Tag Archives: Legatus 30th Anniversary

Hats off to our members

In this Issue of Legatus magazine, we commemorate our 30th anniversary as an organization whose mission is to attain heaven and bring as many souls with us as possible. Congratulations to you, our members, for the work you have done to achieve this holy mission over the past 30 years!

Stephen Henley

This May our International Board of Governors met for their second of three meetings a year. Our International Board of Governors is comprised of 11 members from chapters all over the country, from both large and small chapters in small markets as well as big. The board opted to use the opportunity to have the trimestral meetings in Los Angeles where four of our chapters meet from the Los Angeles area at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The gathering was hosted by our international ecclesial advisor, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.

During this trip, our founder recalled the beginning of Legatus, noting that the basis of Legatus is the same today as it was from the start. Tom Monaghan began planning the meetings for the middle of the week, “because you were taking extremely busy, successful people and pushing them to go to Mass more than once a week. Then by having Confession and Rosary before Mass, you are further enriching the spiritual experience for the members.” Think about the example this presents to your spouse, children, parents and co-workers.

Regardless of what chapter you visit, the monthly chapter meetings have not varied from that first day in 1987. All meetings offer Confession, reciting the rosary, celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, enjoying a brief social period and a first-class meal, and the icing on the cake: an inspiring speaker. In its entirety, the whole evening is a masterpiece!

It must be acknowledged that there sometimes comes the temptation when there is a busy month, and we all have them often, when we start treating Confession and rosary before Mass as the buffer to ensure we are not late to Mass, versus the enormous grace it is, on its own, to pray and unite with fellow members of our chapter.

On this 30th anniversary of our founding, I urge you all, members, officers, chaplains and administrators of chapters, to encourage all of your members to take advantage of the whole experience. Legatus is not something to be cutting apart and taking bits and pieces, but rather in its entirety, it exists to help you be accountable to yourself and God as well as to hold your peers accountable in truly working to further your faith and finally, to bring as many souls to heaven as possible.

What all chapters offer is an experience, and if we are not giving our members the best experience of the month, then we fall short as an organization. “The world needs genuine witnesses in Christian ethics in the field of business, and the Church calls you (Legatus) to fulfill this role publicly with courage and perseverance.” Thank you for joining in this call to action from Pope St. John Paul II! To 30 years and beyond!

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director. 

Legatus @ 30

This May marks 30 years since Legatus started bringing together some of the most powerful and influential Catholics in the country. Founder Tom Monaghan realized that forming an organization to deepen the faith of Catholic CEOs and presidents would put inspiration and knowledge where power already existed.

“Legatus takes leaders and helps them to be better Catholics,” Monaghan said in an interview for Legatus magazine. “They can do more than the average person and they should.” As a successful businessman and lifelong Catholic, Monaghan’s experience with “doing more” put him in the perfect position to influence other leaders.

“I’m doing this because it’s the best thing I can do to help people get to heaven,” he said. “All my past experience has contributed to this and somehow at the age of 80, I still have the energy and ability.”

Monaghan’s professional experience is vast, beginning with turning a restaurant that he paid $900 for in 1960 into Domino’s Pizza, which sold for over $1 billion in 1998, and including his ownership of the Detroit Tigers from 1983 to 1992. But after forming Legatus, Monaghan moved away from materialism into dedicating his life to the Church.

Affecting the Culture

Legatus has had a ripple effect, according to Monaghan, starting with those who can make things happen and then radiating into the Church and culture. Even back in the 1990s Legatus was called “the most influential lay organization in the Church” by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the first international chaplain for Legatus from 1988 to 2012.

And during a Legatus papal audience in 1988, Pope St. John Paul II told them: “The world needs genuine witnesses to the Christian ethics in the field of business and the Church asks you to fulfill this role publicly and with perseverance.”

It was after Monaghan’s dream opportunity in 1987 of attending Mass with Pope St. John Paul II in his private chapel and shaking hands with him afterwards that Legatus was born. Immediately following that experience, Monaghan was inspired to model an organization after the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), a group for networking among heads of businesses aged 50 and younger, but to make his group about the Catholic faith. He wanted to evangelize the heads of top companies by filling them with Catholic inspiration and truths to bring back to their families, their businesses, the Church, and the culture.

And So It Began

On June 2, 1987, just one month after Monaghan met the Pope, Legatus took hold in Michigan with a meeting of 11 men in Ann Arbor. It has been growing ever since with 87 chapters, which includes 2,700 executive members and over 5,000 total members including spouses.

“Legatus was a response to Pope John Paul II’s request to evangelize,” Monaghan said. “CEOs are influential because most people look up to those who are successful.” He explained that too often, successful people are looked up to for the wrong reason— worldly success. It’s more important that Catholics in the public eye give a good example, according to him. “That’s what the word Legatus means—ambassador,” he said. “They can evangelize just by being so visible. It’s quite an accomplishment to have achieved the level of a CEO and still be a practicing Catholic.”

