Tag Archives: Patrick Novecosky

From living ‘in between’ to moving on

In my previous column, I wrote about living “in between.” A few months ago, Legatus headquarters’ move from Florida to Michigan brought me north to Ann Arbor where I began working for Tom Monaghan’s enterprises in 2001. It was like coming full circle.

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Patrick Novecosky

Now, it’s become clear that God’s plan is for me to move on. After nearly 12 years with Legatus — and 115 issues of this magazine under my belt as editor — the Lord is calling me to something else. This isn’t the place to write about that “something else,” but suffice it to say that it’s something very good.

Working for Legatus has been a dream come true for me. I came aboard as editor in 2005 just as the Legatus newsletter was becoming a magazine. It was thin and pale. I was given the great opportunity to make it beefy, strong and substantive. I sought to make it engaging, to challenge our readers — Legatus members and other Catholics of influence, including all U.S. bishops. With my team of phenomenal writers and skilled designer, I think we accomplished that.

Along with our magazine, Legatus has grown by leaps and bounds with new chapters springing up across the country. Tom Monaghan continues to work at making Legatus the most influential lay organization in the Church today. That’s a tribute to you — Legatus members. I’ve been privileged to tell your stories for nearly 12 years. You’ve taught me so much, and for that I am eternally grateful. You’ve been a source of blessing and inspiration to me.

The most important lesson here is that God’s plans for us are far more spectacular and beautiful than we could ever imagine. My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:23: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

As we move forward, advancing the New Evangelization together, let’s remember to keep our eye on the goal, as St. Paul reminds us. “Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one” (1 Cor 9:24-25).

Please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers. You, in turn, can count on my prayers for you and for Legatus’ continued growth and success. Thank you for your witness, your passion and your love of our Church and its founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Living ‘in between’ and learning to embrace the journey

Have you ever been in a prolonged “in between” situation where you could hardly wait for something to happen? Like being in between jobs or girlfriends or just waiting for God to show you the next step? I’ve been living in between for more than two months. And God has been teaching me something while living “in between.”

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Patrick Novecosky

As you likely know, Legatus moved its headquarters back to Michigan last fall. Tom Monaghan founded Legatus in Ann Arbor in 1987. Then in 2005, after construction of Ave Maria University had begun, Legatus’ board of governors, at Monaghan’s request, voted to move the headquarters to Southwest Florida, and eventually to the town center of Ave Maria, Fla., a quarter mile from the university.

I was part of that transition, taking over as editor of this magazine in June 2005. After more than 11 years in Florida, I was asked to move with the company back to Ann Arbor. So, on Jan. 2, my family and I packed up our things and moved north. Not the best time to leave Southwest Florida, but duty called.

Why am I “in between”? We’re renting a house in Michigan. Our home in Ave Maria is still for sale after three months on the market. For months, I’ve been waiting and praying to St. Joseph. I’ve been focusing on the next step. Our house would sell, then we could move on and get busy living again. My life was on hold. It was a big, long pause — like being stuck in traffic for months.

After Mass a few weeks ago, I realized my focus has been off. Life was actually going on, great things were happening, and I was missing them because I was looking down the road a little too far. I realized that I needed to put down my binoculars and let the Lord take care of things that would happen in the months ahead. Once I did that, things got a little easier.

I’m a planner by nature. I’m always thinking two or three steps ahead like a chess player. But sometimes leaving advance moves to the Lord is the better move. He sees all of time and space at one glance. Allowing Him to move me takes a lot of pressure off of us. That doesn’t mean we just sit back. We pray. We wait. We work. And we let God be God.

My house is still for sale, and when the time is right, the Lord will send a buyer. Jesus, I trust in You … and St. Joseph is on the case.

 

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

On a mission to build the Kingdom

If you’ve ever stopped to ponder Legatus’ mission statement, you’ll likely agree that it’s pure genius. In other words … divinely inspired. Members are committed to “study, live and spread the Catholic faith in [their] business, professional and personal lives.” It perfectly sums up what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And it’s not for wimps.

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Patrick Novecosky

Legatus is the Latin word for “ambassador.” Taken from 2 Cor 5:20 where St. Paul writes “we are ambassadors for Christ,” the name was suggested by the recently deceased Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, former president of Franciscan University of Steubenville. As a side note, the story of how he came up with the name — and many others — are recounted in the newly published Legatus@30 book, which members will receive within the next few weeks.

