Tag Archives: communion

Laborers in the Vineyard

Legates who operate vineyards offer more than premier-quality wine; they describe invaluable realizations – pruned, harvested and clarified by their faith and work with the fruit of the land. Ted Hall jokingly boasts that his parish in California’s Napa Valley has the best Communion wine in the world.

“The routine wine at Mass is a spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon,” said Hall, a member of Legatus’ Napa Valley Chapter who owns Long Meadow Ranch, a winery business with three properties in Napa Valley and other properties in Anderson Valley and West Marin. Hall arrived in Napa Valley in 1989 with a vision of making elegant, balanced wines. Running a winery was a lifelong interest for Hall, who grew up on a small farm in western Pennsylvania and made wine while in graduate school.

Close to the land

Asked what he loves about the vineyards, Hall replied, “It’s the fundamental grounding of being attached to the land, and what the land produces… The best thing a good wine-maker can do is do no harm, get out of the way, and help present what was developed in the vineyard.”

Hall is one of a handful of Legates who own and operate wineries, not just in Napa Valley but in other parts of the United States. Those Legates oversee impressive operations that produce high quality wines as well as other products.

Overseeing the wineries and the vineyards have conveyed several invaluable lessons about stewardship and God’s creation. Working and living in those settings have even helped to illuminate the parables where Christ evoked vineyards to teach about God’s kingdom.

“There are many references [in Scripture] to vineyards, vine growers and to the harvest,” said Judy Barrett, the owner of Chateau Montelena Winery in Napa Valley. She noted how the Prophet Isaiah referred to sweet juicy wine and wonderful foods to describe the harvest.

“It’s hard not to keep those things in mind as we go about our daily business,” Barrett said. “I live in the middle of a vineyard. I see the change of seasons and what the vineyard crew is doing, the pruning, the caring for the vines, seeing the harvest. It’s certainly in the back of your mind, if not in the forefront.”

Workers ‘later in the day’

Barrett, a member of Legatus’ Napa Valley Chapter, moved to Napa Valley in the early 1980s after Jim, her late husband of 33 years, began feeling burned out from his law career in Los Angeles. They were looking for something new in their lives when they discovered Chateau Montelena Winery, which was established in 1882.

“Jim was a city boy his whole life. He loved wine, was looking for something different, saw this place and fell in love with it,” said Barrett, who has lived in the same house in the middle of the vineyards since 1984. She said it was an easy adjustment from life in LA.

“We thought we’d miss all kinds of things, but then discovered they really weren’t all that important,” Barrett said. “Living in an extraordinarily beautiful area with a lot of peace and quiet, being involved with the land, you quickly forget about a lot of things you think you would miss and you really don’t.”

Post-executive discovery

In 2006, John Guevremont, a founding member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter, purchased the 200-acre Reality Farm, located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia. Guevremont, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran who served in the first Gulf War, entered the winery business after retiring from an executive position with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

“This is a working retirement, so to speak,” said Guevremont, who originally had plans to make a few gallons of wine each year for himself, his family and friends. However, that changed with the first successful harvest. Since then, Quièvremont Winery has been expanding with an additional acre every year.

“That all drove us to our focus with the winery to produce classic French-style wines, Bordeaux blends, using Bordeaux grapes. That’s been our focus since 2011, said Guevremont, who did not have an agriculture background when he bought the vineyards.

“Every day is a learning experience in the sense that weather patterns change, the different types of pests, parasites and birds, the animals coming through the area that you have to learn how to control,” Guevremont said.

Dedicated to the Trinity, guided by faith

Garrett Busch, a member of Legatus’ Napa Valley Chapter, said he learned about the winery business through osmosis by being around his parents, Tim and Steph Busch, who shared a passion for wine and founded Trinitas Cellars in 2002.

“My sister and I were the kids being dragged around on winery tours,” said Busch, 30, the current proprietor and CEO of Trinitas Cellars. Since joining the business in 2010, the winery has expanded its portfolio to include top-tier wines such as the Trinitas Family Collection Line.

Other wines in the Trinitas portfolio are clearly inspired by the Catholic faith. There is Rose’ary, a rosé blend wine with a rosary-inspired design on the label. Revelation is the name of a dessert wine, and then there is CABERNET FRANCis, a red wine named for Pope Francis. In 2014, Tim and Steph Busch presented a bottle to Pope Francis, who pointed to it and said, “Mio vino, mio vino.” “We’re believers. We’re not shy about our faith, and our winery is probably the greatest representation of that. The faith has worked its way into our whole philosophy behind our winery and our branding,” Busch said, noting that his family’s winery itself is named for the Holy Trinity.

