Tag Archives: Rome

Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome

Timothy Gordon
Sophia Institute Press, 304 pages

 

Did America’s founding fathers, nearly all Protestants or Enlightenment Deists, draw inspiration from the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, and Catholic natural law? Although they wouldn’t admit as much, philosopher Timothy Gordon says it’s so, and America’s moral and social decline is attributable to our gradual drift from those founding principles. “America is wired Catholic, labeled Protestant, and currently functioning as secular,” he writes. The solution: Since Catholic natural law is essential to the success of any republic, we need to get back to it – before it’s too late.

Order: Amazon

Spiritual ventures enkindle the soul

Legatus’ fall 2018 Mexico and Rome pilgrimages were magnificent excursions for intensifying faith, appreciating salvation history, and reinvigorating the fervor of today’s Ambassadors for Christ – for sharing with family and colleagues for years to come.

Miracle of Guadalupe

The four-day Our Lady of Guadalupe Family Mission Pilgrimage, September 7-10, has greatly increased in popularity. Legatus hosted its largest group yet with over 80 legates, extended families and friends.

Jacksonville members Tom and Glory Sullivan extended heartfelt promotion for the pilgrimage, having taken the trip some 30 times, affected more deeply each time by its spiritual worth. This year it was condensed to a long weekend, enabling more families to participate, as well as the two accompanying chaplains. Fr. Jeremy Davis, SOLT (who runs a school in Mexico for neglected children), and Boston’s Fr. Michael Drea, national chaplain for FOCUS, supported pilgrims with offering daily Mass, along with spiritual counsel and insights.

The group visited the world-famous Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe – the most visited shrine in Christendom. They walked the correlating site at Tepeyac Hill of Our Lady’s 16th-century apparitions to St. Juan Diego (whose tilma still shows her miraculous image, and which is prominently displayed at the Shrine). The tilma holds the world’s only apparition-result which can still be seen.

Pilgrims likewise spent a full day at Girlstown (Chalco, MX), founded by the late Venerable Father Aloysius Schwartz, continued to presentday by the Sisters of Mary. Visiting with the 3,500 underprivileged orphan girls of Childrens Village there has a profound effect. Many American youth could never envision these girls’ lives – especially their love of life – without the up-close experience they get on this pilgrimage.

One young teenager from Ohio, after interacting with the girls, was inspired to organize a new fundraising campaign for them and the Sisters of Mary

In a time resigned to youth leaving the Church, or seeing them as disinterested in Her truths and history, this year’s pilgrimage saw many engaged with great zeal.

“We had more youth on this year’s trip than ever before,” said Glory Sullivan, “and they add a totally different and wholesome dynamic to it.” The Sullivans said that many parents and grandparents bring their young family members on the pilgrimage – to expose them firsthand to the Miracle of Guadalupe, the Shrine, and the charitable work at Girlstown.

“It has literally changed some kids’ lives,” Glory said. “They engage with faith, hope, and charity like never before.” And they return home incredibly transformed in spirit. The 2019 pilgrimage is set for September 6-9.

Eternal City – the Church’s home

From October 5-12, Legatus pilgrims enjoyed an exclusive immersion in the Eternal City – Rome – during its most enjoyable travel season.

A special opening Mass was offered at Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri – the pontifical parish church of the Vatican dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Mary. Germany’s Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the main celebrant, concelebrating with Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, Indianapolis Chapter chaplain who led the trip.

A exclusive visit to the Swiss guard barracks was guided by former Swiss guard Dr. Mario Enzler, with his one-of-a-kind insights on living and working for three years among Pope Saint John Paul II’s special protective contingent. Later working as an investment banker, and today as professor of finance at Catholic University of America, he says of that special time with John Paul II, “I served a saint,” whom he believes made him a better man, executive, and leader.

Guided walking tours of Rome’s St. Mary Major, St. Pudenziana, and St. Praxedes Basilicas were taken after a special pasta-making lunch at Passetto Ristorante, one of the city’s most revered restaurants near Piazza Navona, known worldwide for its fresh, authentic regional dishes.

A day trip to the ancient hill town of Orvieto, a few hours north, featured old-town shopping and visits to its famed churches including Mass at Chapel of La Badia di Orvieto, a beautiful 12th-century restored abbey, which today also encompasses an adjacent hotel and restaurant. As Orvieto is also a wine-producing town, pilgrims enjoyed a special local-tasting before a private dinner at La Badia.

