Tag Archives: catholic

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.

Crash test

Tom Wallace was flying in a plane over Alaska last summer when it crashed into a mountain, without any warning. “The first thing I remember thinking was, ‘What happened?’” said Wallace, who was one of 10 passengers flying in a small float plane, on their way home from an Alaskan fishing trip on the morning of July 10, 2018.

“People didn’t know exactly what happened at first,” said Wallace, 76, also president of Legatus’ Ventura/North Los Angeles Chapter.

A routine flight became a harrowing experience for Wallace, his 42-year-old son Michael, and all the other passengers who huddled under the small plane’s wings in the cold and rain for nearly three hours until the Coast Guard discovered them.

“I have the utmost respect for the Coast Guard and their rescue capabilities,” said Wallace, a former Army helicopter pilot who flew combat missions in Vietnam and was shot down several times.

A former Navy Seal rappelled from the helicopter and helped all 11 survivors, including the pilot, get lifted up into the chopper, which was hovering about 100 feet overhead. The rescuer later told Wallace that his crew usually doesn’t find people alive after the kind of crash they survived.

“He called it ‘the miracle on the mountain,’” Wallace said.

Just an ordinary trip, until…

As they have done for 10 years, Wallace and his son, both of whom live in California, went on a fishing trip to Alaska.

Last July, they spent three days fishing at a small resort on Noyes Island, located in Alaska’s inland waterways. They enjoyed three days fishing with several other people, and had breakfast and dinner together.

The weather had been good during those three days. But on the morning of July 10, they were scheduled to leave the resort by taking a float plane to Ketchikan, where they would then catch a commercial flight home.

That morning, a heavy rainstorm came in that delayed their plane. Still, three other float planes picked up passengers from the fishing resort without any problems. Wallace, his son, five other men and three women boarded their plane when it arrived.

The pilot took the normal route to Ketchikan, but ran into bad weather that dropped visibility from several miles to virtually nothing. The pilot turned around to find another way around the problem area, but ran into more bad weather.

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board later said that the bad weather and poor visibility caused the pilot to become disoriented.

“In the back of my mind, I figured, ‘Well, it’s pretty safe being on a float plane. If something goes wrong, you just land on the water, and there’s plenty of water around,” said Michael Wallace, who works in the development office at Santa Clara University.

Michael, who was sitting a few rows ahead of his father, did not notice that anything was wrong at first when the pilot began an emergency climb. The pilot took a hard right turn, almost stalling the plane and losing momentum just before it collided into the mountainside.

… the mountain meeting

“It was like a rock falling from a high building. It was a solid impact,” said Tom Wallace, who suddenly found himself on top of the passenger across the aisle.

“There was really no warning that we were going to crash,” he said. “The pilot didn’t say, ‘Brace yourselves, we’re in a bad situation.’ The first thing you knew was the crash.”

Moments after, disoriented passengers found themselves on top of each other.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, what was that?’ Michael said. “And then there was the realization that, ‘We just crashed.’”

“Then you kind of scan your body. You say, ‘All right, my head’s okay, my shoulders, my arms, my legs,’” Michael said. “I look down on my feet, and my right foot, my shoe was sliced off. My right foot had a fair amount of blood on it. It looked pretty gnarly when I looked at it.”

With the endorphins likely kicking into emergency mode, Michael said he did not immediately feel any pain. He found his right shoe, slid his bloody foot into it and made his way out of the plane through the co-pilot’s door.

Meanwhile, Tom Wallace noticed a toxic odor of gasoline making its way through the plane’s cabin. The crash had pushed the plane’s pontoons up to the cabin, blocking the rear doors. The passengers had to leave through the pilots’ doors at the front.

It took about 30 minutes to get everyone out. Tom Wallace was the last passenger off the plane.

Huddling in cold rain

Outside, the passengers huddled under the wings as the pilot used a rope to secure the plane from sliding off the mountain. The survivors used the plane’s emergency supply of thermal blankets to keep themselves warm in the cold and rain.

“I didn’t want the wedding to be turned into a funeral,” he said.

Some of the passengers, some of whom were already showing signs of hypothermia, were concerned about how long they would be exposed to the elements. Some of them prayed to be rescued.

Fog blinded rescuers

Almost three hours after they crashed, the first rescue helicopters flew over the site, but the heavy fog and clouds made visibility virtually zero. Even though the passengers on the ground could hear the helicopter overhead, they never saw it.

“We could hear it come in and we could hear it leave,” Michael said. “That was heartbreaking.”

A short time later, the silhouette of a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter slowly emerged through the clouds. The crew lowered a large basket to lift each survivor into the helicopter, which was quickly packed to capacity, so much so that the former Navy Seal strapped the last survivor — the pilot — to himself and left the basket behind.

“We were basically sitting on top of each other,” said Michael, who suffered broken bones in both feet. He was in a wheelchair and crutches for ten weeks. He is walking, regaining his strength, and hopes to get back to competitive running by mid-January.

“It’s hard to even fathom that I’ve gone through that experience,” said Michael, who is married and is a father to two young boys.

Several other passengers were treated for back injuries. Tom Wallace had bruising on his chest, a strained neck, and five small fractures in his left knee. Still, it could have been much worse. Given that there were no fatalities, he said the group’s guardian angels “were surrounding us.”

