Tag Archives: stephen henley

Unstoppable gift of faith spawns bold witness

The theme for this month’s magazine, “Studying and Living the Faith,” comes straight from our mission statement: “To study, live, and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional, and personal lives.” Studying and living the Faith is at the very heart of who we are as Legatus members. How we practically implement this can be explored in a variety of ways, but I think it is safe to say that the most applicable scenario now is not one that anyone imagined just a few short months ago.

Stephen Henley

The coronavirus pandemic feels like it has taken over the world, affecting every single person in one way or another. It has shut down our cities, halted the public celebration of Mass, and even taken lives, but it cannot take away our Faith. As St. Paul says, “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us” (Rom 8:35,37). No doubt bolstered by this truth, I have watched Legatus members redouble their commitment to studying and living the Faith amid this crisis rather than shrink back.

One great example of members studying the Faith has been our popular Catholic Leadership Through Crisis webinar series that began this spring. We have listened to bishops and priests, doctors, and presidents, absorbing each one’s perspective on what it means to be Catholic right here, right now. Truly understanding our Faith is a prerequisite to living it. The fact that these webinars have been so well attended by presidents and CEOs during a time when “business as usual” has been turned on its head is a testament to the true depth of faith among our members.

Though none of us would have chosen this situation, it has also afforded us a unique opportunity to move from simply knowing to living our Faith in an even more prominent way. As the world continues to grapple with this new and dangerous situation, it looks evermore toward its leaders for direction and example. So many idols have been demolished by the coronavirus – wealth, sports, freedom, and above all, the illusion that we are in control. People are shaken, afraid, confused. How can anyone be at peace? How can anyone have hope? We know the answer – and even more than that, we know the Person who is the answer. When Legatus members face, with a supernatural peace and a supernatural hope, all of the tough choices now thrust upon business leaders, their witness will shine like a bright light in the darkness. This is what living the Faith is all about. So we thank God who, in His omnipotence, can bring wonderful opportunity out of such a devastating situation, and we ask for the grace to embrace it, to embrace our mission as Legatus.

STEPHEN M. HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Unprecedented times

Like many of you, Legatus has not been immune to the challenges that faced us in the Coronavirus outbreak. As an organization, our staff collectively visits 40+ chapters each month, and this was brought to a screeching halt in mid-March. On March 14, I directed our staff to be grounded and manage their areas of operation from their home offices. I likewise limited our headquarters staff to a minimal level and asked most to work from home. What was our staff response to these circumstances? We have to do more for our members during this time.

Stephen Henley

On March 16 we hosted a webinar with Dr. Tim Flanigan of the Boston Chapter, an infectious disease doctor and expert, who gave 150+ participating Legatus members an insider understanding of the situation. He allowed questions from everyone. Over the next several weeks, we will hear from Legatus members sharing how they are handling the situation from a business perspective, and a spiritual one.

 Our staff initiated a Divine Mercy Chaplet nationwide, with Legatus families gathering around their computers praying for an end to this pandemic. I received many emails thanking us for these opportunities for uniting as Legatus members.

 A daily rosary has been led by Legatus staff and members to bring together our community in prayer, remembering our collective commission as Legatus members, as Catholics: to get to heaven and take as many souls with us as possible.

These times of prayer, shared by so many Legates, seem all the more important as dioceses across the country shut down public Masses, times of adoration, and other group gatherings. We have still been able to come together as the Universal Church and find Christ’s presence in one another. Lent presented a new facet of suffering for all of us.

During this Lenten fast, I have been reminded of the time the Apostles isolated themselves after the Crucifixion of Jesus, waiting for a sign. They lived in fear of their own deaths for having known the Lord, but they were in an uncertain position, unsure of what next step to take. I am especially struck by the leadership of Peter during this time. Jesus knew that Peter was the right man for the job. In fact, Peter had his own fishing company on the Sea of Galilee. This is why Peter is the patron of Legatus. Peter knew they had to take each next right step and that God would provide.

 Perhaps this is part of God’s plan: for us to retreat from the constant movement and distractions of our lives, and to just be. It draws us to focus and rely on Him and to remember what is really important in our lives.

 Staying logged in to Legatus Networks brings you up-to-date information on our programs and announcements – without our filling your inbox with notices. Listen to archived speaker recordings, learn of special events, join discussion groups, and stay connected in many other ways. Not on Networks? Just email networks@legatus.org, and we’ll set you up.

