Tag Archives: john corapi

Legates urged to evangelize

Catholic business leaders must know Christ, speakers say at record-breaking Summit . . .

Despite one of the biggest blizzards in recent history blanketing a third of the nation, the 2011 Legatus Summit realized a near-record turnout of over 500 attendees — including some 430 Legates, plus guests, VIPs and staff.

The Feb. 3-5 event, held at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Fla., drew a stellar line-up of speakers and provided members with daily Eucharistic adoration, Confession and Mass. Drawing on the Summit’s theme, “Communicating the Word,” speakers urged members to know Christ personally and make Him known.

Jesus is the Word

Fr. John Corapi makes a point at the Legatus Summit on Feb. 4

Fr. John Corapi makes a point at the Legatus Summit on Feb. 4

Speaking directly to the Summit’s theme, renowned preacher Fr. John Corapi told Legates that the Word of God isn’t something, but Somebody.

“In the eternal silence of the Trinity, God spoke only one word, ‘Jesus,’ and He has nothing more to say. The Word of God is Jesus.”

In his four one-hour sessions, Fr. Corapi encouraged attendees to study their faith. “If we’re going to communicate the Word, we need to know the Word,” he said. “And not just know it, but we must be one with the Word.”

The surest way to know the faith, he said, is to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “You can’t give what you don’t have. This is all the more important for you ambassadors. You’re leaders, point men. And the bigger the man, the bigger the target, especially when it comes to being stricken with fear and anxiety, two things I’ve heard from many attendees. But remember this: Without God, we are nothing. But when we are united to him, even at our weakest, we are strong.”

Justice Clarence Thomas enjoys a laugh at the Summit on Feb. 4

Justice Clarence Thomas enjoys a laugh at the Summit on Feb. 4

Equally compelling was Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who had attendees alternately laughing aloud and getting misty-eyed. Thomas himself became emotional as he spoke about his maternal grandfather, a Catholic convert who raised him. But Thomas, one of six Catholics on the high court, also addressed fear.

“It’s easy for us to hide our faith today — people not wanting to wish each other a merry Christmas, make the Sign of the Cross at restaurants, guys who will only whisper to their wives, ‘I love you.’ Why should we be so afraid? Why should we hide the things that are — or should be — most meaningful in our lives?”

Justice Thomas signs his book for a Legatus member

Justice Thomas signs his book for a Legatus member

Thomas, who delivered his remarks in an easy, unrehearsed style, spoke of integrity anchored in Christ. “What word would you be communicating to your children by living a life without principle, without faith? What word would I be communicating if, as a judge, I didn’t live up to my own word expressed in that oath I took?”

The Georgia native lingered for more than an hour after his talk, signing books and chatting with members.


Archbishop Jose Gomez preaches the homily at the Summit's opening Mass on Feb. 3

Renewed by the Word

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez, who celebrated the Summit’s opening Mass, applauded Legates’ efforts as ambassadors of Christ.

“Legatus represents the spirit of the new evangelization because this new evangelization is founded upon an ideal of holiness which sounds new, but is truly ancient: to faithfully fulfill our daily duties as Christians wherever we find ourselves,” he said in his address to members on the Summit’s second day.

“Saint Paul said, ‘Whatever you do, do for the glory of God.’ In Legatus, you know that we must do this for God, our communities and our country,” he continued. “You are leading efforts for the renewal of the American spirit and character, a renewal of the ideals this nation was founded upon.”

On the divisive issue of illegal immigration, the Mexican-born prelate said he understood the “anger and frustration” among many native-born Americans. However, he said, it’s essential to treat immigrants with Christian charity, papers or not.

Austin Ruse addresses Legates on Feb. 5

Austin Ruse addresses Legates on Feb. 5

Other speakers included the Knights of Columbus’ Supreme Knight Carl Anderson; Austin Ruse, president and founder of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute; Mother Assumpta Long, prioress general and a founding member of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, who encouraged a renewed appreciation of Americans who sacrificed to get the country out of similarly dark times.

Legendary college football coach Lou Holtz gave a rousing talk that linked faith and virtue, complemented by a good dose of humor.