“We were all truly blessed that we were able to get off that mountain,” Tom Wallace said. “It gives you a much greater feeling of purpose when you survive something like that. It means the Lord was not ready to take us.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Making Room At The Inn

It was the vacation of a lifetime for Paul Wilkes and his wife, Tracy, when they booked a four-week trip to India in 2006. They were simply looking for “something a little different.” Their two boys were grown. Tracy ran a home for underprivileged kids in Wilmington, North Carolina. Paul was a successful author and freelance writer for such notable publications as The Atlantic and the New York Times and had taught journalism at Columbia and Notre Dame.

A side trip on their way to visit a Trappist monastery, however, became the detour of their very lives. That fateful trip resulted in Paul founding the Home of Hope in India with the mission to build homes for orphaned and abandoned girls.


After breakfast at their hotel in the city of Kochi, a personal driver picked up Paul and Tracy for some sightseeing. The driver talked proudly of Kochi’s past and present. Paul was very distracted by the many crippled and maimed children—mostly girls— begging on the streets.

The Wilkes planned to visit a Trappist monastery later that afternoon but at two o’clock, the driver said they had more time so was there anything else they would like to see? “I’m Catholic,” Paul said. “There are so many sick and bedraggled kids begging on the street. What is my Church doing about this?”

“I could tell you,” the driver said, “but, if you don’t mind, sir, I’ll show you.”

Soon, they entered the gates of Prathyasha Bhavan—which translates as Home of Hope— an orphanage that housed 75 girls run by the Salesian Sisters. The gates swung open and a group of girls came running out, smiling and waving at the visitors.

Sisters Sophie and Thresia showed Paul and Tracy around, then offered them some tea. The sisters had asked for nothing, but Paul was ready to offer a donation when he noticed a little girl wearing sunglasses standing near Sister Sophie. It seemed out of place. They can’t even afford rice, Paul thought recalling the meager pantry he had just seen. “Why is she wearing sunglasses?” he asked.

Sister took off the glasses. One of Reena’s eyes was dark and clear, but the other was scarred and dull. “Sister told me that six-year-old Reena was begging on the street with her mother who was mentally ill, when they were separated in the crowd,” Paul said. “Reena was kidnapped by the ‘beggar Mafia,’ who routinely do this sort of thing. They held her down and gouged her eye to make her a “better beggar”. It made her more pitiful, so people would give more money, which the beggar Mafia would immediately take.

“I grimaced in horror,” Paul said. “And she returned my look of horror with the most beautiful and trusting smile I had ever seen.”

Paul and Tracy continued on to the Trappist monastery, but their minds and hearts remained at the Home of Hope. It is mostly girls that beg since boys in India are more valued and expected to work to help support their families. Although the Salesian Sisters gave loving care to the girls, they lived in deplorable conditions and slept on a concrete floor at night.

Before leaving Kochi, Paul felt compelled to see the Home of Hope again and made a silent commitment: Reena, somehow, some way, I want to — I AM – going to make your future better than your horrible past.


Back at home, Reena’s smile stayed with Paul just as the words of his third-grade teacher, Sr. Mary at St. Benedict’s in Cleveland, Ohio, had done. “Does it matter that you were alive? Will this world be a better place because of you?” she had asked them.

Paul’s grandparents immigrated from Slovakia. His parents had only sixth-grade educations and his dad worked in a coal mine, but there was always room for more at the dinner table. The lessons of his childhood never left Paul; charity was a constant alongside his successful journalism career.

Paul’s first thought was to raise money for foam mattresses. He succeeded but the mattresses failed. There was no room to store them and they quickly became dirty on the floor. At that point at 68 years old, working on another book [he has 20 in all now] and teaching part-time at the University of North Carolina, Paul had just begun receiving Social Security. The check amount was about the same as his teaching job.

Paul considered that those girls in India did not need mattresses; they needed a respectable home with beds. He decided to live simply on just Social Security and his mission began. Rather than try to repair a dilapidated structure, Paul started raising money for a new home. “I started speaking in parishes and Rotary Clubs and anywhere I could,” Paul said. “I had no administrative experience, but there’s a thing called faith.”

Paul raised enough money and let the Salesian Sisters supervise building the home. Once that was complete, knowing there were 500,000 other girls on the streets of India, Paul kept going. Thirteen years later, 12 homes have been funded and 4,000 girls have been helped. “Some only stayed a few days or weeks until we could figure out their situation and return them to responsible relatives,” Paul said. “Other girls stayed and have gone on to school and/ or married. There are 1,000 girls currently in residence.”


Legates John Clegg and his wife Clare met Paul years ago when he came to speak at their parish, Our Lady of the Star, in Ponte Vedra Beach. The Cleggs are among the founding members of the Jacksonville, Florida Chapter, and John served as president from 2014-2015. “I found Paul’s story in dropping everything to do this remarkable,” John said. “I would call Paul four or five times a year to keep in touch.”

Six months ago, after construction on the 11th home began, John surprised Paul with an offer to completely pay for home number 12. That home, called The Little Flower in Imphal, India, is now under construction.

John explained that supporting the Homes of Hope mission is a natural extension of his years in pro-life work. He appreciates that around 95 percent of all donations go directly to building homes. Paul takes no salary.

“What he does is so simple,” John said. “He finds nuns from the orders of Salesians, Carmelites, and Franciscan Clarists who are already caring for abandoned children, and he builds them a home. It costs around $300,000 and once it’s built, the sisters are self-sufficient. I am hoping this [funding an entire home] will set a trend which will make Paul’s life easier. If money were no object, he could build more homes.”

John writes back and forth with the sisters of The Little Flower home who call him “Uncle” and send their heartfelt thanks. “When the new home is ready, I will go out for the dedication,” he said.

