Tag Archives: lannette turicchi

The Bible and the Virgin Mary

Matthew Leonard, Scott Hahn
Run time: 5 hours
Available now on DVD
Lighthouse Catholic Media

While Catholics know Mary is important, many never fully grasp how essential she really is. This new five-DVD set, based on Scott Hahn’s bestselling book Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, is a real treasure for anyone who wants to understand Our Lady’s role in salvation history — and the role she plays in the Church today.

Produced by Lannette Turicchi, a member of Legatus’ Ventura/LA North Chapter, the series unveils the mystery of Our Lady woven into the fabric of Sacred Scripture. Turicchi’s Falling Upwards Productions teamed with Hahn’s St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology to develop the 12-part catechetical series, which was mainly filmed at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.

Speaker and author Matthew Leonard is the host and executive director of the set, which is part of the St. Paul Center’s Journey Through Scripture study series. A convert to Catholicism and former missionary to Latin America, Leonard is a frequent guest on radio and television programs and hosts a podcast on iTunes titled The Art of Catholic.

The Bible and the Virgin Mary discusses the scriptural roots of the Church’s teachings about Our Lady, an examination of the 10 Vatican-approved Marian apparitions, and stunning videography — shot almost entirely in and around TAC’s Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. Lessons explore everything from Mary’s Immaculate Conception to her Assumption and coronation as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The publisher offers various packages for individual and parish study, including workbooks and the Scott Hahn book that inspired the video series. Designed to help ordinary Catholics gain greater insight into God’s word and deepen other aspects of their faith, these videos might just be tailor-made to help Legatus members take their faith to a whole new level.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.

Visit the St. Paul Center website for more information

Finding a home with Rome

Four Legatus members talk about their inspired journey into the Catholic Church . . .

Mark Pierce thought Catholics were going to hell.

Laura Haslam found them stiff and unwelcoming.

Kurt Meyer was uncomfortable with the way Catholics showed their faith through practices like the sign of the cross.

And Lannette Turicchi had trouble understanding their devotion to Mary and the saints.

All four Legates overcame prejudices, misconceptions, doubts and fears and entered the Church from other Christian traditions — and each has gone on to become a devout follower of the faith.

Praying to statues

Laura Haslam and family of the Savannah Chapter.

Laura Haslam and family of the Savannah Chapter.

Pierce, founder of E5 Leader, a leadership mentoring and coaching company, was raised Southern Baptist. A member of Legatus’ Cleveland Chapter, he converted in 1992, more than 10 years after he married his Catholic wife, Linda. When they married, he promised not to interfere with her practice of the faith and to raise their children Catholic.

When he went to Mass with her, he recalled, “I would sit in the back pew with my arms crossed thinking, ‘They’re all going to hell because they’re praying to statues.’ It was a freaky thing for me. At times I wondered what I had gotten myself into.”

But through his wife’s witness, Pierce said, “I got to meet a God who was giving and loving, not crushing.” His heart was also softened by the Catholics he met and especially the priests who had given up life (as he thought men were meant to live it) to dedicate themselves to serving God and others.

Pierce started asking questions and, when he was asked to be his niece’s Godfather, he told his wife he wanted to investigate conversion. “The next thing I knew I was in RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults].”

For Meyer, who grew up in South Bend, Ind., awed by the golden dome and the basilica at the University of Notre Dame, the path from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod into the Catholic Church was much easier. When his then-fiancée, Julie, asked him to convert while both were students at Ball State University, he said, “Great! Where do I sign up?”


Kurt Meyer and family of the South Bend-Elkhart Chapter.

Haslam, a former Baptist, converted because of her marriage to a Catholic, but not until two years after their wedding. After much prayer, Haslam said she made the decision to join the Catholic Church because she wanted to be unified with her husband John in their religious belief and practice.

“I just knew it was something I needed to do and that it was important for our marriage.”

Personal sacrifice

Turicchi, who had been exposed to multiple Christian traditions, converted while she was dating the Catholic man she later married. The decision to enter the Church, she said, had to be right for her and separate from her connection to anyone else.

“Ultimately, it was about my relationship with God and trying to define faith,” she said.

One of the first things Turicchi learned about becoming Catholic from the priest who prepared her was that her choice might divide her family.