“Life’s not complicated,” Holtz said repeatedly. “Life can be tough but it’s not complicated, believing as we do in a God whose essence is simplicity itself.”

Legendary football coach Lou Holtz makes a point during his talk on Feb. 5

Legendary football coach Lou Holtz makes a point during his talk on Feb. 5

Holtz, who also spent more than an hour patiently signing books and chatting with Legates, said that he has tried to live by three rules: “Do what’s right, do everything the best you can in the time you have to do it, and always show people you genuinely care.”

Take-home value

The Summit’s atmosphere and attendance mirrored that of last year’s record-setting event in Dana Point, Calif. Members appreciated the liturgies, which drew about 30 chaplains and prelates, including Legatus’ international chaplain Bishop Sam Jacobs; Bishop Roger Gries, OSB, chaplain of Legatus’ Cleveland Chapter; Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Fla.; and Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki, former secretary to Pope John Paul II.

Summit veteran J. Kevin Hand, a member of Legatus’ Hollywood Chapter, has been to 17 annual conferences. “It’s been one of the best for spiritual growth, encouraging us to reach out and spread the Gospel,” he said. “Clarence Thomas set the tone with his openness about living one’s faith wherever one finds oneself in the world. Father Corapi spoke so compellingly about our role in counteracting opposition to God and his Church through proper formation of our faith lives.”

Master of Ceremonies Sherri Van Meter gets into the Super Bowl spirit

Master of Ceremonies Sherri Van Meter gets into the Super Bowl spirit

Shaji Chacko is an executive of an aluminum company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He joined Legatus last year.

“I feel very blessed to be here,” he said. “Christians should share Jesus Christ with the world. This has been a great time to reflect and learn how to more practically fulfill our mission. If you want to be driven in Catholic leadership, you can’t complain. You’ve got to get involved,” said the native of Kerala, India, whose first Christian community was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle. “Legatus helps me serve this end.”

Keith Armato served as Summit chairman, and his Chicago chapter hosted the event.

“It was a joy to add a Chicago flavor to the Summit,” he said. “All our speakers gave a very different presentation than they would to other groups. Legatus is special and this is evident to our speakers. To a person, the presentations were heartfelt and personal. Thus the speakers were able to connect to our members and share very personal reflections.”

Armato says the chapter tried a few different things at this Summit, which were well received.

Bishop Frank Dewane celebrates Mass for Legates on Feb. 4

Bishop Frank Dewane celebrates Mass for Legates on Feb. 4

“Our objective was not to plan a three-day event but enhance a successful Summit model that will serve us into the future,” he explained. “Our success will only be achieved when we are able to present an event that no Legate can pass up. Legatus is a family and if 10% of a family came to a Christmas or Easter dinner we would know that, although the home was decorated and the food was excellent, there was something important missing. We should only claim that we have achieved a success when 100% of our Legatus family joins us at the Summit.”

Matthew A. Rarey is Legatus Magazine’s editorial assistant.


Papal Blessings

Legates attending Mass on the second day of Legatus’ annual Summit received a double blessing during the liturgy with news of a papal blessing for attendees.

Principal celebrant Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Fla., read a letter from Pope Benedict XVI. Signed by the Vatican’s substitute secretary of state, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the letter imparted the Holy Father’s blessings and encouragement.

“The Holy Father’s blessing and friendship is a gift to Legatus,” acknowledged Legatus’ executive director John Hunt. “Our spiritual filiation with His Holiness is a source of strength and comfort in these challenging times.”

This is the first time that the current pontiff has publicly praised Legatus. Pope John Paul II acknowledged Legatus three times during his weekly general audiences. He also met with members privately on several occasions.

Pope Benedict’s communiqué conveyed his prayers that “the members of this worthy Catholic association will be confirmed in their commitment to bear witness to the faith and to promote the values of God’s Kingdom within the business community.” Invoking upon Legates and their families “the joy and peace that flow from fidelity to Christ and his Church,” he “cordially impart[ed] his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abundant graces.”