The “Legates in the Vineyards” certainly do their part to integrate the Catholic faith into their businesses. Guevremont dedicated his winery to the Blessed Mother, and has a stone grotto at the entrance to the vineyard with a Marian statue.

Godly priorities

“Also, every season we have a local priest bless the vineyard,” Guevremont said. “We’re trying to make that an annual event for the local vineyards in the area, especially those owned by Catholics.”

Hall said it was always important for him to establish a culture-based organization, fundamentally grounded in values reflected in the Catholic faith.

“We talk a lot about not only our mission and our vision, but the three core values of our business are balance, respect and stewardship,” said Hall, adding that Wine Estates at Long Meadow Ranch emphasizes respect for workers, humane treatment of livestock and sustainable farming practices.

Barrett said a priest-friend always comes to her vineyards at the beginning of harvest for a blessing. “We give thanks for the harvest. We ask for blessings on all of our workers and on the harvest,” said Barrett, who added that the phrase from the Eucharistic prayer, “fruit of the vine and the work of human hands,” has become really tangible for her.

Especially important, Barrett added, is the fact that fine wine is meant to be enjoyed with close friends and family. “It’s about meals and coming together, the communal nature of it,” she said. “I think that really feeds into the sense of how faith informs your work. It’s about faith and community.”


BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Why do pro-abortion politicians receive Communion?

The Church denies Communion to anyone who has been excommunicated. For example, those who have participated in an act of abortion — the mother, the person who paid for it, the medical personnel — incur automatic excommunication and should not present themselves for Communion. Excommunication is a serious penalty, so the Church is generally reluctant to impose it.

Sometimes we see public figures receiving Communion when they seem to be violating the rules: For example, politicians who don’t actively oppose abortion or who make public statements that disagree with Church teaching.

One of the principles of canon law is that penalties are a last resort. If a Catholic is straying from the true path, the Church has the duty to use every means in her power to bring the lost sheep back into the fold. In the case of a public figure, bishops must also consider the public effect of their own actions.

What message will they be sending about the Church by how they react to such provocations? Should they make a statement correcting the public figure’s error but let him continue to receive Communion to show that the Church values mercy and forgiveness? Should they excommunicate him to show how seriously the Church takes her teachings? It’s not an easy decision.

To some bishops, erring on the side of mercy seems like the more Christian thing to do, as well as the course most likely to convey to the world what Christian love is like. Others, however, say that the greater concern should be for the sinner’s scandalous effect on the public, who may grow confused or cynical about Catholic doctrine, devotion and discipline.

Sometimes, if a bishop has met privately with public figures and failed to persuade them to change, the bishop must refuse to admit them to Communion.

MIKE AQUILINA is the author or editor of more than 40 books on Catholic history, doctrine and devotion. This column is reprinted with permission from his book Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers (Servant Books, Cincinnati, 2011)

Catechism 101

To respond to this invitation, we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. Saint Paul urges us to examine our conscience: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1385

Finding God around the table

Do you see the common thread in these scenarios?

Jeff Young

1) A cocktail hour before a business dinner. 2) The home-cooked meal that Mom whipped up in between the after-school pick-up line and soccer practice, waiting to be served to a tired, rowdy and sweaty family. 3) The romantic anniversary dinner at that fancy restaurant downtown which has garnered so many accolades. 4) The Sunday feast at Grandma’s house where all the aunts, uncles and cousins come to spend the afternoon enjoying each other’s company and Grandma’s cooking. 5) The simple Lenten lunch that some church ladies like to share before their rosary group.

Each example has something to do with food, with meals, right? Yes, but each example is really about communion. At first glance that might not seem to be the case. But if you’re a Catholic foodie, the deeper meaning might become clear.

When it comes to making sense of the complexities of human life, I like to remind myself that God made us and he knows us. Because he knows us, he knows what we need. He created man and woman in his own image and likeness. He created them out of love and for love — and love means a communion of persons. Not even sin can change that fundamental fact. We are made for love and we long for communion.