After savoring a special lunch with seminarians at the North American College in Rome, pilgrims enjoyed a private evening meeting and reception with the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Callista Gingrich, at the ambassador’s residence in Rome.

A day-long Vatican-vicinity walking tour included Mass in St. Peter’s Crypt, and included small-group Scavi Tours beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, tours of the main Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, the Pantheon, Coliseum, Roman Forum, and other churches throughout Rome. Sites were specially hostguided by well-known Church and art historian Liz Lev. The group even paid a visit to Saint Mother Teresa’s residence in Rome, where they had the opportunity to pray in her cell and attend Adoration with the Sisters of Charity in their convent.

Finally, Legate pilgrims attended a special Wednesday audience with Pope Francis, meeting the Holy Father personally, and having keepsake photos taken with him.

One Legate said, “Just being, existing, and breathing in such holy places — and learning so much more about our faith” made every minute worthwhile.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

Take a revelry in the beauty of Catholicism

This October, Legates can enter the inner orbit of the Catholic Church, during the exceptional Legatus pilgrimage to Rome where all will see the Church, both behind the scenes and on the world stage. The tour group will venerate the unassuming relics that seemed so insignificant to the mighty Roman Empire: the bones of St Peter—the fisherman killed in the wake of a mad emperor’s ambition—in the Vatican Scavi, the slivers of ancient wood that held the infant Christ in St. Mary Major, and the simple linen cloth that absorbed the blood of Christ in the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena. Then pilgrims will marvel at how these humble seeds bore glorious fruit in the breathtaking basilicas and works of art.

Walking through the Coliseum, marveling at the crumbled vestiges of Imperial Rome, the Legatus group will learn how the Romans, who worshipped men as gods, came to believe, thanks to brave witness of the early Christians, in God-made-Man. A few steps further and we’ll stand before St. John Lateran, the first legal Christian church and the cathedral of Rome.

The centerpiece of the trip will be Vatican City state, where pilgrims will dive deep into the beauty and history of the Church, even as history is being made. In a private after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel, the Legatus group will stand alone before the glorious paintings of Michelangelo revealing in powerful forms and brilliant color the invisible beginnings and ending of our great story of salvation. They will visit the enclave of the Swiss guards and learn the history of Europe’s oldest private army. Don’t let the colorful uniforms deceive— this group of young men offered their service to the pope 500 years ago and still proudly promise to protect the pope with their lives today. Legates will see their armory containing the ancient weapons used to save the life of Pope Clement VII to the brand-new, state-of-the-art helmets forged just this year.

Even as the group tours and learns and basks in beauty, they will witness the Church renewing herself.

Mostly the Legate tour group will partake in the joy of the Christian faith, expressed in the soaring frescoes of the great basilicas, the delightful fountains donated by generous popes, and even the fun of learning how to make pizza together!

Come and revel in the ancient true faith that remains vibrant and living, to renew hearts and spirits in the beauty that is the Catholic Church!

For more information on the Legatus 2018 Rome Pilgrimage Oct. 5-12, contact Kendall Ripley at Corporate Travel for details (866-468-1420) or kripley@ctscentral.net

ELIZABETH LEV is an American art historian living in Rome, and teaches art history at Duquesne University’s Italian campus and at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas. She is a commissioner of the Tourism board of Rome and a consultant on art and faith for the Vatican Museums, for whom she authored Vatican Treasures: Art and Faith, a film that was presented to Pope Benedict XVI. She also works as a Vatican analyst for NBC.

SCRIPTURE 101

… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every craft. Exodus 31: 3-5

CATECHISM 101

Pilgrimages evoke our earthly journey toward heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2691

A bird’s eye view of history

Legatus magazine editor Patrick Novecosky was in Rome for the election of Pope Francis …

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

Having a bird’s eye view on history is not all it’s cracked up to be. When white smoke billowed forth from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney on March 13, I was atop the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

Nearly 150,000 people in the square below had waited hours in the rain and 40-degree weather in anticipation of the conclave’s decision. After 30 minutes of picture-taking, I had a sense that history was about to unfold. That was confirmed when I looked at my rain-spattered watch. The Vatican had posted times for the smoke-watchers to fix their gaze upon the chimney. The smoke was supposed to have risen at 7 pm. All of the previous burnings had been early. It was 7:04 pm. Something was up.

