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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

Legates challenged to become ‘Uncomfortable Catholics’

Speakers at Legatus’ Annual Summit challenged members to become counter-cultural witnesses to the Gospel and the Truths of the Catholic faith.

Drawing on the theme “No More Comfortable Catholicism,” speakers at the three-day event at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, FLA., asked Legates to use their influence and resources to build a culture of life and draw souls to Christ and His Church.

Dr. Ray Guarendi speaks on “The Logic of Being Catholic” on Jan. 30

Dr. Ray Guarendi speaks on “The Logic of Being Catholic” on Jan. 30

CONFRONTING THE CULTURE

Opening night speaker Robert George told the 505 attendees of the Jan. 28-31 gathering that “it’s no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel.”

The Princeton professor, who has been a leader in the fight for life and marriage, reminded Legates of Christ’s words: “‘If anyone wants to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.’ We American Catholics, having become comfortable, had forgotten, or ignored, that timeless Gospel truth. There will be no ignoring it now.”

Describing the secular, post-Christian culture that pervades the West, George said that it’s easy for Christians to become like Peter after Christ’s arrest and deny that we know Him.

Are we “prepared to give public witness to the massively politically incorrect truths of the Gospel, truths that the mandarins of an elite culture shaped by the dogmas of expressive individualism and me-generation liberalism do not wish to hear spoken?” he asked.

Other speakers — from Pastor Rick Warren and Ralph Martin to Fr. Michael Schmitz and Bill Donohue — asked Legates to step into the cultural battle.

“You can change our society,” said Donohue, president of the Catholic League. “Catholics are 25% of the population. Don’t tell me that it takes a big army to get things done. It takes leaders, and if every one of you go back to your communities and begin to change the culture, it will happen.”

AN OFFERING TO GOD

Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California, talked about his experience speaking at a Vatican conference on marriage and the World Meeting of Families last year in Philadelphia.

The best-selling author began his talk by describing Moses’ initial encounter with God when the Lord turned his staff into a snake.

“That staff was Moses’ livelihood,” he explained. “He laid it down and it became God’s staff. What are you holding onto? What’s in your hand? Lay it down and see what God will do with it.”

Father Michael Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, echoed those sentiments in his talk “A Theology of Work,” in which he described work as an offering to God.

“John Paul II points out that all work has dignity in and of itself,” he said, “which is why we strive for excellence in all work whether we work in the home or outside the home.”

Drawing on films — including Chariots of Fire and Steve Jobs — Fr. Schmitz said work should lead us to virtue: The habitual disposition to do good. “The point of work is, in some ways, like the point of sports,” he explained. “It’s not just to do things excellently, but to become excellent through doing those things.”

Actress and former Miss USA Ali Landry addresses Legates on Jan. 30. She served as the Summit’s master of ceremonies.

Actress and former Miss USA Ali Landry addresses Legates on Jan. 30. She served as the Summit’s master of ceremonies.

FRIENDSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP

Aside from the diverse range of excellent speakers, attendees said conversation with fellow members was a high point of the annual event.

“The fellowship aspect of the Summit was a surprise to me,” said Randy Hammond, a longtime Denver member who recently transferred to Phoenix. “I marveled at the fellowship and the connections in talking to members who are dealing with some of the same challenges we are.”

Summit chairs Ed Malk and Doug Curry saluted members of the host chapter from Lincoln, Neb.

“People told us that the Nebraska presence was felt,” Malk said, noting that 27 members of the chapter attended, plus Lincoln’s Bishop Emeritus Fabian Bruskewitz. “The camaraderie built was unbelievable. We don’t get to see each other much when we’re at home. We had four days where we were pretty close. That was a real valuable experience.”

Legatus’ conference director Laura Sacha applauded the Lincoln Chapter for their work after the Summit venue was unexpectedly changed from California to Florida last May.

“My hat’s off to them,” she said. “Their hospitality and willingness to go the extra mile really made this Summit something that people will remember for a very long time.”

