Tag Archives: Patrick Novecosky

Rockford diocese goes double-time with Legatus

Like many of his fellow Legates, Steve Spoerl says his Legatus experience has been transformative. In early 2015, the founding president of the St. Charles Chapter had joined the chapter in Rockford, Ill., vowing to help grow a chapter in his hometown.

When the Rockford Chapter chartered in last June, Spoerl and other St. Charles-based Legates went to work to grow a new chapter while at the same time bolstering the Rockford Chapter. By December, not only did Rockford have 20 membership couples, but the other side of the diocese near St. Charles also had 20.

“We broke open our Rolodexes and began calling everyone we knew who qualified,” said Spoerl, who operates a commercial bakery that caters to hotels and restaurants. “We ended up inviting one or two couples — most of them friends — every month, and before long we had enough members to charter in St. Charles.”

Legates celebrate the chartering event at the historic Hotel Baker in St. Charles, Ill.

Chartering

The plan came to fruition with the chapter’s March 15 chartering event, which began with Mass celebrated by Rockford Bishop David Malloy at St. John Neumann Church in St. Charles. Chaplain Fr. David Peck concelebrated. With four new couples joining that evening, the chapter chartered with 27 member couples.

The celebration continued two miles away at the historic Hotel Baker with dinner and several speakers, including Legatus founder Tom Monaghan and executive director John Hunt who lauded Bishop Malloy and his diocese for being among only seven in the country with more than one Legatus chapter.

The diocese has already seen the fruit of Legatus’ presence, Bishop Malloy said. “Legatus brings expertise and success, but linked to prayer, the Mass, Confession, ethics, and taking care of others,” he explained. “Legatus helps its members focus on living their faith and following Jesus Christ.”

Nancy Haskell, director of Legatus’ Great Lakes Region, lauded St. Charles Legates for their enthusiasm.

“This group was so excited to grow to chartering status,” she said. “They threw dinners in their own homes and invited couples to hear more about Legatus. The board has been very focused and methodical about growth — and they’re committed to growing even more.”

Bishop David Malloy and Legatus founder Tom Monaghan (center) pose with charter members of the St. Charles Chapter and guests from the Rockford Chapter

John Morrissey, a member of Legatus’ original Rockford Chapter since 1997, is thrilled to have two thriving chapters in the Rockford diocese.

“Legatus has changed my life,” he said. “I’m much prouder to stand up and say I’m a Catholic. I go to Mass more often and receive the sacraments more often because of Legatus — it’s positive peer pressure, for lack of a better word.”

Eric Groth said Legatus has been a blessing to him and his wife. “It’s been an awesome opportunity for Becky and me to have time together with other heads of organizations who really hunger to grow in their Catholic faith and figure out how they can be Christ’s presence in the workplace.”

Steve Spoerl, the chapter’s president, said membership has been transformative for him.

“It’s so special to be part of Legatus,” he explained. “The entire experience of the monthly chapter meetings — especially Confession. I hadn’t been a regular Confession-goer before I joined Legatus, and now I’m going every month. What a cool experience that is!”

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

The Resurrection: Hope for a fallen world

The battle of good-versus-evil has been going on ever since Eve ate the fruit in Eden. In our day, the culture war is reaching a fever pitch as we battle over the next Supreme Court Justice and president of the United States.

novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

If you comb the headlines like I do, you’ve probably been scratching your head for years (if not decades) wondering, “What in the world are people thinking!?” Canada is legalizing assisted suicide, possibly even for teenagers (click for related story). The federal government is picking on an order of nuns (click for related story). And some of those seeking the highest office in the land are acting like juveniles.

How did it come to this? Has our culture devolved or is it just that the 24-hour news cycle allows us to be informed of every un-newsworthy incident? It’s both. But it’s deeper than that. Here’s my theory: When a person, a community, a culture or a nation separates itself from God, then logic, reason and truth become irrelevant.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). Catholic teaching is clear that the fullness of truth resides in the Church because Jesus is Truth itself. So when our culture tells God that He is irrelevant or “dead” (click for related story), then we are quite literally on our own. We become the arbiter of truth. That’s a mighty big load, and none of us can carry it because we are not God. As a result, a whole host of errors — plainly obvious to faithful Christians — become part of the culture.