If we are ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace, we must learn what He taught. ŽThat means knowing well what the Church He founded teaches. We need to absorb the faith and make it part of our daily lives, and there’s no better tool for that than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But we must go further.

Read the Bible, listen to Catholic radio and talks, go to retreats and Catholic conferences, and pray. Above all, pray. We can have all the knowledge, be able to quote the Bible and Catechism chapter and verse, but if we don’t know Him, we’re doomed. After all, our faith is not about a book. It’s about a person. A divine person. Jesus Christ.

Father Scanlan often said that if you’re a new Christian, you should spend 30 minutes a day in prayer. If you’re a seasoned Christian, one hour. If you’re in ministry, two hours. And if you’re a priest, three or four hours a day. If you can’t do that, he said, you’re too busy. Tough words from a likely future saint. But tough words can make saints.

With a new President in the White House who is unafraid to talk about prayer, and a Congress already passing legislation to protect the unborn, we may start to get complacent about the direction our country is going. We can’t afford complacency. We must be all about sainthood right now, and it starts when we hit the floor and surrender each day to the Lord of Lords!

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

Paving the road to heaven

There’s an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. One interpretation of this proverb is that unless we’re a success with whatever we set out to do, we’ve ultimately failed despite our good intentions.

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Patrick Novecosky

I respectfully disagree. My take is more along the lines of something St. Teresa of Calcutta often said: “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” God ultimately looks at our hearts, not at the outcome.

Advent calls us to reflect on the Incarnation. We ponder Jesus’ first coming in order to prepare ourselves for his return in glory. Chances are good that none of us will be around for the day when all will see the Lord coming down from the clouds (Mark 13:26). It’s more likely that we’ll see him face-to-face at the particular judgment, the moment after death (Heb 9:27).

We can be certain that He will not look at our resumes, our bank account balances, our investment portfolios or our net worth. It’s even doubtful that he’ll examine our charitable giving or the number of times we genuflected at Mass.

We can be certain, however, that He will examine our hearts: Did we live for ourselves or others? Were we we merciful in the vein of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son’s father? Did we respond with love when confronted with hate? When we failed to love, did we repent and ask forgiveness? Did we die in a state of grace?

We should also ponder the key words of The Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. If you break open its meaning, it’s clear that we’ll be forgiven in the same way we forgive others. If we withhold forgiveness, the Lord may withhold forgiveness from us.

We can’t pave our way to heaven with good works. Our good works, however, should flow from a heart in love with Our Lord Jesus Christ. A heart in love with Love itself is a heart that will overflow in ways that can transform every soul we encounter. That’s a heart that will live on forever, praising the Father for his merciful heart that sent his only begotten Son to us as a helpless baby in a manger — all part of his grand rescue plan for the human race.

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

¡Viva Cristo Rey! Jesus conquers through us

In 1928, Mexican soldiers tortured a 14-year-old boy, prodding him to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ. It was during the Cristero War, which began when the government eliminated Church privileges and seized Church properties throughout the country in accordance with anti-clerical laws written into the Mexican Constitution.

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Patrick Novecosky

José Sánchez del Río was 12 when his brothers joined the rebel forces. He had cultivated a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and prayed his rosary devoutly each day. José begged his mother for months to join his brothers in fighting to restore the rights of the Church. “Mother,” he said, “Will you deny me the chance to go to heaven, and so soon?” She finally relented, but José was rejected by the commander of the local force because of his youth.

The leader of another band of Cristero fighters 25 miles away was inspired by the boy’s grit, so he made him an aide to their general. When the general’s horse was killed in battle, José volunteered his horse, allowing the general to escape. Mexican soldiers captured the boy, and the captain offered José freedom in exchange for information about the Cristeros. He refused, so they skinned the soles of his feet and forced him to walk to the graveyard, promising to spare him if he denied Our Lord. José died yelling, “Viva Cristo Rey!” — Long live Christ the King!

José’s witness — told in the 2012 film For Greater Glory — is among the most compelling of the past century. At a time when Christian, and in particular Catholic, beliefs are under attack, we can draw strength from his profound faith.

At the boy’s Oct. 16 canonization Mass, Pope Francis reminded us that in order to be great saints, we must be people of deep prayer. Saints, he said, “struggle to the very end with all their strength, and they triumph, but not by their own efforts: The Lord triumphs in them and with them.”