“And it did,” she said. “When you embrace the Catholic faith, you have to embrace the teachings and there are some things you can no longer participate in.”

For her, this included having to tell her sister that she could not stay with her boyfriend in their house at Christmas.


Scott and Lannette Turicchi of the Hollywood and Pasadena chapters.

Turicchi, who with her husband Scott belongs to Legatus’ Hollywood and Pasadena chapters, said she sometimes gets frustrated with Catholics who take their faith for granted.

“I sacrificed something to be Catholic,” she explained. “There is a price to pay. It’s a hard concept that your family and your faith are at odds.”

Pierce, Meyer, and Haslam had similar experiences. After his conversion, Pierce said, most of his family told him they would pray that he wouldn’t go to hell. However, his father attended his reception into the Church and both his parents came to a party for him the next day. Others in his family have essentially disowned him.

Meyer, who is president of Legatus’ South Bend-Elkhart Chapter in Indiana, said his mother went to the Easter Vigil when he entered the Church and cried through the whole service. His father was too distraught to attend.

“I had no idea it was going to be that impactful to them,” he explained. “I didn’t think it was that big a change.”

Haslam’s parents also had a difficult time with her decision because, she said, “they had tried so hard to raise me being Baptist.” But once they saw that she was serious about Catholicism and had embraced it for the sake of her marriage and family, they gave their support.

Despite the conviction she felt about becoming Catholic, Haslam, a member of Legatus’ Savannah Chapter, confesses to having struggled with the difference between the typical Catholic parish and the Baptist church where she grew up.

“As Baptists, we enjoy each other’s company and everyone knows each other, and there is such fellowship,” she explained. “In the Catholic Church, people do their thing and move on. There’s more of a stiffness.”

Haslam and her family have since moved to a parish that is more welcoming.

Fantastic journey


Mark Pierce of the Cleveland Chapter.

These converts struggled with particular Catholic teachings, especially those on Mary and the saints. Pierce said these were among the biggest issues for him.

“Something brilliant happened when a priest said to me, ‘Mark, in your old faith, did you ask anybody to pray for you?’” The priest likened praying to Mary and the saints to requesting intercessory prayer. “Once I knew that, I thought, ‘I’ve been doing that all my life. Now I can ask the really important people who can make a difference.’”

Turicchi, who works in the film industry as owner of Falling Upwards Productions, said she also struggled with the role of Mary and the saints and had to accept some teachings on faith, and then work through them.

Despite the difficulties they’ve encountered, Pierce and the others say their conversions have borne much fruit.

Haslam said that when she and her husband lost a baby in 2006, the people they had met through the Church surrounded them with support. “It helped me to know we were in the right place.”

Having had what she calls “an amazing life,” Turicchi said, “I just know it would have been different — and not for the better — had I not become Catholic.”

Pierce says his conversion aided the growth he has seen in his business, his marriage, and his relationship with God. “Everything in my life began to blossom.”

Meyer, who is vice president of human resources for St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Ind., said the Catholic faith has nurtured his family and, he believes, protected his children when they went to public schools. His oldest son Jacob is now a diocesan priest in Fort Wayne.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Meyer. “My faith has made the other aspects of my life — physical and mental — much richer because I have a great depth in the spiritual life.”

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

Legates witness history

Double canonization features double themes: Second Vatican Council and the family . . .

cover-june14When the Vatican announced last fall that Pope John Paul II would be raised to the honors of the altar on Mercy Sunday 2014, no one was surprised. In fact, shortly after his death on the eve of Mercy Sunday 2005, the faithful insisted on his canonization.

Italians held signs aloft at his funeral that read “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” Nine years later, their demands were met with nearly a million people on hand to witness the largest gathering at the Vatican in history.

Between 800,000 and 1 million people jammed St. Peter’s Square on April 27 spilling out down the Via della Conciliazione all the way to the Tiber River and dozens of squares in Rome, most watching on big screens set up for the canonization of two popes: John Paul and John XXIII.

Witness to history

Don & Michele D’Amour

Don & Michele D’Amour

Dozens of Legatus members were among the pilgrims witnessing history. Not only was it historic in terms of size, but it was the first time the Church has canonized two popes at once — and it was the first canonization with two popes present at the altar, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI concelebrated the Mass with his successor Pope Francis.

