Tag Archives: lou holtz

Three Rules for Living a Good Life: A Game Plan for After Graduation

Lou Holtz
Ave Maria Press, 96 pages


If you’ve heard Lou Holtz speak at a public event anytime in the last couple of decades, you’ll recognize some of the entertaining stories and anecdotes he tells in his brief but highly engaging book. His stories and lessons work because they’re timeless; and although addressed to new college graduates, his advice provides sheer wisdom for us all — not just about faith, but how to apply it. “If you truly want to be happy for a lifetime,” Holtz writes, “put your faith in Jesus Christ.” Give it as a gift to a grad, or keep it by your beside for inspiration… and a good chuckle.


Order: Amazon

The ultimate call-back

Legate Tom Peterson’s Catholics Come Home ministry is rebuilding the flock . . .

Tom Peterson

Tom Peterson

Mary Bane left the Catholic Church 10 years ago, but all it took was a 30-second television commercial to call her home.

The invitation came from former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. The ad was produced by the Catholics Come Home apostolate founded by Atlanta Legate and former advertising executive Tom Peterson.

In the commercial, Holtz talks about staying focused on the goal, fumbling due to sin, and getting back on the field through the sacrament of Reconciliation. “So, if you haven’t been going to Mass lately,” he said, “get back in the game. We’re saving your seat on the starting bench this Sunday.”

Television series

A wife and mother of three sons, Bane said she felt Holtz was speaking directly to her in the Catholics Come Home “evangomercial.” When she saw it a second time, she called her husband to watch.

“He thought it was really neat that you can ‘come home’ because we thought once you left, you left, and there was no coming back,” she explained.

Thanks to that 30-second message, which reached 100 million people, and the material Bane later found on the Catholics Come Home website, she and her family are now back in the Catholic Church as members of St. Agnes Parish in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. After years in four different Protestant churches — and despite the good experiences they had in them — Bane said something always seemed to be missing.

The Banes tell their homecoming story in one of 13 episodes of EWTN’s new Catholics Come Home television series. In the 30-minute episodes filmed in various locations in the U.S. and Canada, viewers get to meet such returnees as a linguistics professor who was an atheist for 52 years, a former drug addict and dealer who now works at a Catholic hospice for homeless men, and a 27-year-old law student who attended Ave Maria University as a Protestant before converting to the Catholic faith.

Their stories are interspersed with “evangomercials” and other segments, including one hosted by Peterson’s 26-year-old daughter, Katie Warner, explaining how to share the faith.

The series, which debuted in October, airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. Eastern. Shows are also available on DVD and online on EWTN.com.

Besides the EWTN series, Catholics Come Home’s upcoming projects include a “Keep Christ in Christmas” ad to be shown during Advent and a Confession ad called “Heavy Burdens” set to air during Lent.

Calling Catholics home

The Catholics Come Home apostolate grew out of what Peterson calls his spiritual awakening at a 1997 parish retreat in Gilbert, Ariz. Although he went to Mass on Sundays and never disagreed with Church teaching, Peterson admits he was a lukewarm Catholic. As his retreat group was gathered in front of the Eucharist, however, God became real to him.

“He invited me to downsize and simplify my life and to have a relationship with him,” he explained. “His love was so apparent in my heart I couldn’t say no. It was like a light switch turned on and the adventure began.”

Peterson started attending daily Mass and reading the Bible. In the process, he asked God what he should do with his life and how he might use his talents in advertising to serve him.

At first, Peterson continued working in his own agency, Peterson Advertising Corp., while he started Virtue Media to produce pro-life messages. He also helped the Diocese of Phoenix with a campaign to invite people back to the Church.

Eventually, he went full-time with Catholics Come Home, giving up a lucrative income and selling both his homes to move to a smaller one. The apostolate, which includes Virtue Media, operates out of a donated office condo in Roswell, Ga., with one full-time staff member besides Peterson and a host of vendors, volunteers and part-time employees.

Since the startup — in addition to running four national campaigns — Peterson has helped 37 dioceses with Catholics Come Home efforts, and he is currently working with three more. In the 12 dioceses that have measured results, more than half a million people have returned to the faith.

The gold standard

Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid

Author, radio host and Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid said that to his knowledge no one has pitched a message asking Catholics and others to “come home” the way Peterson has.

Madrid said he has also been struck by the high quality of Peterson’s media work — so much so that when he first saw a presentation of Virtue Media’s pro-life commercials at a Phoenix parish several years ago, he immediately offered his support. Peterson later contacted Madrid, who now serves on the Catholics Come Home advisory board.

“He’s been able to catapult the level of quality so far forward that I would say Catholics Come Home has become the gold standard for outreach for Catholic causes,” Madrid said.

Through his speaking events and radio program, Madrid estimates he has met more than 100 people who have told him they returned to the Church after seeing a Catholics Come Home “evangomercial.”

“They say things like, ‘I can’t believe I saw this on a secular TV station. I was just watching sports and — wham! — here’s this Catholic commercial. I wasn’t looking for it, but it found me!’”

In the foreword to Peterson’s 2013 book, Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life (Image Books), author and theologian Scott Hahn said he believes all Catholics are being asked to take up the work that Catholics Come Home is doing.

Peterson said that although not everyone is called to leave a secular career to work for the Church, he believes Legates especially can assist the New Evangelization right where they are by opening doors in their dioceses for Catholics Come Home to be invited — or by organizing book studies or viewings of the Catholics Come Home TV series in their parishes.