Saint Paul warned about this when he wrote to Timothy: “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

Sadly, the time he warned about is here. We need to remember that bringing logic, reason and truth to the table is only part of our duty as faithful Catholics. Prayer is essential. Actually, prayer must come first. Sin causes confusion in the hearts of sinners (all of us). Prayer helps sweep away the spiritual cobwebs. We need to have that constant lifeline to Jesus.

If we have any hope of turning the culture to Christ, we must embrace prayer and fasting — after the feasting of Easter is through, of course. We must take the lessons we learned during Lent and turn them into resolutions to be saints in an era that begs for saints.

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

Moving on up … to Canada

When Archbishop J. Michael Miller took his post in 2009 as leader of the Catholic Church in Vancouver, he brought something unique back to his native Canada — experience as a Legatus chaplain.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller preaches his homily on March 3

Archbishop J. Michael Miller preaches his homily on March 3

He had served as co-chaplain of Legatus’ Houston Chapter before being appointed secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Vatican.

“Business leaders have a key role in the social, economic and political life of any community,” he said. “Legatus helps them live out being Catholic precisely in their commitments as business leaders.”

Chartering

As Legatus’ second Canadian chapter, Vancouver chartered with 22 member-couples on March 3, just 18 months after its first exploratory meeting.

The evening began with rosary and Mass celebrated by Archbishop Miller at The Terminal City Club, followed by the chartering ceremony. Instead of a speaker after dinner, Legatus founder Tom Monaghan answered questions from membership chair Murray Neilson in a fireside-chat format.

The main point of Legatus, Neilson said, is to encourage influential people to “nourish their faith.” Underlining Legatus’ unique focus, he pointed out that while lawyers might be more articulate and academics more intelligent, CEOs are more influential.

“Everyone looks up to CEOs,” he said, “not necessarily for the right reason, but they do because they’re successful.” Therefore, he added, it’s good for them to be formed as role models.

Archbishop Miller said that he was interested in forming a chapter when he first came to Vancouver, but set it aside to work on other initiatives like the new archdiocesan center, which opened in March 2015.

“The genius of Legatus is that it’s a simple idea — business leaders coming together for prayer, fellowship and formation,” Archbishop Miller said. “Legatus doesn’t exist for philanthropic work. It simply assumes that its members do good works on their own. It’s a simple idea, and I think that’s Legatus’ strength.”

Chapter growth

Vancouver chartered with 22 member- couples on March 3

Vancouver chartered with 22 member- couples on March 3

The chapter held its first informational meeting in September 2014. Giovanni Bitelli, senior vice president of a Vancouver brokerage firm, attended and joined that evening.

Legatus, he said, has a unique role to play in forming Catholic business leaders.

“There are three things about Legatus that are different than almost anything my wife and I do,” he explained. “First, spouses are a key part of Legatus. Together we are the member. Number two: Nobody asks me for money or to participate in another project. It happens everywhere else all the time. I can relax here. The third thing is that Legatus brings the rosary, Mother Mary, and the Mass to our lives. It blends with who we are.”

Chapter president Patty Neilson and her husband Murray also attended the chapter’s initial meeting and signed up that evening.

“As former evangelical Protestants, we had a strong community of fellow believers, but when we became Catholic 10 years ago we really had no community,” she explained. “We started to come to Legatus and there was this community of like-minded people who believed what we did. We have tremendous fellowship and learn from great speakers. It’s become an important source of community within the Church for us.”

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

Separating the sheep from the goats

There’s an old adage: If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards. This is certainly true in business, but it’s also true in other aspects of our lives.

novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

Business people know this saying all too well. Growth is essential to the bottom line. Legatus itself strives to grow in order to bring the Gospel to as many souls as possible — but also because if our growth were stagnant, we’d still lose members through death, illness, and dozens of other reasons.