Denver Legate Walt Coughlin attended his first Summit. “I’ve been inspired by the speakers. They’ve been truly amazing in terms of ideas, and I feel reenergized.”

Michael Hollern of the Grand Rapids Chapter registered late for what was also his first Summit experience.

“I called my wife and said, ‘Next year I’m not letting you off the hook. You’re joining me. I signed up late this time, but next year we’re going to plan ahead.’”

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

Randy Hammond

Randy Hammond

2015 AWARD WINNERS

Defender of the Faith
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Ambassador of the Year
Randy Hammond

National Ace of the Year
Jeffrey Hyman

National Chaplain of the Year
Fr. Rick Stansberry

Courage in the Marketplace
David Daleiden

David Daleiden

David Daleiden

Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization
Michael Heck

Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award
Theresa Deisher
Robert P. George
Stephen Jalsevac
John-Henry Westen

Angott Award
Denver, Atlanta

Campbell Award
Fort Worth, Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh, Houma-Thibodaux, South Bay of Los Angeles

Summit Speaker: Cardinal Dolan

Tim Drake chats with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a speaker at the 2015 Legatus Summit . . .

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan serves as the 10th and current archbishop of New York. He was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010-2013. He previously served as archbishop of Milwaukee, auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, and rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He spoke with Legatus editorial assistant Tim Drake.

You have a larger platform from which to speak than most bishops. Has that been a help or a hindrance in advancing the Good News?

It can be a help. I’m grateful for the tremendous infrastructure that I inherited — the schools, the hospitals, the Church, Catholic Charities. New York is big, so those are big. Keeping them all stable is a challenge. You have more people paying attention to you. If you make a blunder, it’s complicated. The major challenges are the constituencies. You have the media, entertainment, business, the Jewish community, all extremes. The Mass is offered in 31 different languages every Sunday in the archdiocese. It’s an icon of the Church. That’s a great source of consolation. It requires great zeal and energy; I pray I’m up to it.

You spent three years as USCCB president. What did you learn during that time?

I learned that three years is a long time. I was honored to serve. I learned a heightened respect for the work of the bishop’s conference. Our ancestors in faith were remarkably prudent in setting up an episcopal collegial tradition. The bishops are amazingly insightful and holy men. They speak their mind and are incredibly loyal. I left with respect for the Catholic family in the U.S., and with huge admiration for my brother bishops.

You wrote in the Wall Street Journal about Pope Francis’ comments on capitalism. How might Catholic business leaders best practice the compassionate capitalism you wrote about?

Business leaders — and I would include my flock here — do it. When you have committed Catholics who are successful business people, they know that there is no cleavage in our Catholic tradition between what we preach at Mass and what we do during the week.

The economy is hardly free of moral values; it’s shot through with moral values. I’m very impressed with Catholic business people. We hold a breakfast where hundreds of financiers come together to hear speakers on Catholic social teaching, morality, and being responsible in business. The very radiant teaching of our Holy Father is easily caricatured. That’s not fair.

The beauty of Catholic social teaching goes back to Pope Leo XIII. It’s a middle way between the two extremes of state socialism and unfettered capitalism. The Pope has been eloquent on that. Our business people know that. They know that the financial community suffers whenever there is gross immorality. They don’t want the Wolf of Wall Street. They recognize the need for moral values and prudent regulation. Once they understand what Pope Francis is saying, they say “we couldn’t agree all the more.”

You’ve engaged on religious liberty. Has the Church seen success in that area?

Our neighbors, fellow citizens, and those who express no faith at all have expressed high esteem in leading the protection for religious freedom. It’s a high value for us as Catholics, but a towering value for us as American citizens. We bishops are sensitive to the role we play. Others look to us for what to do.

Those in other countries really appreciate our high, glorious tradition of religious freedom, especially those who face aggressively secular governments that want to banish religion from the marketplace. We cherish our first freedom. We’ve spoken out and it’s had a lot of good effects.

The archdiocese is downsizing. How is that going?