Those that run big companies are a rare breed, Monaghan said, because it takes a lot to get to the top and to stay there. “Because of that, they need more spiritual support and more graces,” he said. “Everything else they do pales in comparison to their work and generosity for the Church, because that can make a difference in someone’s eternity.”

Into the Future

“We have an aggressive plan to grow Legatus in both quantity and quality,” said Stephen Henley, who became the organization’s sixth executive director last year. He explained that the goal is to become a global organization, doubling in size in three to four years, then moving into Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, India and into the rest of the world. “Tom is a visionary through and through,” Henley said. “He has laid out the strategic plan on how it will grow and he’s developed new positions to better serve our current members.”

Unlike businesses where growth is about increased profits, Henley said that Legatus is about profiting souls. “This is about expanding the true mission of Legatus — to teach and support members in their faith so that they can better support the Church, especially during these times.”

Monaghan has never made a penny on Legatus, and even pays his own annual dues. A recent calculation, according to Henley, revealed that Monaghan has contributed more than $1.5 million of his own money, but the organization is now self-sufficient and there is a succession plan in place. When Monaghan is no longer able to serve as chairman and CEO, the executive director will become the CEO. “But Tom’s doctors tell him he could easily have another 20 years,” Henley stated. “Tom isn’t ever going to retire; he’s going to be with us to the end.”

New Blood

As chapters grow and new ones are formed, there is a move to bring in younger members. Henley pointed to Craig Henry, who joined at 45 and became a founding charter member and the inaugural president of the Lafayette-Acadiana chapter, as a good example of that.

Henry is the founder, owner and president of MAS Transportation & Logistics, LLC, based in Lafayette, LA, and managing partner in the Bradford Food Group, a food distribution and bakery company which operates in Mexico and the U.S. He and his wife Jamie have three children.

It was good friends Sam and Sally LaVergne who introduced the Henrys to Legatus through the Baton Rouge Chapter in July 2013. “Legatus has literally changed our lives,” Henry said. Although they went to Sunday Mass (usually), and their kids were in Catholic school, he admitted that something was missing.

“We kept feeling like we had a hole in our hearts that we could not fill,” Henry said. “We didn’t know what to do with the fruits of our success and like many lost 40-year-old souls, we weren’t living our Catholic faith as Christ intended.” After attending their first Legatus Summit in Orlando in January of 2014, Henry said that he felt “reborn.”

“We learned what the Church stood for and how we could utilize our successes to be true ambassadors for Christ,” he said. “Legatus changed how we ran our businesses and showed us how to lead by Christian example.”

When Henry reluctantly — after much prayer — agreed to step up as inaugural president of the new Lafayette-Acadiana Legatus Chapter, with the help of many other great Catholic business leaders, they broke the Legatus record at charting with 54 member couples.

He described Monaghan as a great friend and mentor who has helped him in both business and his spiritual life. “He challenged me to say a rosary every day for the rest of my life and I’ve done it for years now.” Recently, while saying a rosary in the car after getting a new puppy, he chuckled to hear his daughter say to the dog: “Duke, get ready, this happens all the time.”

“Legatus has focused us on our faith even with the friends we have, how we raise our kids and run our businesses, and how we view our faith and spread it,” Henry said. “It has touched everything in our life. “

PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG wrote the newly published book, Legatus @ 30, is an award-winning author and Catholic journalist, TV and radio commentator, and mother of 10.

LEGATUS TIMELINE

1987

May
Tom Monaghan meets with Pope St. John Paul II who inspires him to form Legatus

June
First chapters form in Michigan and Honduras

November
First Legatus retreat held on Drummond Island, MI

1988

March
First Legatus “University” meeting held in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Legatus membership at 124

June
Archbishop Justin Rigali named international ecclesiastical advisor

November
Pope St. John Paul II meets with Legatus pilgrims at Vatican

1992

May
Legatus celebrates fifth anniversary, 672 members

1994

January
First Legatus awards at the National Awards Banquet and Celebration at Dearborn Inn, Dearborn, Mich.

September
Revised Legatus Mission Statement is published: “To study, live and spread the Faith in our business, profession and personal lives.”

1998

September
Legatus founder Thomas Monaghan sells Domino’s Pizza to devote his time and resources to philanthropic work

October
Legatus members meet with Pope St. John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Vatican while on pilgrimage

December
Legatus has 1,200 members in 22 chapters

1999

November
First Leadership Summit is held

December
Legatus website is launched: legatus.org

2000

January
Legatus welcomes its 1,000th CEO member

October
Legatus pilgrimage and audience with Pope St. John Paul II

2001

May
Legatus holds its first annual pro-life conference in Washington, D.C., which includes a 20-minute private visit with President George Bush

2002

September
Legatus monthly newsletter becomes Legatus magazine accepting sponsorship advertising

2005

Legatus charters seven chapters, breaking all previous chartering records: San Antonio, Ann Arbor, Lincoln, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Houma-Thibodaux, Peoria.