Similarly, we strive to grow in our relationships. My wife is my best friend. We’ve known each other for 15 years, but we’re still getting to know each other — and growing in our understanding and appreciation for each other. My children are complex beings whom I strive to know better as they age and mature.

Why should our relationship with Jesus — God himself who is infinite — be any different? At Mass a couple of days ago I heard Matthew’s gospel in a completely new way. Jesus was talking about his return in glory when he separates the sheep from the goats (Mt 25:31-46). The sheep will go to heaven and the goats to hell.

Jesus doesn’t have it in for the goats. The goats willingly chose hell because they opted not to listen to the Master’s voice — they chose themselves before others. Surprisingly, they were shocked when Jesus said he didn’t know them.

The sheep were also puzzled when Jesus assures them they had, indeed, done his will: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?” Jesus replied: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

That got me thinking: Am I a goat? Am I going the extra mile to care for the sick and imprisoned, the thirsty and hungry? After Mass, I returned to work and started editing the Faith Matters column. Bam! It was like being hit across the head with a 2×4 — a rough awakening to know that my eternal salvation hangs on making this gospel passage part of my life.

It’s clear that my primary focus is to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of my wife and children. That’s first. But God is also calling me — and all of us — in this Year of Mercy to ask: “What more can I do? How can I serve Jesus in the poor and needy?” And grow we must. Our eternal destiny depends on it!

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

Pope Francis’ mission of mercy

Some days I think I have a tough job as the father of five children and editor of an important monthly magazine for Catholic business leaders. But what if Jesus Himself appeared and gave you this task: “Prepare the world for my return”? Now that would be a tough job!

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

During a series of visions, which began in 1931, the Lord asked St. Faustina Kowalska to have an image painted as she saw him. This Divine Mercy Image graces many Catholic churches around the world today. But less known is the fact that Jesus told her, “You will prepare the world for my final coming.”

In the late 1960s, the archbishop of Krakow asked his top theologian to examine Faustina’s writings, which were popular but not yet approved by the Church. Shortly after they were authenticated 10 years later, that archbishop was elected bishop of Rome. Needless to say, Pope St. John Paul II recognized the truth contained in Jesus’ revelation to this simple Polish nun.

Why would Jesus ask her to prepare the world for his return? Because now is the time of mercy! We don’t know when Jesus will make his final return, but it’s clear that right after we draw our final breath, we’ll meet him face-to-face. Will we meet our just judge or our Merciful Savior? That’s up to us, actually. We choose our destiny by how we live our lives here and now.

John Paul knew this well. Long before his death, he became known as the Pope of Mercy. Not surprisingly, Pope Benedict XVI continued to unpack the theology of God’s mercy in his writings and addresses, and Pope Francis has hit the “mercy accelerator” since his election more than two years ago.

“Do not be afraid to look into [Jesus’] eyes, full of infinite love for you. Open yourselves to his merciful gaze, so ready to forgive all your sins. A look from him can change your lives and heal the wounds of your souls,” Pope Francis said in his message for World Youth Day 2016, to be held next summer in Krakow — the home of Faustina and John Paul II.

World Youth Day will be one of the most significant events during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which begins on Dec. 8. Why a Year of Mercy? Because Jesus wants to lavish his mercy right now on a world so blighted by sin. Just scan today’s headlines and you’ll see what I mean.

The truth is that we can all take part in the job given to St. Faustina only 80 years ago. Give yourself completely to Our Merciful Savior and let others know that hope can only be found in Him!

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

Finding our purpose in Christ

You’ve probably heard this old adage before: Each of us is created with a purpose. This saying had stuck around for centuries because it has rung true for people through the ages. And when we cooperate with God’s plan for our lives, marvelous things will happen.

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

There was a time in my life, however, when I didn’t know what my purpose was — or even how to go about discerning that purpose. Little did I know that all I had to do was ask (in prayer) and wait for the Lord to reveal it. After all, life is a journey not a destination.

