Tag Archives: legatus summit

Galvanizing real restoration of the Church

Rallying hundreds of Legates from around the country, January’s sold-out 2020 Legatus Summit East at the beachfront Ritz-Carlton in balmy Naples, FL — the first of this year’s reinstated bi-annual Summits — was lavishly hosted by the Pittsburgh Chapter, with many recognizable touches of the ‘steel city.’ With “Iron Sharpens Iron: Co-Responsibility of the Laity” as its theme, the event featured rousing speakers who each addressed an integral facet for laity to effect a strong Catholic witness now — in business, sports, parishes, community, family, and in inspiring the next generation of Catholics to carry the torch.

Poised to win 

Fittingly, the opening night kicked off with keynote speaker Rocky Bleier, former NFL running back and fourtime Super Bowl champion for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bleier, who had been seriously injured in Vietnam in midfootball-career, reminded his listeners that they’re all in the “hope business.” As he was fast losing hope of ever playing again during his nine-month recovery, he turned to his faith, and got an encouraging nudge from his coach. “The team’s not doing well. You can’t quit — we need you.” Bleier got the push he needed, and worked his way toward walking, then running again — back onto the team. “If I would have quit, I wouldn’t have won those four Super Bowls. Our destinies are our choice. And the one who wins is the one who thinks he can.”

Leading others to be better 

Another opening night highlight was a motivational splash by Mike McCartney, Genesis Chapter Legate serving on the Board of Governors, and master executive coach. Citing the “iron sharpens iron” verse in the Book of Proverbs, McCartney noted that like-minded Catholics spur each other to be better Catholics. He extended the parallel to business: “If your team isn’t getting better, you shouldn’t be the leader. The challenge is to be better than you already are — and that starts right inside our homes, the domestic Church.”

American Catholics — hope of the Church

 Bestselling author, theologian, and president of the Augustine Institute, Dr. Tim Gray took the challenge further. “We assume it’s up to religious and priests to do the fighting [for the Church].” Even of recent scandals, he said, “Have we the laity been sexually pure? Why are we surprised, then, that the clergy have their failures?” Noting the Church is now in the age of the laity — foretold at Vatican II — laity “are not to be passive spectators.” To be Christian now takes heroic courage and virtue, Gray said, which don’t go unnoticed. “We need to make our presence known in the culture.” He wrapped on an inspiring note: “We in the Church in the U.S. are the hope of the entire Church — there’s no pro-life movement in Europe, no anti-abortion movement, either, because the laity are ‘dead’ there.”

“I served a saint”

Former Swiss Guard to the late Pope St. John Paul II, Dr. Mario Enzler, who spoke on authentic leadership, actually learned his faith just by watching the Pope interact with others — and with God. Prior to that, Enzler was barely catechized. “Leadership needs to be behaved,” he said. “I remember seeing the Pope kneeling on the chapel floor for five hours, praying.” Spending time with John Paul II made me desire what he had.” From John Paul II’s close-up example, Enzler extends four best practices for leaders — not wasting time, attentiveness to little things, embracing sacrifice, and surrounding oneself with wise counsel. Enzler’s forthcoming book on his time with the late pope, I Served A Saint, debuts this spring. 

Faith-focus on the family

 Since effective Catholic evangelism begins in the domestic Church — the family at home — Catholic families need to nurture their faith, and guide their children in remaining true to it. Renowned speaker Jason Evert — also the event’s emcee — discussed building holy families in four ways: praying as a family at Mass and receiving the sacraments; exemplifying purity in word and deed; pursuing each other and remaining engaged; and patience in persevering through rough times. 

Transgender redemption

An immensely insightful presentation came from Walt Heyer, who’d suffered childhood trauma and abuse, spurring him in adulthood to transgender to a woman — only to see his marriage, parenthood, and successful career utterly collapse under the harsh financial, emotional, and spiritual fallout. “I lost everything,” he said, admitting to then becoming homeless and alcoholic. Ultimately turning to Christ for help, Walt transitioned back to being a man in his 50s. “Afterward, I knew I’d serve Him for the rest of my life, knowing He can redeem the most broken of lives,” he said. 

Other remarkable presentations included:

Fr. Carlos Martins • presented largest sacred-relics exposition
Fr. John Riccardo • on being a great instrument for God at this pivotal moment in the Church
Helen Alvaré • on positive lay witness for all things genuinely Catholic
Vern Dosch • life lessons of a servant leader
Pete Burak • on successful engagement with millennials
Kerry Cronin • on love and friendship in the digital age

As always, the Summit provided numerous opportunities for daily Mass, rosary, adoration, and Confession – with many priests and bishops in attendance. January’s event also featured a special Relics Chapel with the largest collection of sacred relics worldwide – including a piece from Mary’s veil, and fragments of the Lord’s crib, Crown of Thorns, and True Cross – where faithful could pray before each relic for intercessory healing and assistance, and make third-class relics of their own by touching personal objects to saints’ reliquaries.

The upcoming 2020 Summit West will take place September 17-19 in Colorado Springs, at the exclusive Broadmoor Resort. For more information and earlybird registration discounts, visit legatus.org/SummitWest2020.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

Bismarck CEO: motivate staff as a Catholic servant-leader

Vern Dosch, Vice President of Legatus’ new Bismarck Chapter which chartered October 22, is an ardent proponent of servant leadership. As president and CEO of National Information Solutions Cooperative, a technology company headquartered in North Dakota, Dosch, 66, credits that philosophy with attracting and retaining its talented workforce.