Being on top of the colonnade put me at a serious disadvantage over television viewers who could see multiple angles (including the chimney) and those in the square who had full view of large video screens. So when the crowd burst out in shouts of joy and applause a few minutes later, I knew history had been made! Seconds later, the basilica’s bells began to ring — one of them just 40 feet above me.

Then, about 75 minutes after the white smoke, red-clad cardinals began coming out onto the balconies beside the center loggia where the new pope would be introduced. The doors of the loggia at the center of the basilica opened. The crowd exploded! Even the often jaded media folks around me were smiling.

“Habemus papem!” said French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Then the Pope appeared! I had a great view — better than most — but I was still 80 yards away.

As soon as he spoke, I knew our new Holy Father was a man of great humility. You could hear it in his voice. And, I found out later, he also has a sense of humor. After he was selected, he told the cardinal electors, “My brothers, may God forgive you!”

The longtime archbishop of Buenos Aires is the son of middle-class Italian immigrants and is known as a humble man who rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina’s capital. He takes his name and inspiration from the humble saint from Assisi.

Francis has truly come to the Vatican! Viva il papa!

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief. Watch for more reporting on Pope Francis in next month’s magazine. Click here for another article on the Pope’s election. Read Patrick’s blog at ThePraetorium.com

All roads lead to Rome

Legatus pilgrims discover the glories of Ireland and the Eternal City while on pilgrimage . . .

From the green fields of the Emerald Isle to the stone-gray boulevards of Rome, nearly 20 Legatus pilgrims toured holy sites in Ireland and the Eternal City from Oct. 10-21.

Ireland

Highlights of the trip’s first leg included following in the footsteps of St. Patrick and Blessed John Henry Newman — and attending the chartering of Legatus’ Dublin Chapter (see page 14).

Joe Melançon speaks with Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 17

“The beauty of seeing the first chapter outside North America chartered was overwhelming,” said Joe Melançon, a member of Legatus’ Baton Rouge Chapter who attended the Oct. 11 event. “We all know about the difficulties the Church in Ireland is suffering through, but being at the chartering was an affirmation of the faith in Ireland.

“Ireland is a deeply spiritual place, and when you combine it with the chartering evening, it’s hard to top,” Melançon said.

Rome

After Ireland, the pilgrims journeyed to Rome where highlights included a walking tour of the ancient city; a tour of the catacombs; lunch with students at the North American College, where most U.S. seminarians live and take classes; and a private tour of the Sistine Chapel, followed by a tour of the Vatican Secret Archives.

One of the high points was an Oct. 17 general audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Legates had VIP seating near the front of St. Peter’s Square, packed with thousands of pilgrims and visitors. At the end of the general audience, Melançon presented the Holy Father with Legatus’ annual contribution to the Holy See. He said his moment with the Pope was an overpowering experience that he will never forget.

His wife Paula said she was thrilled with the meetings Legates had with Vatican officials. “We were given the opportunity to meet with two offices in the curia,” she said. “The Holy Father’s opening of the Year of Faith, in which we Catholics are called to live the faith more dynamically, was wonderfully significant for us.”

Two priests served as spiritual guides during the pilgrimage. In Ireland, Dublin Chapter chaplain Fr. Michael Mullan, LC, guided Legates. In Rome, a native Texan did the honors: Fr. John C. Vargas.

“The Legatus pilgrimage gives them an opportunity to see and visit places and shrines that even life-long residents of Rome don’t ever get to see — and also to meet and learn from major Vatican prelates,” said Fr. Vargas, procurator general of the Redemporist order in Rome.

“The most beautiful experience for me as their spiritual director was to witness members’ faith and their searching hearts for an ever more profound union with our most holy Redeemer.”

Bill Bowman (left) poses with Gordon & Ann Stevens
of the New Orleans Chapter atop Santa Croce
University with St. Peter’s Basilica in the background

On their last night in Rome, pilgrims enjoyed a reception atop the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Several of the Legates are longtime friends with two of the university’s priests — Fr. John Wauck and Fr. Robert Gahl — who gave a pre-reception lecture about religious liberty in those heady days before the U.S. presidential election.