He attributes the apostolate’s success to the Holy Spirit, rather than to his own abilities.

“The ingenuity of men only goes so far, but when an apostolate is obedient to the Holy Spirit, things happen above and beyond what any smart person could do.”

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

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Legatus Summit: A call to action

Speakers at the annual event asked Legatus members to bring Jesus to a hurting world . . .

Legatus’ 2014 Summit was a rally cry for Catholic business leaders to activate their faith and change the culture for Christ. Both speakers and attendees voiced concern for the way America is slipping further away from the Christian ideals it was founded on.

The three-day annual conference, hosted by Legatus’ Orlando Chapter, drew nearly 500 Legates and guests from across the country to the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 6-8.

Faithful citizenship

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Speakers from former Sen. Rick Santorum to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput called on attendees to embrace the Legatus mission statement to live, learn and spread the Catholic faith. In his Feb. 7 homily, Archbishop Chaput exhorted Legates to exercise their rights of faithful citizenship to create a culture for Christ.

“When we do that, the Church will change because the leadership of the Church will be multiplied thousands upon thousands of times,” he said. “Rather than waiting for the bishops to act, you can act on your own — in union with the bishop, of course, and encouraged by him.”

In his Saturday evening address, former presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum challenged Legates to mobilize and save America before it’s too late. He pointed out that the vast majority of Americans are conservative Christians, but the liberal secularists who make up less than 20% of the population are highly organized, passionate and relentless in changing hearts and minds.

“America is broken,” he said. “We have to take responsibility for that. It was [on] our watch. America is broken because we’re afraid to fight. We must be committed, be all in. We must know what is on the line — souls, eternal souls. We don’t live in a time in America when we can afford to stop fighting.”

Archbishops Wenski, Aquila and Chaput

Archbishops Wenski, Aquila and Chaput

Santorum called on Legatus members to repair the damaged culture by activating their faith. “This organization, the people in this organization, can have a profound effect, can move the needle,” he said. “You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to be all in. You can do it. I have no doubt.”

Legates also heard from Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz, Bill Donohue from the Catholic League, author Matthew Kelly, pro-life activist John Smeaton, CEO and business author William Thorndike, Canadian author and journalist Michael Coren, fitness pioneer Dr. Kenneth Cooper, and the hosts of EWTN’s The Catholic View for Women. Motivational speaker Ross Shafer served as the master of ceremonies.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gómez celebrated the opening Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Orlando Bishop John Noonan celebrated the closing Mass.

Call to evangelize

David Bereit

David Bereit

Other speakers urged attendees to bring their faith boldly into a culture that has rejected Christian values. Members of a three-bishop panel — Archbishop Thomas Wenski (Miami), Samuel Aquila (Denver) and Chaput (Philadelphia) — said that kind of evangelization can only happen when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Curtis Martin — a member of Legatus’ Denver Chapter and founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students — told attendees that discovering Jesus and coming into right relationship with him is akin to the parable of the buried treasure (Mt 13:44).

“To have that kind of passion — because we discovered the treasure first — that unleashes a power in the world that will transform the world,” he said. “When we allow God’s grace to transform us through our wounds and brokenness, nothing is impossible.”

Picking up on that theme, 40 Days for Life founder David Bereit assured Legates that abortion will end.

“History books are going to document how it ended,” he said. “I believe they’re going to point back to 2014, the tipping point when people realized it was a spiritual battle and the revival that broke out as a result. They’re going to read about how business people brought their best practices into the fight.”

Stephen Ray

Stephen Ray

Engaging the culture

Summit co-chair Troy King of Legatus’ Orlando Chapter said he was thrilled not only by the speakers, but by Legatus members’ determination to engage the culture as a result of the conference.

“The highlights were seeing the passion for the faith in all the speakers, seeing the new-found fire for the New Evangelization, and seeing how much emphasis they’re placing on putting us all into action,” he said. “I can’t wait to get home and put these things into action.”

Baton Rouge Legate Sam LaVergne, attending his second Summit, said the event far exceeded his expectations.

“Rick Santorum brought the house down, but the speaker that most intrigued me was Stephen Ray,” he said. “He made us think that visiting the Holy Land is something we need to do.”

Bishop John Noonan

Bishop John Noonan

LaVergne said that Legatus has been a blessing to him and his wife Sally.

“The most important thing that Legatus has done for us — even thought my wife and I have been Catholics for a long time — is the amount of education we’ve gotten to defend our faith,” he explained. “Legatus has empowered us with a lot of information to help us live our faith.”

In his Feb. 7 homily, Archbishop Chaput gave Legates all the advice they need to do just that. “Be embraced by the Lord Jesus,” he said. “Put on the Lord Jesus, as St. Paul says. Make him all of your life. When we do that, we will transform the face of the earth.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine. This article contains reporting from LifeSiteNews.com.

2013 Award Winners

Defender of the Faith
Matthew Kelly, Erin Mersino

Ambassador of the Year
Larry Blanford

Officer of the Year
Scott Teepe

Courage in the Marketplace
Paul Barron, Bruce Barron, Rod & Karen Mersino

Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization
Curtis Martin

Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award
David Bereit, Reggie Littlejohn, Rita Marker, John Smeaton

Angott Award
Baton Rouge, Cincinnati

Campbell Award
Cleveland, Mobile, Las Vegas, Twin Cities, Wichita

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.