“If you take care of your people, if you invest in your people, if you’re empathetic and compassionate and create that type of a trusting environment, people will come and people will stay,” said Dosch, who wrote about his company’s cooperative business model, servant leadership, and shared values in his 2015 book, Wired Differently.

Dosch will share some of the lessons and insights he has obtained over 44 years with NISC when he addresses the 2020 Legatus Summit as a featured speaker. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.

What are you going to be speaking about at the Legatus Summit?

My talk is really going to be about two main topics: One is just my own Catholic journey.

The second will focus on what it means to be a Catholic in the work environment, specifically a Catholic as a servant leader.

What is a servant leader?

There is this vision or persona of the CEO as the smartest guy or gal in the room who has to be up on all the topics and an expert on every facet of the organization. At NISC, we have about 1,400 employees, customers in all 50 states, diverse products, and a very diverse workforce. I’ve really come to understand that the role of the CEO isn’t to be the smartest person out in front, but to create an environment and culture where people can grow and thrive. So for me, my role has become more of a facilitator, more of a servant to the talent that we have in this organization — which can create an environment that will cause really good, smart people to come here and stay here.

How does the servant leader model benefit your company?

Particularly with the current generation [of employees], it isn’t just about money. They want to work for a place they believe in. They want to work for a CEO, a management group, and a board of directors that they can trust. That is just as important as their wage. Don’t get me wrong. You’ve got to be competitive, but creating an environment where they feel empowered and appreciated is important.

How does your Catholic faith inform your approach as CEO?

My Catholic faith teaches me humility, compassion, and the importance of taking care of others. In this line of business, traditionally all the focus is on the bottom line of the organization and returning shareholder wealth. But for us, the philosophy is to create an environment, encourage people to stay, earn their trust, and serve them so that they understand you’re willing to invest in their career and you’re willing to invest in them personally.

Every place has a mission statement, but if you were to walk through the halls of NISC and you asked people to describe the major motivation of this organization, they would tell you, “Do the right thing always.” For me, “do the right thing” is the basis of my Catholic faith.

What have been your impressions of Legatus?

My biggest surprise was when I walked into our first chapter meeting and saw the other people who were there. I was like, “What? I’ve known you in the community for all these years, and I didn’t even know you were Catholic.” It’s just been an extraordinary experience and allowed me to build some relationships with people who I had known casually for years, but didn’t really know that we shared the same Catholic faith. Legatus has been one of the most affirming things that I’ve been involved with in terms of strengthening, affirming, and encouraging my own Catholic faith, and for that I’m just so grateful.

Priest presents largest relics collection – with piece from Cross, Mary’s veil


Father Carlos Martins, a Companions of the Cross priest, will be bringing the world’s largest collection of saints’ relics – outside those at the Vatican – to the 2020 Legatus Summit.

Father Martins has been running the Treasures of the Church ministry for more than 23 years, and presents 200 to 250 expositions each year around the world. Numerous conversions and healings have been reported from people who have encountered the relics of some of the Church’s greatest saints.

In an interview with Legatus magazine, Father Martins described his ministry and the spiritual value of relics. More information is available on his website, www. TreasuresOfTheChurch.com.

What will you be presenting at the 2020 Legatus Summit?

I bring a Vatican exhibit of approximately 150 relics, including those of St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Faustina Kowalska. The supreme highlight is one of the largest certified relics of the True Cross in the world, and a piece of the Veil of Our Lady. The Vatican grants for all in attendance a special plenary indulgence which it has attached to Treasures of the Church. I will be explaining that indulgence and how to obtain it as part of the event.

What is Treasures of the Church?

Treasures of the Church is a ministry of evangelization. Its purpose is to give people an experience of the living God through an encounter with relics of his saints in the form of an exposition. I begin each exposition with a presentation and teaching on relics which provide the catechetical and spiritual basis for, what I call, the Walk with the Saints that follows the presentation. The point of the teaching is to present the basic Gospel message of Jesus Christ: that God is here right now, and wants to be encountered; He touches us through the lives and the sacred remains of His saints.

What have been the responses to your ministry?

God never disappoints … He always “shows up.” There are healings at every exposition. Thousands have been reported to me over the decades. I have seen cancer, heart disease, tumors, osteoporosis, physical deformities, etc., disappear immediately and completely. Though a great number of miracles have been physical, the most spectacular are the healing of faith where a new and deeper relationship with God and His saints are formed in the faithful. It is a most wonderful thing to see a parish, school, or prison renewed after an exposition. That is the reason why I have this ministry.

How did you acquire your collection of saints’ relics?

I work with the Holy See, thus acquiring relics for the ministry is part of my job. The Vatican is “relic central.” The collection changes regularly. Relics are swapped in and swapped out, depending upon such things as where in the world the ministry will be. If certain saints are particularly beloved in a certain part of the world, I will try to include their relics on that particular tour.

What spiritual value do relics have for Catholics?

The veneration of relics is a communion with the heroes of our Christian faith, asking for their powerful intercession. As St. Paul tells us, they are members of the Body of Christ. One day, the very remains that we are looking at within a particular reliquary will be resurrected and re-united with the soul of its saint. Nevertheless, that soul, who is even now beholding God face to face, is just as present to their mortal remains here and now. In some sense, one can say that the closest you can get to a saint is through their relics. And people are very touched by that reality.

Any other thoughts?

Attendees are encouraged to bring their articles of devotion (such as rosaries, holy cards, etc.) and pictures of ill friends/family members which may be touched to the reliquaries as a means of intercessory prayer.

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.


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


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


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.”


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.


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


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.


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.