Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Meet the Chaplain: Fr. Maurice Harrigan – South Bay of Los Angeles Chapter

Father Maurice Harrigan worked three years in market development for a Fortune 200 company with offices in New York City, Chicago and St. Louis. But as his business career was taking off, he sensed a calling to something different. After traveling through Europe and rediscovering the Catholic faith, he returned stateside and entered the seminary.

Father Maurice Harrigan

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles 20 years ago. Father Harrigan is the pastor of Mary Star of the Sea, a historic and thriving parish in San Pedro, Calif. He spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

How did you discern the priesthood as your vocation?

The corporate world in the roaring 1980s was a wild time. I had everything the world told me I needed to be happy, yet something was missing. There was an emptiness. I actually quit my job and moved to Europe for a year and traveled around. While I was in Europe, I had a reversion back to the Catholic faith and discerned that I was called to be a priest. I came back to the United States and entered the seminary immediately.

Where does your love of travel come from, and where have you traveled?

I’ve always had wanderlust. I worked with Mother Teresa’s sisters for 25 years. They’ve had me pretty busy traveling all over the world, giving retreats, giving different programs and conferences for the different sisters. I’ve been pretty much all over the world except for South America, Russia and China.

I’ve always been interested in other cultures and other people — the way they live, the way they survive, their economics, their politics, their spirituality. I find that intriguing. I find when you go to a place, you get a different perspective on cultures and people. That ultimately translates into better serving the people that God puts you in front of.

What have been your assignments as a priest?

I’ve done some work with the military. I’ve also done prison work, mostly though parish ministry. I did some work with the Marines out of Camp Pendleton. In the first five years of my priesthood, I was in an area where they had several large state prisons, so I did prison work with youth and real hardened criminals.

What’s it like being pastor of Mary Star of the Sea?

It’s a blessing. It’s an extremely complex parish. We have Mass in five languages every Sunday. There’s a great diversity of cultures here. I’ve been in every country that I’m serving here, actually, which is nice. I can bring that into my pastoral experience. There’s a lot of history here, and I’ve only been in the parish for two years. I’m learning a lot and trying to shepherd these people as best as I can — and get to know them and allow them to know me, and to move forward together in these complex times.

What has your experience been like as a Legatus chaplain?

It’s been amazingly positive. The people, at least in this chapter, are very dedicated Catholics and very concerned about the needs and welfare of the Church and the people of God, the poor, the rich, everybody. They bring a myriad of experiences, wisdom and insight into both the corporate world — including the challenges to corporate people and faith — and what’s going on in the world.

What value does Legatus bring to the Church?

Legatus is a classic example of the leaven in the bread. We need these kinds of dedicated Catholic Christians in the professional world to lift it up, not only to make their work in their places of work holy, but to make their various fields of endeavor sacred and holy places where God’s light can shine.

BRIAN FRAGA is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

Legatus is essential to the New Evangelization

Archsbishop Jose Gomez

Archbishop Jose Gomez, Ecclesiastical Advisor

In 2012, Archbishop Jose Gómez of Los Angeles became Legatus’ second ecclesiastical advisor, succeeding Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Archbishop Gómez, a priest of Opus Dei, became LA’s fifth archbishop in 2011 and is the city’s first Hispanic archbishop. In September, he will be one of four delegates representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican’s Synod on the Family. The former auxiliary bishop in Denver and archbishop of San Antonio is a longtime Legatus supporter who has helped foster the growth of local chapters. He spoke with editorial assistant Brian Fraga on Legatus’ role in the New Evangelization and his hopes for the synod.

How has your experience been as Legatus’ ecclesiastical advisor?

It’s been wonderful for me because I have met many members of Legatus across the country, and it’s wonderful to see so many good committed Catholics who try to learn more about their faith and share the message of joy.

When did you first become acquainted with Legatus?

Probably since the beginning. I first met some members of Legatus when I was still in Houston, Texas, probably in the late 1990s. When I was appointed an auxiliary bishop in Denver, I was very happy to have met Legatus members. They welcomed me in and I participated in meetings.

We have many chapters here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I am very happy to participate in their meetings. We just started a new chapter in Santa Barbara.

What is it about Legatus that drew your interest?

Sometimes it’s a challenge to put together your faith and work in your life as a businessperson. I think Legatus provides people with that connection between faith and business.

For me I think it’s important because I understand the importance of the sanctification of work, looking for God in your daily life. We occupy most of our time at work, so I think that Legatus is a good support for people in the business world.

What are your hopes for the synod? What will you say in your address to the synod?

It’s a blessing that Pope Francis decided to have a family focus as the theme of the synod because there are a lot of good things happening in marriage and the family. But the truth is also that marriage is in some kind of a crisis, just looking at the statistics and also the challenges young couples have — and everybody has — as they live in a society that’s becoming more and more secular.

My hope is that the synod will be an instrument to provide leadership for the Church and for society on the importance of marriage. From there, I hope we can find what it is that can strengthen the institution of marriage. I don’t know what I’m going to say, but I’m working on it.

When you became the ecclesiastical advisor, you said Legatus had a role in the New Evangelization by reframing the ethics of business. Do you still believe that?

I think Pope Francis is asking us all to recognize the reality that the global economy needs to be evangelized because it’s not just about finances. It’s about life, family, ecology and work — basic issues that belong to the human person — and the Catholic faith can illuminate those issues and kind of humanize and give them supernatural meaning.

Legatus is essential to the New Evangelization as we bring the teachings of Christ to the business world and to leadership in our society. Through Legatus the Church is making a big contribution to the life of our country through the witness of so many people in the business world and in every area of society.

BRIAN FRAGA is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.