Donald and Michele D’Amour, members of Legatus’ Western Massachusetts Chapter, were in St. Peter’s Square, halfway between the altar and the obelisk.

“It was a powerful and humbling moment for me,” Michele said. “It was humbling to be among all the pilgrims, stretching for miles beyond the Vatican, which really was symbolic of the solidarity in Christ that we have in the universal Church.”

Brian & Bernice Follett

Brian & Bernice Follett

“These newly canonized popes,” Don added, “were great leaders who had the courage to be faithful and make things happen for the good of the Church and the world. In the presence of four popes, you felt the continuity, how they helped each other bring renewal to the Church and bring the gospel to the world. It was inspiring and gave a lot of food for thought.”

Brian and Bernice Follett, members of Legatus’ new chapter in Austin, Texas, watched the canonization ceremony from the roof of a convent adjacent to St. Peter’s Square. The couple attended John Paul’s beatification in 2011, but had a much better view this time around.

“It was a phenomenal experience to have two popes canonized at once and to see Pope Francis and Pope Benedict together,” Brian said. “I remember John Paul’s 1987 visit to Phoenix where I lived after college. I wasn’t practicing my faith much, but I listened to him on the radio. He has meant a lot to me over the years, so this canonization was very special.”

Scott and Lannette Turicchi of Legatus’ Hollywood Chapter brought their three daughters along for the canonization, having a prime spot on the convent roof with the Folletts.

“It was one of those moments in time that you just can’t really describe but you’ll never forget,” said Lannette, who recently wrapped production on her John Paul documentary, The Prophet of Our Time. “For seven years my children watched me make a movie about this pope, so to share the moment with them was very special. They knew they were witnessing something that would never happen again in their lifetime.”

Pope of the family

Scott & Lannette Turicchi

Scott & Lannette Turicchi

In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope Francis declared John Paul II the “pope of the family” to great applause from the massive congregation. The Holy Father prayed for the new saint’s intercession as the Church prepares for the Synod on the Family in October, saying that “from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains us.”

Speaker and author Jason Evert, who also attended the canonization, told Legatus magazine that John Paul said, in a private conversation many years ago, that if he was remembered by history, he would like to be known as the “pope of the family.”

“When he was called the pope of the family, that was my favorite moment of the whole canonization,” Evert said. “I was thrilled that Pope Francis alluded to that passing conversation that John Paul had. It was how he wanted to be remembered.

“I think it ties in very well with the upcoming synod,” he said, “because John Paul’s writings — in particular the Theology of the Body and his appreciation of human love and his love for families — is really going to play a key role in the synod. The truth is that as the family goes, so goes the whole world.”

Author and theologian Ralph Martin agrees.

“John Paul II actually spent a lot of time with families,” said Martin, a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and member of Legatus’ Ann Arbor Chapter.

“He went on camping trips with young couples and young people, and he encouraged them in the vocation of marriage and family,” Martin said. “He not only taught about it in his post-synodal exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981), but he modeled it in almost unforgettable images of him loving people, hanging out with lay people, sharing the life of the people.

“Long before Pope Francis ever said, ‘You’ve got to have the smell of the sheep on you,’ John Paul had the smell of the sheep on him,” Martin explained. “He really modeled that in a wonderful way.”

Bookends of Vatican II

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI embraces Pope Francis at the canonization Mass on April 27

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI embraces Pope Francis at the canonization Mass on April 27

The canonization also highlighted the fact that John XXIII, led by the Holy Spirit, called the Second Vatican Council while John Paul II, himself a father of the Council, spent his pontificate explaining and implementing its teachings.

Pope Francis noted in his homily that both new pope saints “lived through the tragic events of the century but were not overwhelmed by them. These were two men of courage, filled with … the Holy Spirit. In [them] there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable joy.”

Evert pointed out that John Paul II — like the first Pope John Paul — took his name from John XXIII and Paul VI, both fathers of the Council.

“These two new saints were bookends of the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “John Paul saw his name as integral to his pontificate, implementing the Council’s directives. Key to that are religious freedom, the role of the Church in the modern world, calling the laity to take part in the New Evangelization, and building a culture of life and civilization of love.”