Many dioceses are going through the same thing. We’re coming to a very important phase in our strategic pastoral plan. We know that we are probably going to have to make some very painful decisions about mergers.

Our business leaders encourage us to sound stewardship. They say that the way things have been going is not a sound way to pastor God’s people. We end up propping up parishes, and we can spend money better. They know the Church is not just a business, but it needs sound business practices. They’ve been wonderful supporters.

That does not hide the fact that the coming months will be very tough. To merge or close parishes always causes a tear. We have some tough days ahead. We already did it with our schools. We closed about one-seventh of our schools. Thankfully, we still have 180 that are stronger than ever, with better faculty, and they’re financially more stable. After two years of consultation on parish planning, we have a list of their recommendations. It’s likely that as many as two or three dozen may have to be merged.

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Summit Speaker: Fr. R. Sirico

Tim Drake chats with Fr. Robert Sirico, a speaker at the 2015 Legatus Summit . . .

2015 Legatus Annual Summit
Naples, Florida • Jan. 29-31

Fr. Robert A. Sirico

Fr. Robert A. Sirico

Father Robert A. Sirico received his Master of Divinity degree from The Catholic University of America. During his studies and early ministry, he grew concerned over the lack of training religious studies students received in fundamental economic principles. As a result, he co-founded the Acton Institute in 1990. He also serves as pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. Legatus editorial assistant Tim Drake spoke with him.

What have you been working on lately at Acton?

One of our more recent projects has been to produce a number of films that make the case for the moral potential of a free economy. The latest, which we have entered into a number of film festivals, is called Poverty, Inc. It looks at the way in which the real needs of the poor are ignored in favor of the interests of indigenous governments, Western governments and banks, and a whole series of NGOs, celebrities and international banking interests. It’s a provocative film that makes some uncomfortable points that are undeniable.

Pope Francis criticized “unbridled capitalism.” Has the U.S. media captured the Pope’s sentiments accurately?

The media usually misrepresents the Holy Father’s statements, unless they think a given point is useful for their own partisan purposes. It’s also true that most journalists see the world through a political lens. When you combine this with a general lack of knowledge of Church teachings, you end up getting a political analysis on the part of journalists, while the pope was offering a moral teaching.

What do you plan to address at the Summit?

I want to talk about the fundamental vocation of lay people in the world. One of the best-kept secrets of the Second Vatican Council is its insight into the way the sanctification and evangelization of the world has to take place through the action of the lay faithful, precisely as they build families and businesses.

How can the lay faithful best do this in their spheres of influence?

St. John Paul II spoke extensively about the New Evangelization and the essential role of lay people in achieving its goals. One of the most critical ways our society and culture can be re-evangelized is for lay people, equipped with a profound formation in the faith, to take that faith creatively and intelligently into their work. One of the Council Fathers said that what is needed is not so much a “Christianization” of the work place, but a “Christo-finalization” of our workplaces, that is, to bring human labor to its right purpose.

Would you agree that most lay work must be carried out at the grassroots, parish level?

Yes. The local parish is the first place that the lay faithful can receive the kind of formation I mentioned. But I was really speaking about the field of the work of the New Evangelization. That’s where the faithful have the greatest influence and competence: their work. Imagine if Catholic lawyers and politicians and judges and teachers and business executives and car mechanics and the like, were all excited about the faith, treating their work not as drudgery, but as a sacred vocation! Imagine what this would mean in bringing men and women, so deeply in need of meaning in their lives, to a right relation with Christ and his Church.

America is broken

Sen. Rick Santorum calls on Legatus members change the culture despite the odds . . . 

Many people are saying that America is broken and, yes, it is broken.

But that’s no reason to lack hope. It is every reason to be energized, because you are here at a time in American history when your country needs you, when you and everything you do can make a difference to have the hand of God put over America again. God’s hand was removed because we let it happen. It happened on our watch.