Today, at age 80, Paul sometimes visits during construction and makes a final visit at the time of dedication, frequently accompanied with his wife. “When I go to India, my feet never touch the ground,” he said. “The feeling of those little hands grabbing your hand and the back of your shirt—it doesn’t get any better than that.”

For more information, visit HomeofHopeIndia.org  

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing writer.

The Quiet Man headed home

“Based on the Church’s teachings, his soul was wiped clean, with Baptism and the Last Rites. He probably made a direct shot to the high heavens,” said Patrick Wayne, the son of the legendary actor whose name still resonates with audiences nearly 40 years after his death.

“I think what my dad represents to people, what they find attractive, is that he, not only on the screen but in his personal life, represented a character, the icon of the Old West, that this is an individual who stands on his own, who works hard to succeed,” said Patrick, 79, who himself enjoyed a successful film career.

Patrick Wayne, the chairman of the John Wayne Cancer Institute, will be one of the Legatus Summit 2019 speakers in January. He will be speaking about his famous father, the role that faith played in his life, and his family’s work to carry on the Duke’s legacy through funding cancer research.

“We had no idea how long the institute would last,” Patrick said. “We thought we would ride this and if his name resonated with the public, great. Not one of us would have expected that his celebrity and popularity would still resonate, and it does.”

An ambitious athlete

John Wayne was born Marion Mitchell Morrison in 1907 in a small town in Iowa. His parents moved the family west to California, eventually settling in Glendale. The young John Wayne was a gifted and driven athlete.

As a young man, my dad was ambitious. He wanted to succeed. He wanted to do something,” Patrick said.

John Wayne had dreams of attending the U.S. Naval Academy, but did not get admitted. However, he excelled in football and landed a scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In his first year of college, Wayne broke his shoulder while surfing, and lost his football scholarship. He went to work in the local film studios, where USC football players often worked in the off-season, helping with props and working as an extra.

Within a decade, John Wayne was a movie star.

“If he had gone to the Naval Academy, he would have become the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Patrick said. “If he had gone to school, he would have been president of the United States. He was going to succeed in some form, in some way. Fate just took him into the movie business.”

Then to the movies

John Wayne appeared in more than 175 movies. He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. He played dozens of cowboys in Westerns. He starred alongside Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man and portrayed soldiers in The Longest Day and The Green Berets.

“His roles in films were cookie-cutter, but not in a bad way,” said Patrick, who explained that his father was advised at a young age by the actor Harry Carey that he did not need to portray many different characters because moviegoers wanted their stars to be consistent, if not predictable.

“Right or wrong, good or bad, he chose to follow that route. I guess it paid off for him. He was still pretty successful,” said Patrick, who appeared in 40 films, 11 with his father, including The Quiet Man and The Green Berets.

“What came through the screen was his presence,” Patrick said. “When he worked in films, you were drawn to him. As an audience you can’t take your eyes off him. Without any trickery or chicanery, he was just like that.”

Referring to actors who would “be doing all sorts of schtick” when they were in a scene with the Duke, Patrick said he would tell his father, “Is this guy kidding?” The elder Wayne would just respond, “I don’t care about that. No one is going to be looking at him anyway.”

While a director could give Patrick particular instructions about a role, they would easily be vetoed by his father’s input.

“My dad would say, ‘Do it this way,’” Patrick said. “And I’d say, ‘Okay, Dad.’”

A man’s man

Audiences the world over saw John Wayne the movie star, the icon of masculinity. To Patrick, he was first and foremost, Dad.

“In his personal life, he had a great sense of humor, which from time to time was shown in the films, but not to the extent that he had,” Patrick said. “He was a warm, sensitive, feeling person, a very thoughtful, considerate, bright person. He was a much more well-rounded person than what you might see in the films.”

What Hollywood accurately captured was the Duke’s larger-than-life presence.

“He could walk into a room and literally everybody would stop talking,” Patrick said. “By the same token, in five minutes he was as charming as they come. He would warm you up and you would be talking to him and you would think from the conversation, from the comfort level, that you had been friends with him for your entire life.”

John Wayne grew up Presbyterian, but he was not churchgoing. He was divorced three times. His first wife, Patrick’s mother Josephine, was a devout Catholic who never remarried after their divorce but never stopped praying for him.

“For the last eight years of her life, she was a daily communicant,” Patrick said. “My mother was driven to be a decent person, and she had the structure of religion as a backbone.”

While John Wayne rarely darkened the doors of a church, Patrick said his father was “one of the most decent men” he still has ever met.

“He believed in the core values of loyalty, honesty, reliability and he lived his life that way,” Patrick said. “That’s the way he treated other people, with respect.”

Fighting cancer, embracing the Church

Josephine’s example and prayers had their intended effect. According to his biographies, Wayne was a spiritual person who hand-wrote letters to God as a way of praying. He also befriended Archbishop Tomas Clavel of Panama.

In the mid-1960s, The Duke successfully fought lung cancer, but by 1978, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He deteriorated quickly.

In May 1979, with Wayne in a coma and dying of cancer, the hospital chaplain, a Catholic priest, came to visit him. Patrick said he went into the room and asked his father if it was okay for the chaplain to see him.

“My dad opened his eyes and said, ‘Okay.’ That was the first thing he said in seven days. I was stunned,” said Patrick, who added that the chaplain emerged about 20 minutes later and told him that he had baptized his father and given him the anointing of the sick.