My career path was quite clear to me ever since I was in high school writing for the student newspaper. My purpose, however, was not so clear — and I wasn’t much of a discerner in my teens and 20s. Now, as a 40-something husband and father of five, God has made my purpose very clear.

Part of that clarity came from five years of working for the Association of Marian Helpers and the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. “Jesus I trust in you” is embedded in my DNA. A little more than 10 years ago, on the very day that St. John Paul II was laid to rest, my boss (at a small, secular company) called me into his office and gave me my walking papers. My wife was eight months pregnant with our second child and we were a single-income family.

My first thought was: Jesus I trust in you!

Prayer and persistence paid off when, two months later, a call came from Legatus headquarters. You see, I had dropped my resume at Legatus four years earlier but didn’t get a call back. This time, they came looking for me. After a few interviews, I became the new editor of Legatus magazine and happily relocated from Ann Arbor to Southwest Florida.

Our October magazine marks my 100th issue as editor. It’s been a remarkable journey, allowing me the great honor to tell the stories of hundreds of Legatus members. That’s a lot of paper and ink, and if God wills it, perhaps a few hundred more issues are ahead of me.

The truth is, though, that my real purpose is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. That’s where it all begins. It all flows from the power of God working in our lives for the good of His Kingdom.

Legatus is a remarkable vehicle for the Holy Spirit to reach men and women of influence, and if they have found their purpose in Him, amazing things will continue to happen in the Church and in the world.

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

Is America ready for its real Golden Age?

I’m a big fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood — particularly movies made in the 1940s and ’50s. I could spend a whole day watching Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and Jimmy Stewart.

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

With the exception of gangster and war flicks, Hollywood reflected an idyllic America in those days. I doubt that this really was our country’s golden age. I suspect these films just glossed over society’s troubles. But one thing is certain: The troubles of the 1950s or even the turbulent ’60s pale in comparison to those of the 21st century.

In the pages of this magazine we try to bring a Catholic perspective to our day’s challenges—everything from Islamic terrorism to the U.S. Supreme Court’s wrong-headed attempt to redefine marriage. We are making progress in the culture war when it comes to abortion, but losing on religious freedom.

I don’t think America — or the world, for that matter — ever had a “golden age” where most people were able to prosper and live in peace. While that’s a noble goal, it’s not reality. We live in a fallen world where there will always be a struggle for justice, peace, success and happiness.

As faithful Catholics, we know where to start in building such a culture of life — a culture based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. And Legatus members are doing so at Wyoming Catholic College, Ave Maria School of Law, by providing opportunities for Hispanic children, and by coming to the aid of young girls in Africa.

Our strength and passion to build a culture of life flow from our relationship with Christ — something backed up by our own experiences and by science. A recent study proves that people of faith have more “sustained happiness” than those who seek other forms of social participation such as volunteering, playing sports or taking a class.

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology by researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center found that the secret to sustained happiness lies in participation in religion. “The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life,” an author of the study said.

The answers to our society’s ills can only be found in Jesus Christ. Since we know the answers that most do not, it’s incumbent upon us to share Jesus with others. We cannot fail. Our world depends upon it. So does our eternal destiny.

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

Agent of change

Milwaukee Legate Art Wigchers — dubbed ‘Father of the Poor’ — has begun a tidal wave of cultural change in Ethiopia

Art Wigchers

Art Wigchers

Art Wigchers didn’t set out to change the world, but the soft-spoken Milwaukee businessman is doing just that — beginning with one small Catholic diocese in Central Ethiopia.

When his father-in-law died about 15 years ago, he left a sizable sum of money that Wigchers (pronounced Wiggers) and his wife Mary Ann — members of Legatus’ Milwaukee Chapter— decided to send to Catholic Relief Services.

It was meant to be a one-time gift, but the local CRS rep called Wigchers every three months to invite him on a trip to visit CRS work in Latin America.

“Then, in 2003, they asked if I’d like to go to East Africa, and I said yes,” he said with a grin. “I’m a news junkie, and I knew of the difficulties in Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to see what’s really going on and understand from the ground up.’”