The confusion that occurred after the Council wasn’t the intended result, Martin observed. “But John Paul got the whole thing back on track and was able to interpret the Council for us. Through his very long pontificate, he was able, issue by issue, to clarify carefully the Council’s teaching and really put us on a solid foundation for its implementation in the future.

“He called the synod of 1985 that was so important in laying down guidelines for how to properly interpret the Council,” he said. “He made a major contribution to safeguarding the fruits of the Council for the Church.”

Lannette Turicchi of Legatus’ Hollywood Chapter expressed hope that the two new saints of Vatican II would inspire the faithful in the years to come.

“I hope it’s a new springtime for the Church,” she said. “Our Church is what we make of it. If we allow apathy, we’ll get apathy. If we promote love, we’ll get love. Whatever our actions are, that’s what’s going to prevail.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.

You can’t fool the camera

Legate’s Know the Glow campaign helps build awareness of childhood eye disorders . . . 

Like a picture, a photograph is worth a thousand words. However, if you see a photo of a child in which one eye is red and there’s a glow of any other color in the other, the words should be few and followed by an exclamation mark: “See an eye doctor!”

The glow

So-called “red eye,” in which the flash of the camera reflects off the retina, is a normal if annoying phenomenon. But glows or glints of any other color, usually white or blackish, may indicate any one of 15 eye disorders — two of which are especially malignant: Coats’ Disease (which can lead to blindness) and retinoblastoma (a potentially lethal cancer that occurs in one in every 15,000 births). If detected early, chances for a full cure or substantial recovery of sight are very good.

Lannette Turicchi

The Know the Glow campaign aims to educate people about childhood eye disorders that often are detected too late, but are easily caught. Conducted under the auspices of the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the campaign launched last summer after Lannette Turicchi of Legatus’ Hollywood Chapter felt God’s call to help her friend, Megan Webber.

Webber’s son, Benjamin, benefited from treatment at the Vision Center after she took him in for an exam. Doctors diagnosed him with Coats’ Disease, and laser treatment restored much of the sight in his affected eye.

“Megan sent me a note saying she wanted to ask some friends to raise money for the Vision Center to educate other families about ‘the glow,’” said Turicchi, a filmmaker. “I felt a little voice from God saying, ‘Instead of telling a few friends, let’s tell everyone about it.”

The campaign

So Turicchi got on the phone with Rob Mudd — the son of her friend and fellow Legate Jim Mudd, CEO of Mudd Advertising — who runs Mudd 360, the media wing of his father’s firm.

“When I told Rob we needed their help, he said to count him in,” said Turicchi. “Mudd employees lent their money and time to create a great tool at KnowTheGlow.org to educate parents about the possible dangers associated with ‘the glow.’”

So far, the site has gotten over four million hits, thanks in part to Turicchi’s neighbor Larry Hitchcock, a multi-media executive who works with AOL on non-profit campaigns. He convinced AOL to feature the campaign on its homepage last February. It became one of AOL’s most visited clips for cause marketing.

Future plans include creating a marketing deck to help get corporations to spread the word among families and pediatricians, who often overlook eye disorders in children.

Dr. Mark Borchert

“When examining an eye, pediatricians can’t see the part where that odd glow is emanating from, so they tend to assume everything is normal,” said Dr. Mark Borchert, head of the Vision Center at CHLA. “Consequently, the diagnosis of any of these diseases associated with the glow is often made late, resulting in more severe vision loss — or in the case of retinoblastoma, even death. Through this campaign, pediatricians and parents can be armed with the knowledge to change children’s destinies.”

“It’s the Vision Center’s goal that every child sees a sunset,” said Webber. “At first, I’d been erasing the glow in Benjamin’s eye with the photo software on my computer. Knowing that I had been ignoring the very warning sign that could have potentially been lethal, I just want to be sure all parents know to watch for this recurring glow.”

As for Turicchi, she will continue promoting a campaign she believes is intrinsically holy.

“My decision to get involved goes back to understanding God’s beauty, which I learned from Dr. Tom Dillon [the late Legate and president of Thomas Aquinas College, who died in a car crash in 2009]. We had this conversation back when they were building the college chapel. He talked of God’s beauty and how sometimes people don’t know God until they are able to see His glory. How could I not help when 80% of childhood blindness is preventable through early detection? I’m passionate about filmmaking. Could I do that if I were blind?”

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