“He was conscious and made a conscious acceptance of it,” Patrick said. “And two hours later, he passed away.”

Continuing legacy

Today, the John Wayne Cancer Institute carries on The Duke’s legacy. Located in Santa Monica, California and affiliated with the Saint John’s Health Center, the institute has expanded its research efforts to fight many different diseases, including urologic, thoracic, endocrine, gynecologic, and neurologic cancers.

Patrick’s son is also on the board of directors, and his grandsons are showing interest in continuing the work of the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

“So it’s a generational thing,” Patrick said. “There are going to be Waynes to take up the reins for a long time to come.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Catholics in waiting: celebrating Advent

The feast of Christmas was formally established as December 25 in the early fourth century by Pope Julius I. Not long after, Christians in France began observing a 40-day period of preparation for Christmas involving penance and fasting. By the early seventh century, Pope Gregory had written liturgical prayers for the Advent season, and the practice of Advent as a penitential season continued into the middle ages. Later developments led to the four-Sunday celebration of the season we celebrate today.

According to the Church norms, advent — which derives from a Latin term meaning “coming” — is about more than just the birth of Christ. Instead, it has a dual character involving both “comings” of Christ.

The eight days leading up to Christmas, from December 17 to December 24, focus on preparations to celebrate Christ’s birth, while the period from the First Sunday of Advent (which falls on December 2 this year) through December 16 directs our hearts and minds to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time.

Thus Advent “is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope,” according to a 2001 document of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The Church no longer imposes specific penitential practices during this season, but repentance remains an Advent theme. Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum pontifical university in Rome, said that while Advent is “more centered on spiritual purification and preparation to receive the Lord,” it also “has a certain penitential character,” even if not as pronounced as that of Lent.

That call to penance is reflected in the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Advent, which speaks of John the Baptist preparing the way of the Lord by “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (see Lk 3:1-6).

Catholic devotions and traditions of Advent can help us prepare for the two “comings” of Christ and keep us mindful of the call to repentance during this season.

“Popular piety,” the Vatican document states, “intuitively understands that it is not possible coherently to celebrate the birth of Him ‘who saves his people from their sins’ without some effort to overcome sin in one’s own life, while waiting vigilantly for Him who will return at the end of time.”

Common traditions

Advent wreaths, Jesse trees, Christmas trees, and Nativity scenes are a few of the most common traditions.

The Advent wreath, a custom that originated in Germany, consists of a circular wreath of evergreen branches into which four candles – usually three purple candles and one rose candle – representing the four weeks of Advent are inserted. The color purple indicates the season’s penitential character, while the rose candle represents the Third Sunday in Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, a day for rejoicing as the Christmas feast draws near.

Lighting the candles each week accompanied by prayer and hymns symbolizes our hope and expectation for the two comings of Christ.

The Jesse Tree tradition dates to the Middle Ages. To a small bare tree is added each day a new ornament symbolic of God’s plan of redemption – depicting, for example, Noah’s ark or the Ten Commandments. Reading the relevant Scripture passages provides a way to reflect on salvation history.

The evergreen Christmas tree symbolizes life; it further reminds us of the tree of Eden, setting for mankind’s original sin, and the wood of the Cross by which Christ atoned for our sins. A Nativity scene with the manger left empty keeps us mindful that we await the fulfillment of our salvation in Christ.

Feasts and fasting

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) is a holy day of obligation commemorating not the Christ child, as is sometimes erroneously thought, but the Virgin Mary, who was conceived without sin in preparation for her vocation as the Mother of God.

Many families in the United States celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), but a lesser-known Scandinavian tradition marks St. Lucy Day (December 13). The eldest daughter of a family dons a white dress, a red sash, and a crown wreath of candles as she takes pastries to members of her household in the pre-dawn hour. It recalls St. Lucy, a third-century martyr who carried food to Christians hiding in the catacombs of Rome during the Diocletian persecutions. The white dress is reminiscent of a baptismal robe, the red sash indicates martyrdom, and the candles represent the light of Christ that dispels the darkness – all symbols worthy of reflection during Advent.

Posada, a Latin American tradition, is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem as the birth of Jesus drew near. Leading a procession of the faithful who follow while singing Advent hymns, individuals portraying the holy couple walk from house to house seeking shelter before finally finding welcome. More than an elaborate drama, posada reminds us of our need to be prepared to receive Christ when he comes.

Novenas and penances

Spiritual preparation requires increased attention to contemplation. Praying the Magnificat, Mary’s prayer of thanksgiving at the time of her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, during the final week before Christmas using the O Antiphons is a longstanding Catholic tradition (see sidebar).

Advent novenas provide another tool. The St. Andrew novena is prayed 15 times a day from the saint’s feast day (November 30) through Christmas day. There also are several novenas dedicated to the Holy Child Jesus, usually prayed from December 16 through Christmas Eve.

Another Advent tradition is a novena of Masses. Celebrated in Spanish-speaking, Portuguese- speaking, and Filipino communities, this tradition goes by names such as Misa de Aguinaldo (“Gift Mass”), Misa de Gallo (“Rooster Mass”), and Simbang Gabi (“Night Mass”). The Masses are celebrated daily at dawn from December 16 to 24 (or at night on December 15 to 23) as a way to prepare for Christ’s coming with joy and thanksgiving.

Acts of penance go to the historical roots of Advent tradition. Making a good examination of conscience followed by sacramental confession during Advent is a salutary preparation for Christmas. Many parishes offer communal celebrations of the sacrament of Penance during December for this reason.