—Matthew Rarey


2010 Award Winners

Ambassador of the Year: Dr. Richard Toussaint

Officers of the Year: Rusty & Cookie Reed

Courage in the Marketplace: Sean Flanagan

Sr. Rosalind Moss & Tom Monaghan

Sr. Rosalind Moss & Tom Monaghan

Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Award: Alveda King, Sam & Gloria Lee, Monsignor Philip Reilly

Bowie Kuhn Special Award for Evangelization: Sr. Rosalind Moss

Defender of the Faith Award: Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Campbell Award: Lincoln, Genesis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Orange Coast

Angott Award: Baton Rouge, San Juan Capistrano

Father Corapi … live!

Legatus Magazine’s exclusive interview with renowned preacher Father John Corapi. . .

Fr. John Corapi

Fr. John Corapi

Father John Corapi has a profound way of telling it like it is. The renowned preacher’s booming baritone cuts through the clutter of easy answers and points to the fundamentals of our faith. The dynamic evangelist, who fashioned his ministry around the mold of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, suspended his hectic travel schedule two years ago, then fell ill.

Now restored to health, Fr. Corapi will preach one-day retreat on the Holy Spirit in Buffalo to more than 15,000 people on Aug. 15. EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo will speak at the conference, and Catholic Answers Live host Jerry Usher will serve as emcee. Father Corapi spoke to Legatus Magazine editor Patrick Novecosky from his headquarters in Montana.

How is your health these days?

Excellent. I was incapacitated for about eight months. Even the Mayo Clinic had difficulty getting the diagnosis right. It turned out to be two very simple things: an acute Vitamin D deficiency and chronic sleep deprivation. Those two things together disrupted my immune system. Now I’m back to normal.

The topic of my doctoral thesis in dogmatic theology was on the meaning of Christian suffering in the teaching of Pope John Paul II. So we always have to look at the transcendent dimension of something like sickness or suffering and realize it’s not a useless thing. It can be a channel for grace. Pope John Paul II’s fantastic apostolic letter on suffering Salvifici Doloris is a synthesis of this.

How has your ministry changed since your recovery?

I never stopped my ministry. I was sick for a while, but I think the part you mean is the traveling. Before I became sick, we had already decided to stop traveling for a while. We had no idea that I would become sick, but if I had my normal 35-40 events per year scheduled it would have been a catastrophe.

The decision to not travel so much is based mainly on my mission, established by my superiors, to preach using the means of social communication — television, radio and the Internet. We reach millions of people that way.

Traveling and doing events is a good thing but, on the hierarchy of effectiveness, it’s much less effort to reach millions of people than going to a conference and only talking to a thousand. Next year we hope to accept a few invitations, but not nearly as many as we used to. With the volume of work we have now, it’s just not physically possible.

The world is going through trying times — both economically and morally. What’s the remedy?

In order to remedy catastrophes like this, it has to be one person at a time. Pope John Paul II said a very profound thing in his post-synod apostolic exhortation on reconciliation and penance. He said that all of the divisions we see in the world — country against country, within individual countries, within families — can all be traced back to divisions within individual human persons called sin.

So the renewal of the country, the world, and the Church comes about one person at a time. Saint Francis of Assisi gave a great example of that. He didn’t set out to reform the Church and the world, he set out to reform himself. He he did such a great job that he ended up reforming the Church — and through the Church, the world.

When enough Catholics become true to their calling, a great power will be unleashed. The reason we have this mess, in my estimation, is because the vast majority of Catholics have not lived their faith. We have a billion Catholics on the face of the earth. If they knew their faith, lived their faith, loved their faith, I assure you that the world would be a very different place.

The United States, the situation would be profoundly different if we had 60-70 million Catholics truly living their faith. But, of course, as many as 80% don’t even go to Mass on Sunday — and that’s a precept! So we have a long way to go. But it has to be kind of grassroots, one person at a time. That is why the Church has always encouraged personal holiness, because that is where the reform is going to come from.

How did the conference in Buffalo come about?

We’ve done several events in the past with Buffalo’s Catholic radio station. They wanted to do a large event, so it fell into place. This is shaping up to be the largest event that I’ve ever preached at. Already 10,000 people are registered.

