Illinois at Springfield, MacMurray College, and Lincoln Land Community College. He is author of over a dozen books, has appeared on hundreds of Catholic radio and TV broadcasts, and travels internationally giving talks on the subjects of his work.

Tres Magna

As we begin this new year, the theme of the magazine is Renewed Purpose. I am asking you to resist the temptation of simply chalking this up as another New Year’s resolution topic that is convenient because it is that time of year. Indeed, I believe the topic of this column, Tres Magna, is extremely important to each member of Legatus.

Tom Monaghan

We are all aware of our mission as an organization to study, live, and spread the Catholic faith. However, as we go beneath the surface and engage what this really means, it is about growing in personal sanctity, which is no surprise to any of us because that is the goal of every Catholic.

So what is Tres Magna? This is Latin for Big Three. Some of you will remember in March 2017 my column was entitled The Big 3 of the Spiritual Life, and I challenged you at that time to attend daily Mass, pray the rosary every day, and go to Confession monthly!

My conviction of the importance of each of these has only continued to grow! About a year and a half ago, when the International Board of Governors met in Los Angeles, our ecclesiastical advisor, Archbishop Gomez, said (and I am paraphrasing here), I see Legatus being like a lay religious order. That statement really resonated with me and put into words the sense of purpose, focus, and vocation to which I, too, believe Legatus is being drawn. This call is not complicated nor is it anything new to the church And for me Tres Magna helps to make this call, this practice very specific.

We are all aware that the Mass is the highest form of prayer (or member of Legatus. worship), and while daily Mass certainly is not mandatory, as Vatican II says, it is the source and summit of our faith…In terms of the rosary, not only have popes throughout the ages called us to this devotional practice, but in Church-approved apparitions from Lourdes to Fatima, Our Lady consistently exhorts (dare I say, begs) the faithful to pray the rosary daily. And finally, monthly Confession. This is a part of the First Saturday devotion that I wrote about in my last column, and which has been built into every monthly chapter meeting.

Each of us is keenly aware of the current crisis in the Church and the challenges that loom before us. If we ever had a doubt as to why we exist as an organization, I believe it is for such a time as this. So, I encourage you in the strongest way I know to COMMIT to Tres Magna! Do not let it be something you just try, but resolve to do it and encourage your fellow members.

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

Returning the call of Christ

 No matter one’s faith, stature, professional prowess, or any other advantage, he’ll face — without exception — searing junctures for grappling with heartbreak and uncertainty. Life is chock full of them, with no roadmaps for bypassing.

Christine Valentine-Owsik

Some years ago, after an exhausting 15-year run with a succession of profitable clients, I was jarred by a 5:30 a.m. call the day after Christmas, with Dad telling me Mom had just died. We were supposed to see them for dinner that night. Why hadn’t I sensed she was as sick as she was? Many chronic health problems along with latent cancer did her in at 65, and yet I blindly assumed she’d recover. I was in shock for months, tasting despair at its worst. My business faded into meaninglessness. Daydreaming, crying, and sleeping became the norm. I was petrified and powerless as I drifted from my own life.

I realized I needed to reorient for the good of my husband and children. The hidden toxins of relentless stress, deadlines, long days, and client commitments had eaten away at life’s margin for relaxation, downtime, and an awareness- barometer for what else was going on. Nice retainers didn’t compensate for what was traded off. My cardiac test told the tale — too-high-levels of C-reactive protein. In layman’s terms, the doc said, “Lower the stress in your life and get some healthy balance, or else.”

And it was January — the month I’ll forever associate with starting over, but without a clue on how. Dad was a new widower, and we became his weekend helpers, mediators, repair crew, and advisors. My husband picked up lots of slack — cooking, doing laundry, grocery shopping, shuttling the kids to music and sports practices, treating me like I was fine.

One snowy afternoon I went to my favorite place in town, Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine on Beacon Hill, and sat dazed before the Blessed Sacrament. The heaters hissed in the empty chapel as my thoughts smeared in all directions. Hours of tears streamed to the floor. What did God want from me? Why did I feel so hoodwinked?

Then the wise words of my mother echoed again in the memory-chamber of my heart: Why don’t you consider using your talents for Christ? I had dismissed her suggestion as ridiculous countless times over the years, laughing, saying only desperados did that churchy stuff. They had blue hair and carried rosaries and holy cards everywhere. We were sophisticated communications pros who dressed well, had great parties, and traveled. What would I possibly do for the Church?

I soon found out.

As I was cleaning my office one afternoon — having not spent a day in it in weeks — the phone rang with a message from a new Catholic publisher. They’d been referred to me and needed some marketing help. Would I consider talking with them?

I returned the call. I re-embraced my life and purpose that day, affirmed by The Great CEO.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK  is Legatus magazine’s Editor.

Secret to successive resolve – self-mastery

We associate the New Year with new beginnings, and so we often enter it with particular resolutions to amend our lives by setting goals for personal achievement or self-improvement.

Yet it’s easier to make resolutions than keep them. Most require interior strengths such as temperance, prudence, or patience — in other words, virtues. We need virtues to overcome vices: self-control to trump gluttony, fortitude to combat laziness, and perseverance to succeed at practically anything.

“Habit is overcome by habit,” states Thomas à Kempis in the 15thcentury spiritual classic The Imitation of Christ. He knew how difficult that can be.