Just as Catholics observed an Advent fast through the Middle Ages, the Eastern Catholic churches have retained a 40-day fast in the weeks leading to Christmas – a period called the Nativity Fast. Beginning on St. Philip’s feast (November 15), the Nativity Fast is more rigorous than the Lenten fast in the Roman Catholic Church in that it includes abstinence from meat, dairy, eggs, and all animal products. The fast becomes even stricter over the final 12 days before Christmas.

As Pope Leo the Great said in the fifth century, “What is more effective than fasting, by which we approach God, and, resisting the devil, we overcome indulgent vices? … And through these voluntary afflictions, our flesh dies to concupiscence and our spirit is renewed for moral excellence.”

Fasting further provokes physical hunger, reminiscent of the spiritual hunger we have for Christ. This fasting, as with repentance and other Advent traditions, is an appropriate model for the anticipation of His “comings” during Advent.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

From City By the Lights – to City By the Bay

Two major coastal cities are home to the newest Legatus chapters, as a fresh wave of faith enthusiasm swells far and wide.

Legatus’ third chapter in New Jersey — the seventh in the New York City metro — the Newark Chapter chartered officially on the brisk evening of Wednesday, October 24 with 21 founding members. With enthusiasm high for Legatus throughout the central Northeast region, Newark is the region’s fifth new Legatus chapter to form in the last three years (since December 2015). All five of the latest Northeast chapters each attained their chartering threshold in under 10 months.

Beginning with rosary and Confession at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood, NJ, followed by the opening Mass celebrated by founding chaplain Fr. Bob Stagg, new members were each officially congratulated and photographed with Legatus founder and chairman, Thomas S. Monaghan, during the twilight induction ceremony.

A hearty celebratory reception and dinner followed at nearby Roots Steakhouse, featuring autumn hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails, gourmet entrees of chicken, fish and filet, finalized with sumptuous carrot cake. Then Mr. Monaghan began his cozy Fireside Chat with the group, welcoming new Legates’ questions and comments and engaging each personally. This is at the heart of Legatus – camaraderie and comfort at the intersection of business and faith.

The Newark Chapter actually began taking shape in late 2016. Longtime Legatus members Brian and Janine Deane told Northeast Regional Director John Knowles of their desire for a chapter closer to home in far northeastern New Jersey, within their own archdiocese. Previously they’d been driving over an hour each way to attend Legatus meetings. So when Joseph Cardinal Tobin became bishop of Newark in early 2017, Knowles began a dialogue with him and ultimately received His Eminence’s blessing to launch a new chapter there.

After a strategy meeting with the Cardinal in summer 2017, it was agreed that Fr. Bob Stagg, Pastor of Presentation Church in Upper Saddle River – one of New Jersey’s largest and most active parishes – would serve as the Chapter’s founding chaplain.

The fast-developing Chapter held continued meetings in 2017 and ‘18, attracting new members at a rapid pace.

“Northeast Chapter development officer Matthew Keeny worked this year with Newark founding members Mario and Sue Costabile in rallying even more founding members,” said Knowles. “Fr. Stagg and Deacon Andy Zucaro, another founding member, celebrated memorable Masses for the new developing chapter, and always maintained a high spiritual focus at our formation meetings.”

Newark’s founding president, Lewis “Sweet Lew” Mulvaney, said he was drawn to Legatus because he found its members to be spiritual and sincere. “That’s important for a Catholic longtime businessperson.” Mulvaney says he aims to spread the ‘hope of the Catholic message’ not only to his chapter, but to whomever he encounters having questions about the faith.

The following evening on October 25, the new 21-member San Francisco Chapter met in the crisp, sunny late-afternoon for rosary, Confession, and opening Mass at St. Dunstan Parish in Millbrae. The special-occasion Mass was concelebrated by His Excellency Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco; Auxiliary Bishop Robert Christian; and Fr. Anthony Giampietro – who had worked as chaplain with the Chapter during its formation years. The Archdiocese’s new Benedict XVI choir enhanced the Mass with soaring, traditional hymns throughout, with classical organ accompaniment. The Benedict XVI choir has been part of the Archbishop’s initiative to reintroduce sacred music back into the Mass.

Immediately following was a black-tie gathering at the exclusive Green Hills Country Club in Millbrae, CA, approximately 20 miles south of the city. White-gloved servers delighted Legates at the opening reception/cocktail hour with special hot and cold passed hors d’oeuvres. Mr. Monaghan personally signed copies of his recent biography, Monaghan: A Life, as he greeted new members in the adjacent Fireside Room. The grand dinner event, flanked with chairs in white ‘dresses’ with black bows, featured cedar-plank smoked salmon and filet mignon, with a dessert finale of sacher torte. And the evening capped off with the much-anticipated, personalized Fireside Chat between Mr. Monaghan and his newest family of Legatus members.

West Regional Director Ty Soto, says, “The new San Francisco Chapter is really a much-needed ‘shining light’ right now, in the midst of a very anti-faith, anti-Catholic culture.” It is the West Region’s 16th Legatus chapter.

San Francisco Chapter president Dan Vogl was among the earliest founding members of the Chapter beginning in 2015. He saw it as critical that successful Catholics also openly embrace their faith.

“Most business leaders and executives I meet keep their faith hidden,” Vogl says. “Many older businesspeople seem to be tired, and not willing to commit to what they perceive as another financial and time commitment. But even some younger businesspeople that I have encountered fear the perceived consequence of mixing business with religion.”