2007

May
Legatus celebrates its 20th anniversary with more than 4,000 members in 73 chapters

2010

Legatus Annual Summit at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, CA hosts former President George W. Bush

2012

Legatus 25th anniversary

At year’s end: 2,155 members and 75 chapters

2014

Legatus begins new growth strategy and develops new position of Chapter development officer. In the next three years Legatus
charters 18 new chapters

2016

Legatus surpasses all chartering records with eight
new charters: Lake Charles, Vancouver, St. Charles, Harrisburg, Charlotte, Madison, Washington, D.C., and Fairfield

2017

30th anniversary of Legatus

80th birthday of the founder of Legatus, Tom Monaghan

88 chapters; 18 more in development

There are now 2,655 executive members and over 5,000 total members

Celebrating 30 years

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on the 30th anniversary of our founding. As you know, on May 7 we celebrate this special anniversary. As I look back over the past 30 years of Legatus, I am grateful for many things. I am grateful to Christ for his guidance and protection over these three decades and for all the ways He has blessed us. I am also grateful for the many people who have helped Legatus get to where we are today.

Tom Monaghan

There have been key leaders in the hierarchy whose support and encouragement assisted us at critical times. There have been countless members who have served on the national board and in leadership roles at the chapter level who have made Legatus the organization it is today. I also want to recognize our staff, both past and present, who have seen Legatus not as a job, but as their vocation.

As I reflect on our current society and the challenges we face (in the Church, in our families, in politics, in business), I am more convinced than ever of the importance of Legatus. Through Legatus, each of us can be supported and strengthened in our faith, and then in turn we can spread the Gospel to those we interact with on a daily basis. I am continually inspired by stories I hear of Legates who are doing this in a host of ways… be it supporting Catholic education, pro-life efforts, working with the poor, evangelistic efforts, taking leadership roles in their parishes / diocese… the list goes on and on. And as I look to the future, I am both enthusiastic and hopeful about the future of Legatus. As I travel the country visiting chapters, members routinely thank me for starting Legatus. I hear from new members who have made many great friends whose faith is on fire as a result, and from those who have been members for decades and point to Legatus as a great source of strength and support for them over the years.

Finally, I am struck by the need for us to pray for Legatus as an organization and for our fellow members. The work that we are doing is important and because it is important, I believe we will experience opposition both spiritually and otherwise. Please join me in praying daily for Legatus as a whole and for all of our members. By now all of you should have received the book, Legatus @ 30, which we published on the occasion of this anniversary. Let me encourage you to read it and share it with others. It is not just a nice book we published to chronicle our history, but an opportunity for each of us to be reinvigorated by our mission. May each of us continue to study, spread and live our faith!

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder and chairman.

Legatus Summit jump-starts the faith

It was billed as the nation’s “biggest Catholic pep rally,” and members who attended Legatus’ Annual Summit say it didn’t disappoint.

The 2017 Summit concluded on Jan. 28 with a raucous concert from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dion DiMucci

Legates from across the nation say they were motivated to embrace Legatus’ mission to learn, live and spread the faith during the three-day event at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla.

Fulfillment of all desire

Opening night speaker Dion DiMucci told attendees of the Jan. 26-28 gathering that all the success in the world doesn’t come close to the fulfillment one gets from friendship with Jesus.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, who rocketed to the top of the charts in the late 1950s and early ’60s with a string of hits including “The Wanderer” and “Runaround Sue,” said that “when you don’t have God in your life, you try to find significance in wealth, power, pleasure and honor. It doesn’t satisfy. There’s a big difference between being successful and being fulfilled.”

DiMucci gave his testimony, recounting how he came to embrace his Catholic faith after recovering from years of drug and alcohol abuse. He pointed to Ralph Martin’s book The Fulfillment of All Desire, which helped him develop a real relationship with Jesus.

“These things that St. Thomas Aquinas talks about — the wealth, the pleasure, the power, the honor,” he said. “Once you rest in Christ, and you feel like you’re home, he shapes your desire for those things.”

Other speakers — from Matt Fradd and Fr. Larry Richards to Ralph Martin and William Simon, Jr. — asked Legates to step into the cultural battle.

“It is for you and I to bring the living face of Christ into the world, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Conn., told Legates in his homily during the Summit’s opening Mass.

Faith-focused

Scott and Kathleen Hummel, members of Legatus’ St. Louis Chapter, said they were bowled over by their first Summit experience.