STEPHEN M. HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Mission Driven

Each of us has a mission in life: to get to heaven and take as many with us as possible. Beyond that mission, everything else is ancillary. Because we are human, we get caught up in “life” and lose our true north. To get back to that true north, we take time away, or “retreat.” “Retreat” takes many forms in our lives – perhaps it’s daily Mass, or our Sunday obligation of Mass, or annual spiritual exercises; even for some, and I hope this number is growing, it’s your monthly chapter event.

Stephen Henley

Especially during the busiest shopping season of the year, and then the fallout on our bank accounts, we can get wrapped up in the hustle and lose sight of our mission. By the time you see this column, it will be February, and perhaps a good time for you to revisit your annual resolutions. I encourage you to adopt what our founder and CEO has dubbed Tres Magna or the Big Three. Tres Magna constitutes going to Mass daily, praying the rosary daily, and receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation monthly.

Let us remember that our mission in Legatus is the same as it should be in our personal lives: to get to heaven and take as many people as possible. To that end, Mr. Monaghan established Tres Magna to again blend our Legatus mission with our personal mission. Legatus has created a certificate for those members who pledge to commit to Tres Magna, to serve as a reminder of that commitment. Place this certificate in a prominent place in your home, so it will remind you that with many other Legatus members and Catholics around the world, we are united in Tres Magna. You are not alone on your mission.

Mission Drift is a plague we all contend with in our companies. I recently read an article on Mission Drift which restated Harvard’s original mission was to “prepare ministers of upright character.” I think we can conclude this is not their mission any more. Conversely, our own organization, from its start on May 7, 1987, set its mission: Legatus’ mission has and continues to be to “study, live, and spread the Catholic Faith in our personal, business, and professional lives.” Simply put: find our way to heaven and take as many people as possible.

By now you will have seen several marketing pieces we’ve used to highlight and remind our members of our mission. Everything Legatus does – through local chapter events, forums, cohorts, and the Legatus networks, to the national and international pilgrimages, as well as the pinnacle summits – are all for enabling our members to fulfill this mission. These are ways for you to enhance your faith and community with fellow members to “study, live and spread your Faith.”

For more information on Tres Magna, refer to the January 2019 Chairman Column of the magazine found on Legatus.org. To download the certificate and take the pledge, log into Legatus.org, click the resources tab, chapter resources, and download Tres Magna. Or simply notify your chapter administrator.

STEPHEN M. HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Encountering Christ and growing our faith

In this issue, we highlight Christmas and the Summit, two of my favorite times. It’s unbelievable that a year has passed by again, as we ready to welcome baby Jesus back into our hearts, and celebrate being Christian. We also look forward to the coming year.

Stephen Henley

Beginning in 2020, we will again host two Summits yearly. In years past, we had two Summits annually, but with growing costs and our then membership-size not being at a level to sustain it, we decided to have just one event per year. Now, with over 5,500 members and nearly 100 chapters, we are at the size to again host two. The past several Summits have sold out. Part of our intent in having two events again is to expose more members to the Summit. Those who have attended know what a crowning jewel the Summit is to a Legatus year.

Historically, each Summit is whole unto itself. The west Summits tend to have more central and west region attendees, and the east, likewise. As we expand to two events, one will be on the east coast and one in the west; one in the fall and one in the winter. The Summit in September of 2020 will be at the beautiful Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. This Summit will be hosted by the Colorado Springs Chapter and will include different speakers and theme than will our January 2020 Summit.

At next month’s Summit East hosted by the Pittsburgh Chapter, we selected the theme “Iron Sharpens Iron: Co-Responsibility of the Laity.” In Proverbs 27:17, we read: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” As Ambassadors for Christ in the Marketplace, we are called to not only refine our lay colleagues, but as Pope St. John Paul II suggested in 1988 in his Apostolic Exhortation Chrisifidelis Laici [On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World], we are called to work in active collaboration with fellow priests and religious. We must help our brothers and sisters, regardless of vocation, to that ultimate goal of getting to heaven and bringing along as many people as possible.

The Summit is built as a retreat: a chance to engage and grow your faith, away from the demands of daily life. It is an opportunity to step away and focus solely on Christ, in a way not possible in the daily hustle. Through this experience, we can sharpen ourselves and each other, and endeavor to truly walk with Him in our vocations.

If you have been to a Summit, I encourage you to share this experience with fellow members and if possible, to address your chapter. The Summit, like monthly chapter events, is an experience difficult to paint for others through advertisements, but which leaves unforgettable impact. If you have never been to a Summit, now is your time!