But Vogl added, “The great news is that those who have joined the new chapter have all expressed that it has been a blessing and answer to their prayers.” Each new member was also presented with a special rosary, made of Italian silver-oxidized blood-red crystal beads, featuring a red enameled Cross and St. Michael centerpiece.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

Christ’s gift of purity at Christmas

In these days of turmoil within the Roman Catholic Church – on whether longtime doctrine should stand, or priests should remain celibate, or obedience should extend to certain apostate shepherds, or select traditions should be “relaxed” or set aside – there’s a simple but often overlooked reality in the Holy Family.

Christine Valentine-Owsik

“When the Son of God came into the world on Christmas night, He surrounded His Incarnation with the aura of chastity,” the late Fr. John Hardon stated. “His mother, He made sure, would miraculously conceive Him without carnal intercourse. She would be a virgin before birth, in birth, and after birth.” He made sure He was brought up in the virginal family of Mary and Joseph. St. Joseph, Christ’s foster father, was legitimately wed to Mary, yet remained her “most chaste spouse” throughout their marriage. We even recite those words in the Litany to St. Joseph.

Christ was a virgin during His stay on earth, and He never married. During His public life, He showed special affection for pure souls, especially John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, “the beloved Apostle.”

Huh? What a square notion in today’s sexually corrupt culture. I’ve heard ‘progressive’ priests and deacons try to mitigate truths on the Holy Family and others in the Gospels and Scriptures, in homilies and parish classes, as if they were embarrassed by them. That stirs confusion and weakens faith for sure.

Church history shows there is a clear connection between upholding the traditional states of virginity and celibacy among priests, and purity of doctrine. Priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes are our ‘teaching doctors’ of the Church. If they violate the vows of their vocation, flaunt decadence, or spread disavowing opinions, they in essence become unclean in their doctrine and lose holy credibility before us all.

Surprisingly in the 16th century, it was the great unwillingness of so many priests to remain celibate that tilted the pressure in favor of Protestantism – the mortal split from Catholicism that divided the flock. Though there were other issues as well that splintered Catholic unity, the central issue was really priestly celibacy.

And what value is there in Catholic priests remaining celibate?

If a priest is to be like Christ – in persona Christi
if he is to realistically represent the Savior, be an authentic teacher to the people, administer sacraments and counsel in Confession, and offer pure sacrifice at Mass, isn’t it fitting that he, like his Master, should remain virtuously aligned with God – in and out of season? Celibacy isn’t a ‘choice’ or something a priest simply endures. It is a gift from God – a charism – for men called to Holy Orders, in perfect imitation of the life and ministry of Christ.

Christ Himself endorsed priestly celibacy, saying that there are “…those who make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom,” and He added that “not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given” (Mt 19:12).

Celibacy is a great gift to Christ’s chosen priests, one worth preserving for the High Priest and His kingdom.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK  is Legatus magazine’s Editor.

When Kids Need A Safe Haven

When the police took five-year-old Bonita White from her apartment, she was more relieved than scared. Her drug-addicted mother had left her alone with an infant brother for a week. There was no father involved.

The two little ones were taken to Our Little Haven (OLH) in St. Louis, Missouri, a home for the youngest victims of abuse and neglect. “Everyone assured me that I would be okay, and I trusted them,” Bonita said. “I remember it was a delightful time. I had my first birthday party and Christmas there and went fishing for the first time. They were so loving!” Our Little Haven was home for Bonita and her brother for a couple of years until they transitioned back with their mother following her treatment for drug addiction. Things were better, although there would be other programs in their future as safety nets for a family headed by a mother with mental health and addiction problems. “My mother loved us the best she knew how, but she was sick,” Bonita explained.

Today, 28-year-old Bonita credits Our Little Haven with having had a major impact in her life. She has a degree in psychology with a social work emphasis, works with Head Start for early childhood intervention, and plans to attend graduate school in psychology next year. Her 23-year-old brother, Terrence, plans to graduate with degrees in mathematics and engineering next year.

Serving Children for 25 Years

It has been 25 years since Scott and Kathleen Hummel made the leap from their social work jobs to creating a program caring for young children from troubled families. Scott is now the executive director and Kathleen is the therapeutic director.

The couple met at Rockhurst University where they received undergraduate degrees and then earned masters in social work and received honorary doctor of philosophy in humanities degrees from St. Louis University. They both knew well the results of abuse and neglect during early childhood. Scott worked at a homeless shelter for families, and Kathleen worked with pre- adolescent girls having serious mental health problems.

“We noticed there was a significant similarity in the families we served that boiled down to a need for early intervention,” Kathleen said. “We wanted to help children from traumatic homes and not wait until they were 12 years old when so much damage has already been done.”

In the early 1990s in the St. Louis area, Scott said that not a lot of people were working with children from birth to 10 years old. The idea grew to create an early intervention program for children from abuse and neglect situations, to heal—mind, body, and soul—while living in a secure, loving environment. Since nothing existed like they envisioned, they created it themselves, establishing relationships with other social service agencies, recruiting a board of directors, hiring staff, finding office and residential treatment space, and securing funding. It was a five-year process from idea to reality. “We’d try to push it away and God in his awesomeness, kept pushing it to the forefront,” Scott said.

The Cookie Jar

Inspired by Dr. William Brennan, retired social work professor from St. Louis University, a cookie jar analogy became the inspiration for the Hummels. It goes like this: when we are born, we are all given a cookie jar. Throughout our formative years, we are given cookies in the form of good experiences and praise. Around the age of ten, the cookie jar is sealed up and that is what we have in life.