The topic is going to be on the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a powerful thing to combine Catholic teaching on the Holy Spirit in a very practical and powerful way with the troubled times we find ourselves in. These are no ordinary times. It’s not just a downturn in the economy. We’re already well into a downturn morally, economically, socially. It’s almost cataclysmic. We have the answer. The problem is that we have to convince enough of our own people that there is a problem and teach them how to solve it.

How is the Holy Spirit key to America’s spiritual awakening?

Obviously, they are intimately tied together. I’ve been a harsh critic of ourselves, meaning the Church leadership — priests, bishops and theologians. I don’t think we’ve done a particularly good job in my lifetime. We’ve had great popes; the top of the hierarchy has always been fantastic. But we’ve had a serious problem with “middle management.” There has been a significant problem with bishops and priests. Although, it’s better now than it was 20 years ago. However, the vast majority of Catholics aren’t even going to Church, so we shouldn’t wonder that the Church has been losing its influence on an increasingly secularized society.

You have to ask yourself why people have drifted away. I’m sure there are a lot of societal reasons. We don’t have control over those reasons, but we have control over the reasons inside the Church. You can start with the top. There is an old saying: “The fish stinks from the head down.” Lousy leadership is a disaster.

I once asked an old Carmelite nun why we have a crisis of leadership inside the Church as well as in the secular order. She never batted an eye. She had been a nun for over 60 years and a prioress for decades. She said, “That’s easy. Punishment for sin.” Why do we have bad leadership? Punishment for sin. It’s very biblical. You go back to the Old Testament and you see that leadership was removed from the people of God, the chosen people, because of infidelity to the covenant. They cried out to God because they had no priest, prophet or king. Why not? Because they were unfaithful.

One can recall what happened during the tenure of Pope Paul VI, when he came out with his landmark and prophetic encyclical Humane Vitae. Significant numbers of bishops, priests, theologians and others rejected it. They absolutely rejected it. The majority of Canadian bishops signed the infamous Winnipeg Statement that just categorically rejected Humane Vitae. That kind of rebellion is catastrophic. Paul VI was prophetic with that encyclical and much of what he warned about has come to pass.

The argument can be strongly made that the proliferation of abortion can pretty much be traced to artificial contraception. It’s almost a cause-and-effect kind of thing, and Paul VI warned about that. But large numbers of Church leaders rejected it and were so bold as to even reject it in writing, and that’s not without consequences. There were profound consequences not only in the Church but in the United States, Canada and the whole world. It’s had a profound effect on de-Christianizing the culture.

I always hope that things will get turned around. My mother reminds me periodically that we know the last chapter: We win! So I don’t know when it will get turned around. And don’t think for a minute that the best is going to happen without a bitter fight! We’re just heading into a tremendous period of spiritual and moral combat. We have a situation where the secular order, government and so forth are unashamedly anti-Christian and the Catholic Church is getting the brunt of the attack. I’m sure it’s going to get worse before it gets better. What we have to go through between now and then, I’m not so sure. I hope for the best, but I plan for the worst.

Tell me more about the focus of your ministry.

Before I was ordained, Fr. James Flanagan, the founder of my congregation —the Society Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity — told me that my mission in the Church would be to preach using the means of social communication using Archbishop Fulton Sheen as the model. It took me a few years to get on television and radio, but around 1996 we started to get on EWTN radio and then television — then non-stop Saturday and Sunday night for 12 years.

Now with the Internet, my website is reaching more and more people. We have a weekly webcast called Weekly Wisdom. We’re almost ready with a new redesigned website with new downloadable material. When I started, we were reaching dozens, then hundreds, then thousands. Now it’s up in the millions and tens of millions. EWTN tells me that we reach over 130 countries and territories every week — over 150 million households and that’s just television. We’re also on dozens of Catholic radio networks.

With the Internet, you can say something, put it on your website and before you can blink your eye it’s all over the place. So it’s a very rapid deployment (to use a military term) of news. With all those things together, we are reaching more and more people more effectively.

Patrick Novecosky is the editor of Legatus Magazine. An abridged version of this interview was published in the July/August 2009 issue of Legatus Magazine.  Click here for more information on Father Corapi’s Aug. 15 speaking engagement in Buffalo.