Tag Archives: Ken Cuccinelli

Summit on the Bayou

Religious liberty and the new evangelization took center stage at the Summit in Phoenix . . .

Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo

Despite its arid location, Legatus’ 2013 Summit had a distinct Louisiana flair — everything from Cajun food to a raucous Mardi Gras-themed evening presided over by the bead-tossing New Orleans native and master of ceremonies, Raymond Arroyo.

The three-day annual conference, hosted by Legatus’ Baton Rouge Chapter, drew more than 400 Legates and guests from across the country and beyond to the luxurious Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., from Feb. 7-9.

Religious Freedom

Speakers from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to Catholic historian George Weigel touched on the Summit’s dual themes of faith and freedom. In his Feb. 8 address, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori exhorted Legates to help the country return to its founding principles amid challenges to religious liberty. “In the spirit of the new evangelization, may I invite you to engage your network of family members, colleagues, and friends to understand more profoundly how religious freedom is threatened and to think of our political system with more than enlightened self-interest?” he asked.

Archbishop William Lori

Archbishop William Lori

The 1884 Council of Baltimore, he said, decided that there is a fundamental compatibility between the U.S. Constitution and “the Church’s understanding of the natural law.” However, Archbishop Lori noted, this view “has recently been called into question.”

The diminishing role of religion in America is leading to a different understanding of religious freedom than existed in the past, and this “is part of the challenge of the new evangelization to which Pope Benedict has called us in this Year of Faith and beyond.”

Bush, who spoke to Legates just one year after his more famous brother, talked about his conversion to the Catholic faith and how it has made all the difference in his life — both personal and political.

“But for my faith, I don’t know what the outcome [of my life] would have been,” he said. “My faith has brought me the greatest happiness of my life.”

Like many of the speakers and clergy who addressed Summit attendees, Bush said faith must inform every aspect of one’s life.

“If your faith means anything to you, it must inform your public policy,” he said. “We should encourage people in public life to stand on principle. At a time when we should be excited about the future, we have lost our optimism. I reject that completely.”

Call to Evangelize

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted

In his homily at St. Thomas the Apostle parish, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted told Legates that the Church — and Legatus’ mission statement — asks them to be formed in the faith and to go out to the world as missionaries and evangelists.

“Legatus means ‘ambassador,’ one sent on a mission, an apostle,” he said. “At the end of every Mass, we are sent forth on this mission.”

Along with Bishop Olmsted and Archbishop Lori, Summit-goers attended Masses celebrated by Bishop Sam Jacobs, Legatus’ international chaplain; Cleveland Auxiliary Bishop Roger Gries, chaplain of Legatus’ Cleveland Chapter; and Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

Other speakers included Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Relevant Radio’s Fr. “Rocky” Hoffman, author Matthew Kelly, Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, and Los Angeles Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti.

Legates were also treated to a presentation of Legate Jason Jones’ new film Crescendo; a sneak peak of the History Channel’s The Bible, a mini-series produced by Hollywood super-couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; a panel discussion on religious freedom; and Evangeline, a full-fledged stage musical.

Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli

The Summit was an uplifting and faith-building experience, Legates agreed.

Salvatore and Josephine Caruso, members of the San Jose Chapter, attended their first Summit. The experience helped the couple to be “fortified in our faith and to better understand our responsibilities in our faith,” he explained. “As lay persons, what are our responsibilities? Faith is not something you just keep to yourself personally. It’s something you use in society for the greater good.”

Joe Melançon, who chaired the Summit with his wife Paula, said he was pleased with the way Legates responded to the event’s Year of Faith theme — The Door of Faith: A Summons to a Deeper Conversion.

“My greatest hope is that they, like Paul, will have a summons to a deeper conversion,” he said.

Tom Moran, a member of Legatus’ Orlando Chapter since 2006, said the Summit was a remarkable call to action. “It was encouraging direct action and involvement not by scare tactics, but by giving sound, intellectual basis for concern,” he said.

Keith Tigue of the Phoenix Chapter not only enjoyed having a Legatus Summit in his hometown, but was encouraged by the speakers and the entire Legatus community. More importantly, he said, Legatus helps him to be a better businessman.

“As business leaders, we really have to narrow down on what [God wants] and get out of the way and let God work through us and the dream He has given us in our business.”