“When I was three years old, trauma was losing my red crayon,” Scott said. “We see children who have no cookies in their jar, who come from violence and neglect. For us, that is why we are doing this—to fill up their cookie jars. It’s a response to the gospel of caring for each other.”

Scott pointed out that programs such as OLH become opportunities for others to live out Jesus’ command that we love one another by giving through volunteering or donating to support their work. “It is our honor to invite people to participate,” Scott said. “We are invitational not expectational. If there’s any success, it’s because we are getting out of the way and letting God and the community help.”

By the Numbers

According to Scott, statistics indicate that without intervention, many of these kids end up dead or in prison. “Those are two options not consistent with the Gospel,” Scott said. “Had the community not helped children like Bonita, pulling her out of the cycle of abuse and neglect, we would have lost her God-given talents. That’s not God’s design for these young people.”

There are also pragmatic costs, he pointed out. “Longitudinal studies, from the child welfare to juvenile systems to the adult system, indicate that they will die at about age 62 — what kind of a life is that?” Scott asked. “And it costs about $1 million per person instead of putting that money into better schools and parks and highways.”

Our Little Haven (OurLittleHaven.org) helps around 600 kids and their families a year; either reunifying them or finding more suitable placement. In 25 years, 18,849 children have been helped. They are private, not-for-profit, partners with Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services to provide services which include a therapeutic preschool, a pediatric mental and behavioral health outpatient program, and the Taylor Family Care Center, which runs the foster-care program. The in- house residential program that was home to 25-40 children ended 10 years ago in favor of foster care.

The Hummels raised their own children alongside running OLH. Maggie, now 26, was born the same year OLH opened, Peter is 24, and Sarah 21. It was the pregnancy of their first child that pushed the Hummels to take the plunge. Kathleen either had to put in for maternity leave or let her boss know she would not be coming back. Scott had to resign from his position at the family shelter also. They took a deep breath and began at the cusp of their own beginning as new parents and have never looked back.

“We pray and rely on the community and continue to be grateful,” Kathleen said. “This has all been God’s doing.”

“There are frustrations at times, but then an alumnus like Bonita stops by,” Scott said. “I think God sends those people at just the right time.”

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing writer.

Matt Birk – 2019 Summit Speaker


As an NFL player for 15 years, Matt Birk enjoyed a long, successful career, winning the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 and being named to the Pro Bowl six times.

Birk, 43, who played football at Harvard University before he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1998, is also a devout Catholic who was recognized for his community service work by winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2011.

Birk remains passionate about his Catholic faith and is active in the pro-life movement. He and his wife, Adrianna, live in St. Paul, Minnesota, with their eight children, ages 2-16. Birk is a featured speaker at the Legatus Summit in January. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.

What will you be speaking on at the Summit?

People are surprised to learn that football is a very spiritual game. The locker room is a very spiritual place. The NFL is this huge thing. It’s a highly visible job and you experience very high highs and very low lows. As a player, there’s a certain element of danger because it’s a physical game. For a lot of guys, myself included, faith is actually strengthened by playing football.

You have to tap into that because otherwise it’s really hard to survive in this fantasy world that’s the NFL, where you have money, fame, and all these people telling you how great you are. You need an anchor, something that keeps you grounded and keeps you focused on what’s real and what’s the truth. That’s where my Catholic faith came into play.

How did you become a practicing Catholic during your NFL career?

I went to a Bible study and started asking some questions. The chaplain mentioned that he used to be Catholic but that he left the faith. I took it personally from the standpoint that, “Geez, I better figure out what I believe.” That put me on my own personal quest for truth. I dug deeper, learned more and began to really appreciate the faith and sort of claimed it as my own.

What did you discover that made you claim the Catholic faith as your own?

Reading some of the arguments against the Church, I realized that the Scripture passage is true, that the Church is the pillar of Truth and that it will prevail against the gates of hell. All the things that have happened in the Church and all the sins of men 2000 years later, the Church is still thriving. To me, that was kind of like the truth that the Church is real, that it is the Church that Jesus established and that it will prevail over all evil.

What was it like to win a Super Bowl?

With that Ravens team in particular, three years prior we had gotten close but lost some games in heart-breaking fashion. There was a feeling on that team that we were all brought together at that time for some reason, that God was at work. There was this belief that there was a purpose to everything we were doing.

Were people surprised to learn that an NFL Pro Bowl offensive lineman attended Harvard University?

Oh yes, especially back then. Anytime they mentioned me on TV, they’d say, “Oh, Matt Birk went to Harvard.” It became sort of my tagline.

How did you get involved in pro-life work?

I speak a lot at pro-life events. I’m on the board of a life center here in the Twin Cities. I spoke at the March for Life a few times. I’m just trying to use my gifts and my platform to advocate for the unborn.

Have you had any prior interaction with Legatus?

I’ve known Legatus for a long time. I spoke at the Legatus Chapter in Naples, Florida last year. Legatus is a great organization. In the workplace, Legatus can be a gateway to the Gospel. I think it’s a great organization to help people stay the course.

Back In Swing

During the housing boom of the late 1980s through the early 2000s, the golf industry in the United States experienced a boom of its own. Some 4,000 new golf courses were opened between 1986 and 2005, reaching a peak of 16,052 facilities nationwide. The ascendancy of pro golfer Tiger Woods in the late 1990s helped boost the sport’s popularity.