Catholic investment

The last leg of Wigchers’ trip took him to the Vicariate of Meki, a few hours south of the nation’s capital in central Ethiopia. In the Catholic Church, an apostolic vicariate is a form of territorial jurisdiction in missionary regions where a diocese has not yet been established.

After touring several CRS projects, Wigchers struck up an almost instant friendship with the newly appointed leader of the vicariate — Bishop Abraham Desta.

“I asked him what he needed most,” Wigchers said. “He said he needed help with a school in the mountains in a heavily Muslim area. I went home and talked to my wife, and we decided to help.”

After pondering his gift for a few months, Wigchers decided to return a year later and check on the school’s progress.

“My 2004 visit is where I really got hooked,” he explained. “I had been wondering if the school we helped fund really existed. The school not only existed, but it was doing every well.”

In fact, because of the Catholic Church’s investment through CRS in education, sustainable development projects, famine relief, disease prevention and community water projects over the last 58 years, the Church has earned the respect of faith and community leaders nationwide. That would prove beneficial for the work Wigchers would later undertake.

Elevating women

Bishop Abraham Desta

Bishop Abraham Desta

The 72-year-old Wigchers said that being on the ground in Meki — seeing firsthand the incredible poverty and the great need for education — touched his heart because of his own upbringing.

Raised in rural northwest Wisconsin, Wigchers, at a very young age, suffered the death of his father.

“We didn’t have running water or indoor plumbing, but we had focus,” he said. “My mother had six years of schooling, and she said, ‘You’re going to college. You’re not going to end up like me.’”

Wigchers went on to earn an MBA and CPA. His career led him to work for a large real estate developer in Milwaukee where he spent 35 years. He retired as CEO of Zilber, Ltd., six years ago.

Bishop Desta said that Wigchers’ 2003 visit was a Godsend because he brought a remarkable zeal for education.

One of the challenges the bishop found as a new leader was that women were not being afforded their rightful place. This is not only a problem in his heavily rural, poverty-stricken vicariate, but across his country with its male-dominated society.

Art Wigchers gathers with school children near Meki, Ethiopia

Art Wigchers gathers with school children near Meki, Ethiopia

“I saw that women are, in this area, not well-treated,” he explained. “They’re not given the opportunity to advance. As they grow up, girls drop out of school.”

Another danger that caught the bishop’s attention was that most Ethiopian girls are subject to harmful traditional practices — including female genital mutilation (FGM).

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to FGM with 3 million girls in Africa at risk every year.

In fact, President Barack Obama lashed out against FGM during his July visit to Kenya and Ethiopia. He reiterated those remarks to African leaders in Washington a week later.

“There’s no reason that young girls should suffer genital mutilation; there’s no place in a civilized society for the early or forced marriage of children,” he told an audience in Kenya. “These traditions may go back centuries; they have no place in the 21st century.”

Change through education

Girls fill their containers of water at a community well near Meki, Ethiopia.

Girls fill their containers of water at a community well near Meki, Ethiopia.

Wigchers and Bishop Desta agreed that the best way to eliminate these traditional harmful practices was through education.

“The Catholic Church is a big voice here,” Bishop Desta explained. “If anything comes from the Catholic Church, people see it as a positive. We are a moral voice, plus we have the understanding of the people around us to start this project.”

Wigchers, a member of the CRS Foundation Board, began by supporting the vicariate’s 44 schools. The idea to advocate for women began to blossom only three years ago.

“In 2012, when I was here with some college professors,” Wigchers explained, “the bishop said that the most important thing he needed was help for the girls to have more respect and equality in the society.”

Wigchers began to rally support at Marquette University and Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. That caught the attention of some highly placed educators.

Linda Gordy, associate dean at Waukesha County Technical College, is a literacy expert who heard about Wigchers’ work three years ago. She jumped at the chance to help.

Wigchers also recruited Madeline Wake, a retired dean of nursing at Marquette. The three put their heads together and developed a program to help restore women to their rightful place in Ethiopian society by training teachers in hygiene, nutrition, health and the dangers of FGM and other harmful traditional practices.

