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.”
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.”
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.