Scripture encourages us to move forward in confidence. “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us … persevere in running the race that lies before us” (Heb 12:1). The winds of our secular culture may be blowing hard against us, but the Church offers us a rock upon which we will always find firm footing.

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

Year of Mercy points the way to heaven

Let’s face it, we all want to go to heaven. That’s one destination with no downside. The harps. The white fluffy clouds. A mega-buffet 24/7 and all the champagne you can drink, right?

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Patrick Novecosky

I hate to burst your bubble, but heaven is far better than that! It’s an unending praise and worship session before the Father’s throne. Jesus, of course, is at his right hand and the Holy Spirit is everywhere. It’s eternal ecstasy beyond anything possible on this planet.

Now that I’ve placed you (figuratively) before the throne, let’s talk about how to get there. That’s the tricky part. Sort of. Jesus is the gate to heaven. He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” How to get to heaven through Jesus? The clearest answer is in Matthew where Jesus talks about how he will gather “all nations” before him (that’s us) and separate the sheep from the goats.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me’” (Mt: 25:34-36).

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that if we don’t care for those in need and put others first, we will not enter heaven. And I don’t read any exceptions into his mandate.

Living in an affluent part of the world in the 21st century, I often ponder how this passage applies to me. I can’t fly off to India and work with the poor. There are very few destitute people living close to me. I am, however, defending “the least among us” in every possible way and tending the flock God gave me — my own children — and instilling in them the importance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

In this Year of Mercy, I’m taking Jesus at his word. I yearn for heaven, but I know it isn’t “earned” by works. He opened heaven for me. I’m doing works simply out of love for him, and that’s what he asks of each of us.

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

Authentic Catholicism matters

If you’ve received our print edition, you’re probably wondering what happened. It looks different, feels different, but it sure reads like Legatus magazine. Welcome to our redesign as we embark on our 30th year of publication!

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Patrick Novecosky

The first volume of Legatus’ newsletter rolled off the presses 29 years ago this month. As Legatus prepares for its 30th anniversary year in 2017, we’re rolling out a new look for your magazine a little early. Let us know what you like or don’t like about the redesign. You’ll note that we moved a few things around and added a new column: Feeding the Foodie. More surprises will follow.

One of the things I’m sure you’ve also noticed about Legatus is its fidelity to Catholic teaching. Not too many years ago, that was to be expected of Catholic organizations. Not so today. Fidelity matters because nothing resonates in the human heart open to the truth like authentic Catholicism.

I’m convinced that one of the biggest reasons Legatus is growing rapidly is because of its fidelity to authentic Catholicism. Evidence? Our cover story features the newly named Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics. The curriculum focuses on authentic Catholic teaching. (See article) Also, members of our recently chartered Charlotte Chapter find great joy in friendships with other faithful Catholics. (See article)

The most important reason that authentic teaching matters is because Jesus said so: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:11, 13). Authenticity matters. Truth matters.

We hear the same thing in Isaiah 55:2. “Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?” Distorted Catholicism — from either the left or the right — will not satisfy in the long run, nor is it the surest path to Jesus. And how do we recognize authentic teaching? By being faithful to scripture, tradition and the Magisterium — established by Jesus himself. It’s easy to second guess bishops or even the Holy Father, but we’re called first to fidelity. Leave the rest to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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

Boom: 30 years of Holy Spirit action

It all began in a Holy Spirit-inspired moment in Rome almost 30 years ago. Tom Monaghan — then the owner of the fastest-growing restaurant franchise in American history — had just looked into the eyes of a future saint while receiving the Body of Christ.

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Patrick Novecosky

Less than an hour later, the Domino’s Pizza founder got the idea for a membership organization for Catholic business leaders modeled after the Young Presidents’ Organization. That flash of genius — which Monaghan attributes to the Holy Spirit — has born tremendous fruit over the past 29+ years. Thousands of men and women in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Poland, Honduras and elsewhere have joined Legatus and are more faithful Catholics as a result.

This issue of Legatus magazine is the final edition of Volume 29. In September, with Volume 30 Issue 1, we’re launching an exciting redesign of your membership magazine in anticipation of Legatus’ 30th birthday next year. The new look is cleaner and more modern. We’re adding a new column or two, and the departments will have a more streamlined look.

Why the change? To serve you better. We’ve chosen a more readable font for the body text and cleaned up the design in order to make the stories more accessible.