“We knew that the teachers could reach parents in a way that we never could,” Wake said. “Education always empowers a community.”

The project has trained over 270 teachers and 34 administrators with another 26 school directors being trained to teach others.

“Our goal is to make this self-sustaining in the vicariate so we can work in other areas,” Wigchers said. “This is a large country — 90 million people in an area twice the size of Texas — so there’s no end to what we can do to help.”

“Art is a unique individual,” Gordy said. “His personal commitment and vision is very special, giving him the ability to gather all these different perspectives.”

Bishop Desta also lauds Wigchers’ passion, which has yielded great success. The businessman has helped rally secular, ethnic and faith leaders to back his plan to restore women’s dignity.

“He is a pioneer in this area of education,” Bishop Desta said. “Art is ‘Father of the Poor,’ really. I admire him for his concern — especially for the girls who are burdened with so much in this male-dominated society. From his heart, he wants to help with knowledge, empowering people. This is truly the social teaching of the Church in action.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief. He spent five days with Wigchers in Ethiopia in July. To learn more about Wigchers’ work, contact him at awigchers@wi.rr.com

A major makeover at Legatus.org

…Legatus’ website gets its first major overhaul in a decade

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

When Legatus launched its website in 1998, the site offered basic information on the organization Tom Monaghan had founded a decade earlier. Subsequent years have witnessed a rapid worldwide technological shift toward e-commerce and web-based business that no one could have predicted.

After more than a year of planning and development, a fully redesigned Legatus website went live on June 17. The site brings together Legatus’ corporate site and magazine site, LegatusMagazine.org, which now points to Legatus.org.

Not only does the new site, built by web design group Fuzati, have a more dynamic and modern look and feel, but visitors can now read some of the membership magazine’s content online, read (and sign up for) the weekly Legatus Insider newsletter, explore other chapters’ schedules and programs, sign up to join Legatus, and browse individual chapter pages.

When Legates log onto the private members’ portion of the site, they can explore Legatus’ new partner site, CatholicSpeakers.com. This site, which also launched in June, is now the go-to site for Legatus chapters looking for authentically Catholic speakers for their monthly events. It was created by Lighthouse Catholic Media and Ignatius Press.

Other member-area features include the ability to pay annual dues, browse the member directory and resources, and the ability to send site feedback. Chapter officers and coordinators have access to reports and box scores for their chapter. They will soon be able to manage the individual chapter pages.

Later this year, the site will launch an option for members to read Legatus magazine on their iPad or other e-reader — and make purchases of Legatus-branded merchandise. Future plans also include the ability for members to register online for summits and other national and regional events.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine and content manager for Legatus.org.

Love and sacrifice

Jesus taught that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. He proved this point by laying down his own life for every human being who ever lived.

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

The cross shows that true love is selfless; it seeks the good of the other first. Paul explained Christ’s teaching: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests” (1 Cor 13:4-5).

Blessed Mother Teresa went further: “Love, to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self.”

In our day, there is no greater example of selfless and sacrificial love than in the men and women who protect our liberty here in the United States and throughout the Western world. Millions have freely given their lives to secure our independence from tyranny — and 1.3 million Americans currently serve in the armed forces.

In this issue, we salute four men who served us in the U.S. Army. (Click here for a related link.) While their experiences differ, their passion for service and the Catholic faith is a powerful witness. Two went on to become generals, one was wounded in battle, and the other helped clear minefields in war zones.

While most of us will never have the opportunity to serve in the armed forces, we are nonetheless called to a sacrificial love. And sacrificial love starts at home. Men are called to lay down their lives in service to their wives and children. Women are called to the same. Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a recent interview that “there is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage.”

We live in an upside-down world where certain evils are considered good and many good things — like traditional marriage and large, faithful Catholic families — are considered offensive. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that “the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

This is our world, and if we hope to turn the tide of the Culture of Death we must love in a pure and countercultural way. The early Church overcame massive persecution and changed the world forever by being a living witness to the sacrificial love of Our Lord. We can do the same if we abandon ourselves to Jesus Christ. There is no other way.

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