Senator Rick Santorum

Senator Rick Santorum

Hostile culture

If you’re like me, you were once living a life you’re not proud to talk about. But things in my life changed and put me on a different course. Marriage turned my life around when I dedicated myself forever and unconditionally to my wife, and she to me, under God. And when children came along, something else in my life changed: faith. Until then, faith was part of my life, but it wasn’t at the center of my life. It didn’t drive what I did; it was just something that I did on Sunday — and sometimes not even then. There was no personal, intimate love for our Savior.

There are millions of people in America who are just like I used to be — lost, despite being full of ambition and thinking they’re very successful, but missing something in their lives. More and more people are like that because, unlike in the past when there was a culture of faith in America, that’s no longer the case. God has been kicked out of the public square, the schools, popular entertainment.

Mother Teresa said that God does not call us to be successful: He calls us to be faithful. After fighting so hard in the Senate repeatedly to pass a bill outlawing partial-birth abortion and repeatedly losing against President Clinton, in the eyes of the world I was a failure. But I learned that in the eyes of God, success or failure was not mine to determine.

Amidst all that fighting and losing, all those debates and press coverage served to expose the full horror of abortion to the American people. For the first time since Roe v. Wade, attitudes on abortion began to change. So in what we thought was losing, God gave us a victory.

When you’re doing what John Paul II always admonished us — “be not afraid” — the culture will not be kind to you. But God will bless your sacrifices. He will bless the failures.

Fixing America

America is broken because we are afraid to fight. Surveys report that 75-80% of Americans believe in God, that about 40% of people call themselves conservative, and only 15-20% are liberal. Yet who is transforming our culture? How are they winning when there are more of us? They are winning because they are committed, they are united, they fight everywhere. They will not tolerate dissent.

Now we have people here who have had the courage to stand up, and you’re paying a price. But don’t you feel good about taking a stand, doing what you’re being called to do? Many of you are doing it in your businesses, but are you doing it in your schools? What about your churches? Is your pastor one of those pastors who doesn’t feel comfortable talking about those things that may drive people out? Are you holding him accountable for it? Let me assure you that the folks who don’t want to hear about those things, they’re chewing his ear every time he may have the courage to speak out.

Look back at the American Revolution, when everything was stacked against the colonials fighting the British. How did they win? Read the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence if you have any doubt how they won: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” How many of us are pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to fight for the gifts that those men fought and died for?

The hardest thing to do is not winning and establishing freedom, but maintaining freedom. We have our lives. We have important things to do. But we don’t live at a time in America when we can afford to stop fighting.

Historian Christopher Lasch wrote, “Every day we get up and tell ourselves lies so that we can live.” We say, “I can’t do anything. What can I do?” I have a one-word answer: something.

Now again, you are doing something. You’re members of Legatus. But you folks are powerful people, influential in your community and your church. You need to look deep inside and ask yourself, “Am I doing all I can do to serve Him and the country He blessed so much? Or am I telling myself lies, so that I can live and do what I want to do?”

SEN. RICK SANTORUM is CEO of EchoLight Studios. He served as a U.S. Senator representing Pennsylvania from 1995-2007. This article is from a talk he gave at the Legatus Summit on Feb. 7, 2014.

Summit speaker: Rick Santorum

Patrick Novecosky chats with Rick Santorum, a speakers at Legatus’ 2014 Summit . . . 

Senator Rick Santorum

Senator Rick Santorum

If you have the chance to meet Sen. Rick Santorum, don’t ask him to sit down for a cup of coffee. The presidential candidate and two-term U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania eschews caffeine. At 55 years old, he still has plenty of energy to fight the good fight. He’s taking it to the culture these days as the president of EchoLight Studios, which produces and distributes movies for families of faith. Legatus editor Patrick Novecosky talked to him.

I know you get this question all the time, but I need to ask: How’s Bella?