Enjoying a bounteous buffet of wine and cheese, Legates mingled against a backdrop of Rome’s magnificent views, including St. Peter’s Basilica beneath a rose-tinged sky.

“I enjoyed myself so much that I changed my mind and have decided to attend the summit in Scottsdale next February,” said Dr. Vicky Loberg of the Peoria Chapter.

Matthew A. Rarey is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

Holy days in England & Eternal City

Legates return from faith-filled pilgrimage, which included a papal audience . . .

Legates gather in the Vatican Gardens

This year’s annual pilgrimage brought Legates not only to the banks of the Tiber, where they plunged into the eternally effervescent depths of Rome – but also to the banks of the Thames, where they discovered the lesser-appreciated Catholic heritage of England, where the once cruelly persecuted faith continues to water the country’s spiritual life.

Nearly 50 Legates made the pilgrimage, some opting for both legs of the trip. The London portion (Oct. 12-16) drew 16 pilgrims while 36 journeyed to the Eternal City from Oct. 16-23.

Monumental Rome

Joe and Paula Melançon, members of Legatus’ Baton Rouge Chapter, are still coming off the incredible high of the unexpected apex of their pilgrimage: meeting face-to-face with the Holy Father. Organizers asked the couple to represent Legatus to Pope Benedict XVI only moments after they and fellow Legates had taken VIP seats in St. Peter’s Square for the Pope’s Oct. 19 weekly general audience.

Joe and Paula Melancon meet the Holy Father

“Perhaps it was very wise not to tell us ahead of time,” said Joe Melançon, vice chairman of Legatus’ Board of Governors, who was tremendously moved by the experience. His wife Paula shared in his anxious anticipation: “We said a rosary with our group as we sat there waiting, and that certainly gave us time to steady ourselves.”

When it came their turn to meet the Holy Father and to extend Legatus’ well wishes, “the compassion in his eyes and facial expression is what got me through the process of getting the words out,” Joe Melançon said. Though the meeting was brief, the Pope’s full and unhurried attention made them feel like “it was just the three of us alone in St. Peter’s Square.”

Highlights of the Rome portion of the pilgrimage included:

• Dinner with Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican (click here for a related story). “It was a really fine experience,” said David Prest of the Palm Springs Chapter, who traveled with wife, Michaeleen.

• Thirty minutes alone in the Sistine Chapel by special permission of the president of Vatican City. “Just being there in silence, then praying for the Pope’s intentions in the place where he was elected made me realize that we [Catholics] are all in this together,” said Elizabeth DeMars of the Baton Rouge Chapter, who traveled with husband Tom.

Historic England

While the path to Rome has been trod by many a Legatus pilgrim before, the journey to England was a first.

“Every place we went was a unique and lovely experience,” said Jack Carew, a member of Legatus’ Board of Governors, who traveled with his wife Barbara. “The Tower of London was one of the high points, no pun intended, and we were allowed to visit and pray inside St. Thomas More’s cell, something specially arranged just for us. Seeing sites like this and Tyburn [where many Catholics were martyred] and learning about the trials and tribulations of the Church in England was a real eye-opener for me.”

Fr. Joseph Fox, OP, leads a tour

Pilgrims also visited Tyburn Convent, which honors the 105 English martyrs executed nearby; touched the altar upon which Blessed John Henry Newman said his first Mass; and at the Dominican Studium in Oxford, met some of the monks serving as modern-day missionaries to an increasingly post-Christian Britain.

Legates lauded the work of Legatus staff and Fr. Joseph Fox, OP, who served as the pilgrimage’s spiritual director. A canon lawyer, Fr. Fox taught at the Angelicum and worked at the Vatican for 22 years.

Already at work on next year’s pilgrimage to Ireland and Rome, Legatus conference director Laura Sacha encourages members to make a pilgrimage abroad in order to become more faith-filled and better-informed ambassadors for Christ back home.

Matthew A. Rarey is Legatus Magazine’s editorial assistant.

John Paul: Saint & inspiration

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan reflects on being in Rome for the Pope’s beatification . . .

Thomas Monaghan

I was privileged to be in Rome on May 1 for John Paul the Great’s beatification. I was there as a part of a pilgrimage led by Steve & Janet Ray and Legate Teresa Tomeo. The pilgrimage was handled by Legate John Hale’s Corporate Travel Co. They all did an amazing job!