“The opening Mass started the whole thing off on the right note,” Scott Hummel said, noting Bishop Caggiano’s homily. “It just cut right to the heart of what we believe as Catholics and what we’re called to as Legatus members — to be Christ to the world.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Conn., delivers the Summit’s opening homily on Jan. 26

“When the bishop stepped off the podium and walked down the center aisle into the crowd, he looked right into my eyes. Kathleen and I looked at each other, and I thought, ‘This is not what we thought it was going to be. This is going to be significant, this is going to be powerful.’ And it was. The talks were so deep and rich.”

While some of the talks focused on the theme of “No More Comfortable Catholicism,” others ventured into business, economics and culture.

“Business are not about money. They’re about people,” Legatus member Tim Busch said in his talk, entitled Principled Entrepreneurship. “This is what what our Pope is talking about. We have the richness of economic theory in the Catholic Church.”

Tom and Glory Sullivan, longtime members of Legatus’ Jacksonville Chapter, have attended most of the Summits since they joined Legatus 17 years ago.

“What goes on here are three action-packed days of meetings and phenomenal speakers — just jump-starting your faith all over again,” Glory said. “That’s the hallmark of Legatus.”

Friendship and fellowship

Hummel was also taken aback by the extraordinary amount of joy, particularly from emcee Dr. Ray Guarendi.

“The welcome was extraordinary. The whole thing was so fun and joyful. I really didn’t expect that. I was expecting a more somber mood. I was laughing and crying the entire time. It was so powerful and just a smack in the head and heart. We explained to our St. Louis colleagues that this is one of the most remarkable things we’ve experienced in a long time.”

Brian Burch, a member of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter and president of Catholic Vote, said the Summit is the place to be for Catholic leaders.

“You leave feeling educated, you leave feeling inspired. It is truly one of the best Catholic events of the entire year,” he said. “If you’re Catholic and you are a business person and you want to find ways in which those can be better integrated, there’s no better place than at the Legatus Summit.”

Hummel said his experience was beyond his expectations.

“I came into the Summit feeling like a stranger, and I left feeling so special,” he explained. “My hope is that every single Legatus member could experience this at least once. It’s really that powerful.”

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

2016 AWARD WINNERS

National President of the Year
William S. Orosz Jr. (Orlando)
Central: William W. Dandridge (Fort Worth)
Great Lakes: Jeff Pallini (NE Wisconsin)

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan (center) poses with winners of the President of the Year award for four of Legatus’ five regions. L-R: Bill Orosz (Orlando), Bill Raaths (accepting for winner, Jeff Pallini, NE Wisconsin), Tom Monaghan, Laura L. Connell (Jersey Shore), Bill Dandridge (Fort Worth). Missing: Paul Urrea (Pasadena).

Northeast: Laura L. Connell (Jersey Shore)
West: Dr. Paul Urrea (Pasadena)

National Membership Chair of the Year
Bob Schwartz (Ann Arbor)
Central: Joe Giglio (Lafayette-Acadiana)
Northeast: Grant Franjione (Pittsburgh)
Southeast: Ray Bradick (Orlando)
West (Tie): Byrnes Lambert (San Diego), Kristen Meyer (San Juan Capistrano), Ralph Linzmeier (Orange Coast)

National Program Chair of the Year:
Matthew Pinto (Philadelphia)
Central: Doran Oancia (Denver)
Great Lakes: Fran Morrissey (Rockford)
Southeast: Tom Peterson (Atlanta)
West: “Billie” Wilhelmina Jorgensen (San Diego)

National Ace of the Year
Kenneth Ballweg (Madison)
Central: David Lukinovich (Baton Rouge)
Northeast: Cece Donoghue (Fairfield County)
Southeast: Tom Wessels (Atlanta)
West (Tie): Ralph Linzmeier (Orange), Murray Neilson (Vancouver)

National Chaplain of the Year
Fr. Ryan P. Lewis (Omaha)
Great Lakes: Fr. Daniel Scheidt (Fort Wayne)
Northeast: Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie (New York City)
Southeast: Fr. William D. Byrne (Washington DC)
West: Fr. Maurice Harrigan (South Bay of Los Angeles)

Matthew Pinto

Chapters with 100% Retention
Houma-Thibodaux, Jersey Shore, Lake Charles, New Orleans Northshore, Northeast Wisconsin

Founders Award
John & Patti DeFelice (Harrisburg), Steve & Mary Lou Spoerl (St. Charles), Murray & Patty Neilson (Vancouver)

Ambassador of the Year: Ralph Linzmeier (Orange Coast)

Campbell Award: Philadelphia, Rockford, Denver, San Diego, Atlanta

Angott Award: Ann Arbor

Cardinal O’Connor Defender of the Faith: Peter Kreeft

Bowie Kuhn Special Award for Evangelization: Tim Busch