She’s doing just great. As a matter of fact, we just had her up for a whole round of her usual doctor visits and they’re amazed at how well she’s doing. We feel so blessed to have her and to have her healthy. She’s getting bigger and mom and dad are getting older, so we’re putting an elevator in the house and designing a handicapped bedroom/bathroom combination. We’re trying to make it a home that Bella can be in for a long time.

You’re a familiar face to Legatus members. What’s something about Rick Santorum that most folks don’t know?

I don’t sleep much. I only sleep four to five hours a night even when I have time to sleep. It’s conditioning from having a busy schedule and trying to make time for family in the evening. And I don’t drink caffeine. I don’t touch the stuff. I don’t drink anything that is stimulative in nature. I’m blessed with enough natural energy to do that.

Here’s something that’s more faith-oriented, and I ask people to pray for me: I struggle constantly with distractions during prayer. I take time for prayer and my mind is going a million miles per hour. I was at Mass with Legatus in Philadelphia, and the reading was on Martha and Mary, and I’m like, “Wow! I’m a complete Martha.” The contemplative side of me is something I need to work on. I think a lot of folks struggle with that.

I think it would be helpful for them to know they’re not alone — especially people in Legatus. Most everybody in Legatus is a Type A. That’s why you’re in Legatus, so it’s a natural Type A thing to be a Martha.

Last year you launched Patriot Voices to mobilize conservatives. Then in June, you became head of EchoLight Studios. Why film?

Film has a huge impact on culture, which has a huge impact on society and politics and the country. Why film versus other arts? There’s a level of engagement in film at the theater that you’re not going to get when you’re at home watching a DVD. There’s much more opportunity for shaping the culture.

You were so close to getting the Republican nod for President. Will you run in 2016?

People always ask me if I’m running, and I tell them I’m walking. I’m trying to walk the path where God’s leading me, and right now he’s leading me to EchoLight Studios.

Running for president is not an easy thing on the family. When your family is under the microscope, it takes a toll. We are assessing those things and following the path God wants us to walk, and that’s what we’ll end up doing.

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

Summit Speaker: Lou Holtz

Patrick Novecosky chats with Coach Lou Holtz, a speaker at the 2014 Legatus Summit…

Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz

In football circles, Lou Holtz is a living legend. He is the only college football coach to lead six •different teams to bowl games and the only coach to guide four different teams to the final top 20 rankings. Since stepping away from the sidelines, he has become an incredibly popular motivational speaker, author and football color commentator. Holtz, 76, is also unabashedly Catholic. Legatus editor Patrick Novecosky talked to him.

Were you always a football fan?

During World War II, when we moved and lived with my mother’s parents, my Uncle Lou played football in high school. I remember them taking us to the games. Then the war ended. My dad and uncles came home; they all loved the game and played it, so it was only natural that I would grow up loving it.

Was your family Catholic?

Very much so. Both sides of my family were Catholic. I went to religious grade school taught by nuns, and attended Mass every week. I thought everybody in the world was Catholic.

You’re one of the winningest coaches in football history. What’s been the sweetest aspect of your success?

People say, “Gee, you’re in the Hall of Fame, they’ve got a statue of you at Notre Dame, you’ve been on TV and are recognized as one of the best speakers in the country.” Well, that’s not me. My greatest accomplishment by far is my family. I take more pride in our family than anything else. All four of our kids are married and have children. They’re all involved in their churches, communities and schools.

When the children were younger, we all went to Mass together on Sunday, then we went out to breakfast. Everyone would guess the amount of the check, and whoever was closest would get a dollar. They still do that with their kids to this day. The truth is you can’t take your money to heaven, but you can take your children.

Who do you call when you need advice?

I talk to my wife because there’s nobody who knows me better. She’s smart, level-headed and very religious. She reads her Bible for an hour-and-a-half every day. I trust her judgment.

How do you connect your faith with your philosophy for success?

I make five assumptions about people. I assume that everybody wants to be successful in their personal life. Two: I assume that everybody wants to be successful in their professional life. No. 3: Everybody wants to feel needed. Four: Everybody wants to feel secure about their future and five: I assume they want to get to heaven.