In particular, Tigue said, Matthew Kelly’s talk on “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” inspired him to do more. “It made me realize that I’m glad I’m doing this,” he said, “but I need to do better.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of Legatus magazine. This article contains reporting from Catholic News Agency and Ambria Hammel, staff’ writer for The Catholic Sun.


2012 Award Winners

Archbishop William Lori

James Sheehan

Tom Spencer

Ken Cuccinelli, Bill & Andy Newland, Weingartz Family, Christopher & Mary Ann Yep

Mike Caspino, John Reid

Richard Doerflinger, Chuck Donovan, Michael Schwartz

Baton Rouge, San Juan Capistrano

Western Massachusetts, Lexington, South Bay of Los Angeles, Detroit Northeast, Fort Worth

Culture changers

Legatus’ annual conference in the nation’s capital encourages pro-lifers . . .

Despite the federal government’s growing assault on religious liberty and the political clout of Planned Parenthood, Legatus members who attended this year’s pro-life conference are confident that the right side is winning.

Kathleen Eaton, CEO of Birth Choice Health Clinics and a member of Legatus’ Orange Coast Chapter, says the event was a hands-on opportunity to learn how to build the culture of life in America more effectively.

“I think everybody in this room has taken away information dealing with pro-life issues and our call to stand up for our faith,” she said. “Our speakers gave us hope that we are winning this battle — hope and tools to ignite the movement within our own communities.”


Ken Cuccinelli

Eaton was one of 21 Legates from across the country who gathered in Washington, D.C., for Legatus’ 11th Culture of Life Conference from May 2-4. The conference kicked off with Mass, followed by an address from Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who discussed the Supreme Court case against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) which should be decided in June. Cuccinelli filed a suit in federal court just 35 minutes after President Obama signed the bill into law.

“We have an opportunity to protect our Church and its institutions,” he said. “It’s a necessity.”

Legates visited The Heritage Foundation where they learned about the conservative think tank’s work to develop public policies that promote free enterprise, limited government and traditional values. Other speakers included Rep. Virginia Fox (R-NC); James R. Nolan, president of Crossroads; Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America; and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Smith, who co-chairs the House pro-life caucus, talked about his conversations with Chinese pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng, who has since arrived in the United States. Smith also assured Legates that his fight for religious liberty and the lives of the most vulnerable would continue as the fall elections draw near.

Rep. Chris Smith

“America is at a crossroads,” he said. “This election is critical.”

Jeff Smith, president of Legatus’ Manhattan Chapter, said the speakers and discussions that followed were remarkable.

“There are insights here that seem to be on the cutting edge,” he said. “There are conversations here that I don’t think are going on anywhere in the country yet. There were a lot of startling facts presented, but at the same time a lot of hope.”

Legatus Board of Governors member Mike Faricy, Colorado Springs Chapter, said the conference touched on a broad array of issues. “What I learned here will be a benefit not only to my chapter, but also to my diocese,” he said. “This kind of education is invaluable.”

Taking action

Legates heard from Legate Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, and a panel of experts who discussed how the abortion agenda has taken over medicine in the U.S.

Former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline also spoke. In 2005, Kline began investigating child rape cases, but found more than he bargained for as he dug deeper into the records of Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller and the local Planned Parenthood affiliate.

Phill Kline

“The evidence I found is not unique,” Kline said. “It’s just that no one is looking.” As his investigations deepened, both the judicial system and media turned on him. Planned Parenthood poured millions into defending itself, he said, because a conviction would mean the loss of $350 million in federal taxpayer funds.

Not only were Legates fed by excellent speakers, but more importantly by daily Mass, the rosary and the opportunity for Confession. Father Paul Schenk, chairman of the National Pro-Life Center, celebrated all three Masses for delegates.

“We are blessed to have excellent priests like Father Schenk working for the cause of life in our nation’s capital,” said Legatus’ executive director John Hunt. “He inspired all of us to defend women and their children actively.”

Eaton says her chapter is whipping up support for the U.S. bishops’ “Fortnight of Freedom” campaign, a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

“We’re going to ignite our California chapters to join us to pray, fast and maybe even go out on the street corners and hold a sign,” she said. “We’re called to be the John the Baptists of our world today. We don’t have the luxury of sitting in our comfortable homes. We are called to be ambassadors, to get out there and witness to the truth.”

“The conference once again proved a valuable experience for the attendees,” said conference director Laura Sacha. “It’s always a joy to spend time with members and I continue to be inspired by their continuing commitment to Legatus.”

Patrick Novecosky is Legatus magazine’s editor.