Our magazine is changing, Legatus’ membership is growing (see Monaghan’s article), and each of us, as followers of Christ, is also called to change by growing closer to the Lord every day — especially in these challenging times.

Our first pope exhorts us “to be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18). This growth in holiness is essential in a culture that has “moved on” from the truths of our faith.

We must also take our cues from St. Paul, who advised Timothy to “be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort. Be unfailing in patience and teaching for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4).

If that sounds like our “progressive” 21st century, you’re right. I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit inspired these words for us — just as He inspired Tom Monaghan’s idea to start Legatus in 1987. Now it’s up to us to live for Jesus and do all that He asks us.

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

Jesus’ mission to reveal the Father

If you polled Christians, asking the reason for Jesus’ incarnation, most would say he came to redeem humanity — to open heaven so we could one day be with him forever in heaven as adopted sons and daughters.

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Patrick Novecosky

True. But Jesus also came to reveal the Father, who is “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4). The invisible nature of God became visible in and through Jesus’ actions.

The Catechism teaches that “it pleased God … to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature” (#51).

Sadly, with so many young people (and grown adults) with no concept of a loving father, how does the Church communicate the love of God the Father, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ?

The crisis of fatherhood is epic, and the statistics are alarming. The U.S. Census Bureau tells us that nearly half of children (43%) are being raised without a dad at home, and 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The youth suicide rate is five times higher for kids without a dad.

There is no easy answer, but we are all called in our own particular way to mirror God the Father’s love to our own children and be surrogate fathers to people who are lacking that example.

The first time I ever saw my dad cry was at his father’s funeral. I was six years old, and the image of my father tearing up when he said his last goodbye will stay with me forever. He loved his father deeply.

George Novecosky with his six sons in May 2012

George Novecosky with his six sons in May 2012

Now it’s my turn. My father — George Novecosky — has cancer and I’m faced with the prospect of saying goodbye to him. Fortunately, he’s making it easy for us with his refreshing good humor. In a documentary I made on my parents’ spiritual legacy a few years ago, he quipped, “I’m not afraid to die, but I’m in no hurry!”

In his encyclical Rich in Mercy, Pope St. John Paul II taught that “the truth, revealed in Christ, about God the ‘Father of mercies,’ enables us to see him as particularly close to man especially when man is suffering” (#2).

My father’s spiritual legacy will live on in his nine children and 17 grandchildren. He taught us to live well, to love well and to remember that our end is to live forever in the Father’s House.

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

EDITOR’S NOTE: George Novecosky was received into the arms of Our Lord on July 30, 2016.

Stay close to your Mother

I was born in the month of May, and I’ve been working in the Catholic Church for nearly 25 years, so you’d think I’d be somewhat of an expert on the Blessed Mother. Not so, I’m afraid. I still have much to learn.

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Patrick Novecosky

My family and I started watching a video series on Our Lady a couple of weeks ago, and I was amazed at how much I didn’t know. (See my review here.) It’s not that I didn’t appreciate Mary’s role in salvation history; I simply didn’t understand her role in my life and in the life of the Church today.

Just as the queen mother in ancient Israel played a significant role in the establishment of her son upon the throne, so too does Our Lady play an important role in her Son’s rule as King of the Universe. Her whole being is invested in the spread of Jesus’ kingdom — the salvation of souls.

In her role as Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mary’s primary role is to intercede for us. We can draw a great analogy from Bathsheba — King Solomon’s mother — in the book of Kings. She sat on a throne as Queen Mother and interceded mightily on behalf of Solomon’s subjects. She was their most powerful, and therefore preferred, advocate.

So why not bypass Our Lady and go straight to Jesus himself? We certainly can, but think of it this way: If you want to gain favor with your boss or someone of influence for whatever reason, your chances of success are far greater if you also make friends with those closest to him. If you’re on a first-name basis with your boss’ assistant and his wife, your chances of being heard are far greater than if you only approach him directly.

Similarly, if we want to grow closer to Jesus — which we all should strive for — it makes perfect sense to grow closer to His mother. The Church teaches that Jesus has assigned Our Lady a special place in the time before his second coming. She is the one who ultimately crushes the head of Satan (Gen 3:15 and Rev 12:1).

Ultimately, we should love Our Lady because Jesus does. He has always honored his mother. The sinless Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven body and soul, is the first and most perfect disciple. She is our model for faithful discipleship. Begging her intercession and following her lead is certainly the surest way to holiness and to heaven.

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