To reach all five of those, they just follow three rules. No. 1: Do what’s right. If you have any doubt about what’s right, pull out the Bible. Two: Do everything to the best of your ability. No. 3: Show other people that you care because everybody’s got problems.

Those are the only three rules you need. If you follow those three rules, you’ll always make good choices and you’ll reach those five things I assumed.

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Summit Speaker: Bill Donohue

Patrick Novecosky chats with Dr. William Donohue, a speaker at the 2014 Legatus Summit . . .

Dr. William Donohue

Dr. William Donohue

At 66 years old, Bill Donohue might just be the hardest-working man in the Catholic Church — with the exception of Pope Francis, of course. Not only has the New York City native been at the helm of the Catholic League for a full 20 years, but he is busy writing a new book — while regularly riding to the defense of Catholics across the country beset by a hostile culture and media. Legatus editor Patrick Novecosky talked to him.

What’s coming up next for the Catholic League?

The Catholic League largely functions more akin to firefighters. That is to say, we come to work and we’re not even certain what the new thing is on the plate. Sometimes we can anticipate, but most of the time attacks on the Church come out of the blue. There are some perennials that we watch. When the U.N. opens up in September, sometimes you get comments against the Holy See. Christmas isn’t that far away, and we’ve been involved in fighting the War on Christmas.

What will you talk about at the Summit?

I will be talking about the state of our culture. At the MTV Awards in September, we saw some incredibly vulgar displays from Miley Cyrus and others. HBO is now featuring things that, when I was a kid, they wouldn’t show on 42nd Street, which at the time was a very sleazy area of the city.

It will be a call-to-action saying, “Here’s the problem and here’s what we can do.” I’m not Pollyannish. I live in the real world, but I get very troubled when I hear people on our side say it’s over. If I really believed that, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and come to work. I’d just throw in the towel, retire and walk away. I believe there are an awful lot of Americans who are on our side.

We’ve got to change the culture. It can be done one-on-one, but also through the media. We’ve got to educate people, but education is not enough. People need to have courage. That’s not something that’s easily transferable. It’s never too late to get involved in changing the culture.

Give us a teaser for this new book that you have been working on.

The book will be called The Joy of Catholicism, but it won’t be out until Lent of 2015. I’m working on the fourth of 10 chapters now. The essence of it is this: Everybody wants the three Hs — health, happiness and heaven. The evidence from the medical establishment overwhelmingly shows that people of faith are much more likely to be happy — and mentally and physically healthy — than atheists or secularists. I want to know why. That really hasn’t been explored.

In terms of heaven, I’m looking at indices — charitable giving, altruistic behavior and the like. What segment of society is the most likely to be charitable in terms of time and money? What segment of society was most likely to risk their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust? I explore why people of faith are the most likely to be happy and healthy with greater prospects of heaven than those with no faith.

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Summit Speaker: William N. Thorndike Jr.

Matthew Rarey chats with William Thorndike, a speaker at the 2014 Legatus Summit . . .

William Thorndike Jr.

William Thorndike Jr.

One of the more unknown, but highly anticipated speakers at Legatus’ upcoming Summit is William N. Thorndike Jr., who founded Housatonic Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, in 1994. He currently serves as its managing partner.

Last year, Thorndike authored The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success. He profiled iconoclasts whose character and business traits were radically opposed to the “rock star” CEO image, which Thorndike says is exemplified by Donald Trump.

The seven men and one woman he wrote about had persevered in business in unconventional ways that all led to one destination: measurable success over the long term. They scored extraordinarily well according to Thorndike’s index for achievement:

“In assessing performance, what matters isn’t the absolute rate of return but the return relative to peers and the market. You really only need to know three things to evaluate a CEO’s greatness: the compound annual return to shareholders during his or her tenure and the return over the same period for peer companies and for the broader market.”

Thorndike spoke with Legatus editorial assistant Matthew A. Rarey.

What inspired your invitation to the Summit?