Then the subprime mortgage and credit crisis of 2007-2008 hit. The resultant losses in jobs and investment portfolios meant many recreational golfers had less disposable income for paying club memberships and greens fees, and less time for such leisure pursuits. During the intervening decade, the industry has experienced a contraction or economic “correction,” and more than a thousand courses have closed.

“The simple explanation is that home builders capitalized on the exuberance around golf to sell homes and to sell them at premium prices,” said Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners’ Association, based in Charleston, S.C. “The demand did not keep up with the increase in supply, which few anticipated. As a result, some golf courses over time were bound to face existential issues, and they have indeed in some markets.”

Yet golf remains a viable industry today, generating $84 billion in revenue with thousands of course operators running successful businesses, Karen emphasized.

Although things are tougher and the industry needs to keep evolving, “there is no existential crisis,” he affirmed.


Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation and a frequent Legatus event speaker, has seen much in his 39 years in the golf industry. While admitting the recession presented a “major challenge,” he believes it also “brought out the best in the industry.” That “best” is helping to keep golf not only alive but also thriving.

When the recession hit, “it became apparent that it was in the industry’s best interest to work together to grow the game and introduce it to new participants,” Mona said.

That led the nation’s major golf organizations – including the PGA Tour, the LPGA, PGA of America, the USGA, and the Masters Tournament – to form a coalition, called We Are Golf, to promote common initiatives in order to re-energize the popularity of golf in the United States.

“Representatives throughout the industry are actively engaged in work aimed at making golf look more like society,” Mona said. Among the initiatives promoted by We Are Golf are those seeking to attract more women, young people, millennials, and minorities to the game.

One such initiative is The First Tee, a national player- development program that exposes youths to golf through programs offered through 150 chapters, 1,200 golf facilities, 1,300 agencies that serve youths, and the physical-education curriculum at more than 10,000 elementary schools nationwide. “Our philosophy is to bring The First Tee to where the kids are,” Mona said.

Then there’s the PGA Jr. League, which presently has more than 40,000 adolescent boys and girls participating in recreational golf as a team sport.

Karen sees player development as one of the success stories of the industry’s efforts to grow the game.

“Youth golf is quickly turning into a team sport,” he noted. “Gone will be the days when parents didn’t want to steer their kids toward golf because it was more of a solitary pursuit.”

Amid the growing research about the injury risks of some popular sports, golf stands in sharp contrast. “Golf is a relatively safe sport, and it is lifelong,” Karen said. “Compare that to some of the other contact sports, and we are seeing parents migrate their kids toward our universe.”

The player-development focus is also increasing diversity. The First Tee’s chapter programs have nearly equal representation between boys and girls and are drawing kids from across ethnically diverse backgrounds.

“We are witnessing that the gender and ethnic diversity among the youth participating in golf is rapidly changing the face of golf,” Karen said. “The base of golfers twenty years from now will more closely mirror the broader demographics in America than it ever has.”


Douglas P. Dudley, a Legate of the Greenville Chapter, has witnessed changes within the golf industry from another angle. Back in the late 1990s, he patented a cart-based electronic device using GPS technology – then in its infancy – by which golfers could determine the distance to the pin and the location of bunkers and hazards along the way.

“The value of knowing what lies ahead on the golf course is essential to good play, and even average golfers benefit from the information,” Dudley said. His system also provided revenue benefits to golf clubs by speeding up play and providing onscreen advertising whenever the cart was moving.

His system, called Yardmark, even calculated and simultaneously broadcast current location data corrections to compensate for the “selective availability” (SA) error, a degradation of public GPS signals that limited accuracy for national security reasons. “This allowed us to give yardage accurate to within two yards, when a hand-held device could be 20 yards off,” Dudley explained.

Technology has changed dramatically, however. Not long after SA was eliminated in 2000, ordinary smartphone apps could perform as well. Now “even hand-held devices can achieve two-yard accuracy,” he said. “If you look at your smartphone or a GPS watch, you can see how far GPS has come in 20 years.”

Although Yardmark was “cool at the time,” Dudley said it is now “just a 25-year-old technology footnote.” Yet he anticipates making another impact on the game soon – he has patents pending for a new product that he says “will truly revolutionize” the golf industry.


Golf appears to be on the upswing again — and even Tiger Woods is back, having won his first tournament in over five years this September.

Despite the post-recession corrections taking place, the new initiatives promoted by World Golf Foundation and the We Are Golf coalition are having the desired effect, Mona said.

“Examining the state of the game today in 2018, there are positive signs that a whole new generation is getting excited about the sport, both from a fan and a participation perspective,” he said. Statistics bear this out, he noted: there are some 24 million golfers in the United States, and another 14.9 million who are interested in playing. In 2017, some 2.6 million people tried golf for the first time.

Another 8.3 million played golf at Topgolf — a high-tech, three-story driving range where participants hit micro- chipped golf balls from tee-box bays and score points for accuracy — or at simulators or at conventional driving ranges without actually playing on a course, Mona added.

“Fan engagement in the game is at an all-time high,” he concluded, “due in part to the myriad of vehicles in which fans may interact with the sport.”
Karen shares Mona’s optimism.

“The fact is, golf has something for everyone, and we believe all generations of all types of people will continue to discover there is no activity that is quite as satisfying — as an individual pursuit, or as a way to bond with friends, families, and even strangers — than golf,” Karen said.

“Having a versatile product and keeping the customer in focus is how we will thrive through the economic cycles down the road.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.