At a recent Legatus event, I was praying before Mass when my friend Mike walked in and sat down beside me. We smiled at one another and shook hands.
Our speaker that evening was Sr. Briege McKenna. During Mass, I was struck with a vivid sense of gratitude — here I was, participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in the midst of some of the most extraordinary people I know.
That got me thinking. What is it that makes Legatus special? Why is it that membership in this organization has become one of the greatest privileges of my life? The dinner is good, for sure. The speakers are inspiring. But there is something extraordinary about Legatus — and in my humble view, it’s the people.
Yes, the primary way Legatus has touched my life is through other members. To say that I’m grateful for their friendship would be a gross understatement. The mutual encouragement, prayers and support of other Legates are pearls beyond price.
Who do I call when I want to buy a car? Mike, a Legatus member. Who is my spiritual director? Andy, a deacon and Legate. Who do I approach to talk through thorny moral or ethical business issues? Father Thomas, our chaplain.
It goes even deeper. Who helped my wife and me when we went through one of the most difficult challenges of our lives (a teenager with a drug problem)? Mary Ann, a Legatus member. Our son is alive and well today thanks to a terrific program called Cenacolo. Mary Ann’s brother happens to be the bishop who brought the program to the U.S. The word thankful just doesn’t cover it.
When I decided several years ago to move out of the corporate world and into a small Catholic apostolate — The Coming Home Network with Marcus Grodi — many Legatus members supported the decision. When I wrote my first book, a labor of love entitled Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, I aimed it straight at the Legatus mission out of sheer gratitude (and I got great advice and stories from my fellow Legates).
The book opened up opportunities to speak at numerous Legatus chapters, and I discovered the most amazing thing: Meeting Legates from across the country is like meeting longtime friends. I often reflect on this, and I think it results from the presence of Christ within them. We share a familial bond even if we’ve never met.
Legatus magazine is a wonderful means of encouragement as we are introduced to members’ activities and accomplishments. Legatus members are moving the needle in our culture! I think of my friends Tom
Peterson of Catholics Come Home, Michael Warsaw of EWTN, Teresa Tomeo of Ave Maria Radio, not to mention our founder Tom Monaghan.
In the end, our Legatus relationships help shape who were are. I recently attended the funeral of one of our members. Alan was chapter president the year before me. He was a kind-hearted, gentle soul, deeply committed to his faith, his wife, and his family. Looking around at the funeral, I saw most of our chapter members — praying for his soul, praying for his family, and celebrating a life well lived. As I sat there in the Church, remembering his kindness and wonderful example, my eyes welled up, and I sent a prayer heavenward:
Lord, please have mercy on the soul of our departed brother, along with all of us who were privileged to count him as a friend. Bless all Legatus members, and allow our experience of sharing life together — and living the Legatus mission — to truly make a difference in all our lives and those of others everywhere. Amen.
These relationships are an important part of our past, present and future. When my work at The Coming Home Network was complete, I returned to the for-profit world at the invitation of yet another Legatus member, Marc. I currently serve with him in a dynamic, rapidly growing digital marketing business suffused with values consistent with our faith.
I’m also working on my second book, about the need for ongoing conversion — the continuous process of allowing the faith to permeate every aspect of our lives. It’s on this score that the Legatus experience is decisive. Living the mission of the organization — to learn, live and spread the Catholic faith — provides us with the tools (more like the rocket fuel) to live a truly Christian life. In a very real sense, our Legatus experience helps us become saints.
Let’s redouble our efforts today to live the Legatus mission — and to invite others to join us in the experience. Our membership in this great organization does make a difference: in our spiritual journeys, in our families, and in our world.
KEVIN LOWRY is a member of Legatus’ Columbus Chapter and author of “Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck.”