“If we were to uproot only one vice each year, we should soon become perfect,” writes à Kempis. Instead, we often grow lax in practice over time, whereas “our fervor and progress ought to increase day by day.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that virtues “govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life” (1804). Resolutions are largely about self-mastery — and therefore virtues

Here are a few bits of wisdom that might assist us in our New Year’s resolve this year

1) Make just one resolution

Perhaps taking a cue from à Kempis, Dominick Albano, a speaker for Dynamic Catholic, suggests keeping things simple by focusing on making a single resolution.

“Because you have chosen just one effective, efficient habit you can adhere to, you are much more likely to be successful,” Albano writes. “And success builds on success. Before you know it, you will begin to see results, which will propel you to further success.”

2) …and make that prayer

David Torkington, a British spiritual theologian, echoes the one-resolution idea but goes a step further: “[W]hy not just make one that will eventually enable us to keep them all,” he writes on the Catholic Stand website.

We have limited energy to expend and must manage it well. So give up some of the bandwidth you use for less vital pursuits and create quality space and time for regular prayer, Torkington suggests.

3) Persevere

Sister Mary Columbiere, a Carmelite sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, cautions realism in that prayer goal.

“Perhaps you’ve resolved to pray more this year, to set aside a block of time for regular prayer,” she writes on her community’s website. “That’s a good thing. But if you want to succeed, don’t bite off more than you can chew – at least not right away. The time we spend in prayer is not about our success at it; it is rather about our relationship with Him who loves us.”

4)  Seek holiness

Setting a reasonable, achievable length of time for prayer will help us persevere. “It may be less than what we had hoped to do,” she advises, “but as time goes on and we find ourselves looking forward to those moments, we can always increase the length of time that we spend in prayer.”

As Christians we are called to pursue holiness, which constitutes a fine resolution. But “however determined you are to be a saint, you will not become one if you rely on your own strength of mind,” writes Dom Hubert van Zeller in his 1963 book Sanctity in Other Words. “The only thing that can get you to sanctity is God’s grace.” We must cooperate with grace, but “if you imagine that making good strong resolutions will carry you the whole way, you are wrong.”

We must have sufficient humility to recognize our need of divine assistance.

5) Tolerate those who irritate

Returning to The Imitation of Christ, à Kempis urges that we get along with those who annoy us. If we want people to put up with us, after all, we need to bear with them too.

“It is no great thing to associate with the good and gentle, for such association is naturally pleasing,” he writes. But “to be able to live at peace with harsh and perverse men, or with the undisciplined and those who irritate us, is a great grace, a praiseworthy and manly thing.” (Womanly, too.) Toleration has its limits, but exasperating companions provide opportunities to practice patience, fortitude, and charity.

6) Curb the tongue

Pope Francis frequently notes the evils that result from engaging in gossip, which he likens to terrorism: the gossiper throws a bomb and destroys reputations. It’s the devil’s way of creating divisions, he adds.

“Every time your mouth is about to say something that sows discord and divisiveness and to speak ill of another person, [just] bite your tongue!” Pope Francis said in a 2015 homily. You may wind up with a swollen tongue, he noted, but exercising prudence beats doing the devil’s work.

7) Fast as you can

For Catholics in the United States every Friday is a penitential day. According to norms set by the U.S. bishops, abstinence from meat is the preferred Friday observance, but outside Lent we may substitute other “works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance” in remembrance of Christ’s Passion.

Catholic blogger Gretchen Filz suggests we recommit to Friday penance in some form. “Maybe it is tried-and-true abstinence from meat, or perhaps another penitential practice such as praying the Stations of the Cross, or even acts of service for the less fortunate,” she writes. “Remember that penances aren’t meant to be pleasant at first, but the graces that come from them grow sweeter with time.”

8) Practice gratitude

Gratitude and compassion can motivate us toward greater self-discipline and perseverance in our resolutions, writes David DeSteno, psychology professor at Northeastern University, in a New York Times commentary. That’s because these “social emotions” redirect our focus away from ourselves, inspire us to short-term sacrifices for others, and “push us to behave in ways that show self-control.”

Studies have tied the cultivation of these virtues to better academic performance, increased willingness to exercise and eat healthily, and reductions in consumerism, impulsivity, and tobacco and alcohol use.

9) Forgive someone

We all suffer hurts, and we might hold grudges toward someone who has wounded us. Yet our faith calls us to “forgive those who trespass against us.”

“Make a resolution to forgive somebody for whom you’ve been harboring resentment, then do something tangible like offering every Friday Mass” or pray daily for the grace to forgive that person, recommends Catholic blogger Meg Hunter-Kilmer. “For most of us, a year of such actions will move the forgiveness from our will to our hearts. For the rest, it’s still a good start.”

10) Ask for help from Mother

January 1 is also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and as such “is a fitting time to entrust our resolutions, and indeed our very lives, to her care,” writes Gretchen Crowe, editor of Our Sunday Visitor. We should pray for her assistance “for a fresh start with a deeper resolve to be people of joy, prayer and gratitude.”

Thomas à Kempis wrote: “There is one thing that keeps many from zealously improving their lives, that is, dread of the difficulty, the toil of battle.” Resolutions are never easy. But with a focus on growth in virtue and a faith perspective, they might just be possible.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.