In Genesis, as God began to make good on his promise to repair the damage caused by sin, he began to form for himself a people, a family. He did so by binding the people to himself through a series of covenants, each of which culminated in a shared, communal meal. The most striking example of this covenant meal is the Passover, when God set his people free from slavery in Egypt. That meal — with its unblemished lamb and unleavened bread — foreshadows the new and everlasting covenant established by Jesus on the cross, the covenant made present in the world today in the Eucharist.

God knows what we need. He made us for communion with himself and with each other. This is why shared meals are so important. Around both the table of the Eucharist and the family dinner table, we can experience communion. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass, we call it Holy Communion. That, of course, is communion par excellence with God himself. But we also experience communion around the table — for breakfast, lunch or dinner — when we share a meal with family and friends, and even strangers.

We might not always be mindful of it, but we’re wired for communion. This month, let’s pray to be mindful that we were created for love, for communion, which so often we find around the table. To whet your appetite, I’m sharing my special seasonal recipe. Bon appétit!

JEFF YOUNG, best known as The Catholic Foodie, is an author, blogger, radio host and podcaster.

LEARN MORE: CatholicFoodie.com


Pumpkin Soup with Kale and Kafta

food-22 medium yellow onions, diced
4 ribs of celery, diced
1 med pumpkin, cleaned, peeled, cut into 2-3” pieces
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1 gallon chicken stock
1 batch of kafta, browned
1-2 heads of kale, cleaned, chopped into 2” pieces
Cayenne to taste
1 tsp each ground allspice, nutmeg, cumin
2 tbs of olive oil

Sauté onions and celery until translucent. Add garlic and pumpkin. Continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Season with salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cumin and cayenne. Cook until pumpkin is soft (25-30 min.). Purée pumpkin with an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor (make sure your blender or food processor can be used with hot liquids). Return soup to pot and add lamb meatballs and kale. Simmer on medium to medium/low until meatballs are fully cooked and kale is softened (about 25 minutes).


Kafta (Lamb Meatballs)food-1

2 lbs ground lamb (or substitute  ground round beef)
1 large sweet yellow onion, finely    chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or  minced
6 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbs fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
1 tsp each fresh cracked pepper,  allspice, cinnamon, cumin

Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls of desired size. Preheat skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet (or other oil with high smoke point). Add meatballs in batches. Brown on all sides. Remove and let drain on paper towels.

Can the divorced receive communion?

Karl Keating: A valid Catholic marriage is binding, even if the couple is divorced . . .

Karl Keating

God’s law isn’t invalidated by sloppy theology or hearts in the wrong place. The Church (as did Christ) doesn’t recognize divorce in the ecclesiastical sense. A valid marriage, once made, can’t be undone by a divorce, even if the spouses lose all love for one another.

Although marriage is permanent, the Church also recognizes that at times spouses can’t and shouldn’t live together, perhaps for the good of the children, perhaps for the safety of one of the spouses. In such cases the Church permits spouses to separate or seek civil divorce. But divorce only dissolves the marriage so far as the civil law is concerned. Marriage is a sacrament and is unaffected by a civil determination. Some may speak loosely of Catholic marriages being dissolved by civil divorce proceedings, but that’s sloppy theology. Only death ends a truly sacramental marriage.

Although civil divorce is always undesirable, living together may be even more undesirable. Consider the case of a drunken, abusive husband. The spouses separate, custody and support are fixed by a court — and the marriage continues. Neither spouse is free to marry again.

In the case of an annulment, however, the Church has determined there was no valid marriage in the first place because no valid consent had been given by one party. For a valid, sacramental marriage to take place, both parties must be capable of giving consent — and both then must consent to a life-long commitment and openness to children. If one party participates in the wedding ceremony with no intention to have a lasting marriage or with a refusal to have children, the marriage is invalid from the start, even if the intention is kept secret and the ceremony goes off (excuse the phrase) without a hitch.

No ecclesiastical penalty, such as excommunication, applies to divorced people. If they don’t attempt to remarry and if they are otherwise in a state of grace, they may continue to receive Communion. But if one spouse remarries while the other spouse is still living, the remarrying spouse has actually entered into an adulterous relationship. Since adultery is a grave sin, such a person is barred from Communion. In our society, in which many Catholics know their faith poorly and find themselves in what they may have thought were valid second marriages, the results can be especially difficult to deal with. But we do not deal with tough situations by abandoning God’s sacramental law.

Karl Keating is the founder of Catholic Answers. This column is reprinted with permission from his book “What Catholics Really Believe — Setting the Record Straight: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith,” pages 54 and 61 (Ignatius Press, 1995).