Tom Monaghan read The Outsiders and some of the ideas and themes resonated with him. That’s not surprising if you look at how he ran Domino’s. He thought they might resonate with CEOs attending the Summit, too, such as how best to manage businesses for a variety of shareholders over time.

What is the thrust of The Outsiders?

The overarching idea is for CEOs to be successful over the long term by optimizing profitability and investing profits back in the company. As I note in the book, sometimes the best investment opportunity is your own stock.

This book is really about deployment capitalization over longer periods of time, say 20 years, how owners can achieve that. Tom Murphy was masterful at doing that when he was CEO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.

Murphy is one of your featured “iconoclasts.” How do he and other such CEOs diff†er from “rock star” CEOs?

They tended to be first-time CEOs. They kept a low profile in their interactions with the press and Wall Street, comfortable going their own way even if it meant causing comment and disdain among their peer group and the media. They were generally humble and analytical — not charismatic backslappers. They were focused intently on creating long-term value for shareholders and in maintaining strong relationships with customers and employees. And they were often legendarily frugal, but not in their devotion to family. They were all devoted to them.

Should The Outsiders particularly resonate with Catholic business leaders?

Well, there’s this deep consistency between running a business successfully over the long term and a set of broader values and principles consistent with Christian faith. Running a business with long-term benefits for customers, employees, and shareholders means having long-term consistency. This requires enduring ethical principles compatible with Christianity.

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Summit Speaker: Michael Coren

Legatus editor Patrick Novecosky speaks to Canadian journalist Michael Coren . . .

Michael Cohen

Michael Coren

He may not be a household name in the Lower 48, but Michael Coren has earned his place as Canada’s most respected conservative journalist. A convert to Catholicism, he has worked in print, radio and television. The author of Why Catholics Are Right and Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity, Coren spoke to fellow Canadian Patrick Novecosky, editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine, about his upcoming appearance at the 2014 Legatus Summit.

You’re not so well-known in the U.S. You might be called “Canada’s Bill O’Reilly.” Fair comparison?

I wish I earned his money! I don’t want to be critical of Bill, but I consider myself a little more thoughtful person. I don’t do “outrage,” and my politics have never been as polarizing or polarized as his. I can’t imagine him writing long, boring biographies on G.K. Chesterton or H.G. Wells.

You’re a to-the-point conservative. Have you won converts to conservatism?

My conservatism is a byproduct of my Catholicism; it’s never the other way around. I’m not a partisan in the political sense. There’s no party I could embrace completely.

People have come to the Church because of my books. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a scholar. I’m a journalist. I see myself as someone from the tradition of G.K. Chesterton or Hilaire Belloc. Most of the work I do is in the non-Catholic public square. I have put people off, but I certainly have won people over.

The current administration has wreaked havoc on the economy and religious liberty. Where do you see this going?

The U.S. can survive most things. It’s not a political shift. It’s a cultural shift, a societal shift. In the United States, certain assumptions have been moved. On the same-sex “marriage” issue, for example, this was an open, viable debate. But now, if you question it — it’s not that you’re wrong on that issue — you’re considered irrational or even un-American.

Secularism is advancing at a rapid rate. Is the Catholic Church in trouble?

If I relied on how I feel at the moment, I would cease to function. I have to go back to Chaucer and Dante and realize how bad things have been in the past. The Church will be fine, but it’s going to be a persecuted Church. I’m writing a book called The Future of Catholicism, which comes out in November. I can tell you that we will face the open hostility of society at large in the years to come. In your place of work, if you say that you don’t believe that two men can be married, you’re going to be ostracized. The whole culture is going to turn against you.

What’s closest to your heart? What are your personal priorities?

I would like to be able to communicate the Catholic message in the best way I can. If I’ve been given any sort of gift, I seem to be able to defend the Church which, in the end, is the only thing that matters. It’s not about party, it’s not about nation, it’s about the Church, which hasn’t been defended well enough. There is no meaning for me without that.

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