During the trip, I pondered the far-reaching impact of this man, whom I and many other Legates had the privilege of meeting. Many things come to mind, yet it’s hard not to think back to the first time I met him. In 1987, I had the opportunity to receive Communion from him in his private chapel. I will always remember that experience, of looking into his eyes as I was about to receive the Eucharist. It truly served as the inspiration for Legatus. I had the idea for Legatus within hours of that encounter.

I don’t think we will fully comprehend the impact that this incredible man had on the Church and the world until we get to Heaven. How could we? His efforts over the years to implement the teachings of Vatican II, for example, encouraged the laity to be more active in the Church and to take more responsibility for evangelization and leadership in the Church. This corresponds directly to Legatus’ mission to study, live and spread the faith.

Tom Monaghan, Teresa Tomeo, George Weigel, Steve Ray

Many of John Paul’s encyclicals call all Catholics to know our faith and to spread it. He coined the phrase “new evangelization,” which became a rallying cry for a whole generation of Catholics. And his encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work), which talks of the inherent dignity of work, is especially pertinent to us in Legatus. (See related story on page 15.)

This only scratches the surface of his impact on humanity. I invite you to thank God with me for the tremendous gift that Blessed John Paul has been to the Church — and to ask for his intercession for the world, the Church and for Legatus.

Thomas Monaghan is Legatus’ founder and chairman. He is a member of Legatus’ Naples Chapter.

Chance meeting in Rome launches Legatus chapter

Bishop Ronald Gainer

Lexington Chapter

The chief shepherd of the Diocese of Lexington, Ky., calls himself a “cheerleader” for Legatus. After a chance meeting with Legatus’ founder in Rome, Bishop Ronald Gainer set out to launch a chapter in his diocese. With 14 committed couples already, the chapter continues to grow in the heart of America’s Protestant Bible Belt. He lauds Legatus’ mission to help members study, live and spread the faith, saying its many benefits to the Church are innumerable.

How did your chapter get started?

In 2004, I was in Rome on a pilgrimage with about 70 people from the diocese. I was in the hotel lobby in my bishop’s cassock when a man came up to me and put out his hand. It was Tom Monaghan. He was on the annual Legatus pilgrimage.

We were both headed to the papal audience. We began to chat, and I think my words to him were, “What would I need to do to explore the possibility of a Legatus chapter in Lexington?” He said, “You would be interested?” I said, “Oh, absolutely!” Although Lexington has a small Catholic population, we have a significant number of Catholics in very important positions in government and private business.

I love Legatus’ mission — this opportunity for business people to study, live and spread the faith in their personal and professional lives. Legatus provides a catalyst for that. So to show my support, I chose to be the chaplain. Throughout my priesthood, I have always felt that one leads by doing. I wanted to show my enthusiasm for Legatus. So with very few exceptions, I have been there every month for confessions and then offered the Mass. I have certainly grown through the speakers and my association with Legatus members.

What benefits does Legatus bring to your diocese?

It provides a collaboration of people in the upper tier of business leadership. It helps strengthen the fabric of our local Church. One of the strategic priorities of the diocese is adult faith formation. Legatus provides an ongoing formation in the faith by bringing in wonderful speakers and providing interaction with men and women who are struggling to bring Christ to bear in their personal lives and business lives.

As members experience personal growth through the monthly gatherings, I am convinced that they are going to invest themselves more fully in their parishes — service and the broader life of the diocese — as well as influencing the culture of business.

One of our members who is retiring said, “I wouldn’t see myself saying this months back, but I would really like to find out how I could volunteer to bring some of my experience to the diocesan Church.” I’m convinced that it’s his formation and the graces from Legatus gatherings that have provoked the desire to donate some of his retirement to a couple of our diocesan ministries.

I also love how Legatus strengthens marriage by bringing together people who have similar challenges in life — all bonded by our Catholic faith.

How do regular meetings contribute to the faith formation you mentioned?

We need to have routine. Our monthly meetings provide the opportunity for Confession, the rosary, Mass and dinner with a speaker. In that, the Spirit is at work, and that is what helps to sustain and deepen our faith. There has to be something more than just a one-time retreat experience, something that continues to deepen that grace. I think Legatus provides that.

I’m a cheerleader for getting our group chartered. It would be a great benefit to our dedicated members, for our future members and for our local Church.