Lastly, as we prepare for the coming of our Lord, on behalf of all the staff at Legatus, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

STEPHEN M. HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director

Ways we can support our priests

Recently, Legatus Magazine polled members on what topics they would like to see addressed. One of the topics that surfaced was:

Stephen Henley

How can we, as laity, support our priests to be healthy, happy and holy?

As an imperfect layperson, I will humbly offer recommendations.

Pray: often, specifically. God willing, our prayers will sustain them in their hardest moments, those moments they find themselves in the desert.

Live your vocation as leader: in your business, at home, but spiritually as well. We are all examples to each other and the example we set helps to hold up those around us. Feeling needed in our vocation is something we all desire. Priests seeing that you are going to daily Mass, praying the rosary daily, availing ourselves to go to Confession, will help to edify our priests.

Be a friend: As a married man, I take for granted that I have a wife who is my ‘second opinion.’ When it comes to making decisions in my life, whether that be dealing with a work issue, writing this article, or with my kids, I can count on my wife to bounce ideas off of or to call me on something when needed. For many priests, however, they may not have such a person. They need personal interaction; they need people who are going to cheer them up when they feel down, or provide a dose of reality if needed.

Invite them to dinner: growing up, I can recall having our parish priest to a family dinner at least once a year. As a kid, I always thought it was something special. How many young men and women have been led to a religious vocation as a result of that dinner time with a priest!

In your chapters: you can support your priests in the life of your chapter by hosting a panel of priests. You could even host one of your monthly events at the local seminary. Many chapters create prayer buddies in the chapter that pray solely for local priests and seminarians.

Reach out: write to your priests (bishops and cardinals included), to commend them and thank them when they are doing the right things. Letter-writing is often thought of when things are going wrong, but it is just as effective when things are going well.

While it is easy to paint the clergy with a broad brush after the actions of some, it is the good and holy priests who will and do suffer. It is those priests we have to support, even more so in these times. As Ambassadors for Christ, it is within our vocation to lead the way in building up our clergy.

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Time to take an active stance

In early June, nearly 200 CEOs contributed to an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal, “urging companies to stand up for reproductive rights in the face of ongoing abortion bans in states across the U.S.” Their goal is to change the public’s view of abortion from that of “moral disapproval” to one of “positive good” for employees and business customers.

Stephen Henley

The current climate surrounding abortion finds itself in a moment unlike any before. This time is urgent and critical in our fight for the lives of the unborn and their mothers. Catholics and Christians alike are looking at new ways to respond to attacks on life.

Rightfully, one of our chapter presidents reached out to the board to discuss what we, as Ambassadors for Christ in the Marketplace, are going to do to counter this. Because Legatus has a “no solicitation, no fundraising and no special projects” policy to provide an environment where Legates can find safe haven from such things, as an organization we won’t engage on the same level as those CEOs represented in the article. However, while this means that Legatus is not providing a path to response, it does not mean we don’t believe you should respond: this is a perfect opportunity to be Ambassadors for Christ in the Marketplace. In the very near future, Legates will have a platform (Legatus Networks) to be able to opt into conversations like this for those that want to play an active role. Stay tuned for this exciting rollout in the early fall 2019.

As a “Christian witness,” you are called to stand up and fight for the unborn. How much stronger the Church is by having disciples do what Christ commanded us to do, to “go therefore and make disciples of all Nations…”. Imagine if Christ did not send the Apostles or the 72 disciples, but rather said, let us make a decree as the Church. Imagine if you, as a CEO, just operated your business from a passive position. Your business would collapse.

The actions of thousands of Legates will speak louder than the words of 200 in The Wall Street Journal. While those CEOs could be commended for taking a stand, what you choose to do now will have far more lasting effects than words printed in a newspaper. Legatus’ role is to offer catechetical sustenance through a group of likeminded Catholics and the sacraments. Monthly meetings should be a respite from the war of the world and nourishment to continue on in your fight, in this case, the fight for life.

We at Legatus, from those at headquarters in Ann Arbor to every member of each chapter, extend our encouragement, support, and hope that you will look for ways to answer the call to actively take a stand for life in your own communities. St. Catherine of Siena’s immortal words continue to speak to Legatus members: “If you are who you should be, you will set the world ablaze.”

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Evangelization through the Sacred Heart

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on the first Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi and commemorates the love, suffering, and compassion of Christ for all humanity. Pope St. John Paul II, himself an inspiration for Legatus, had a profound devotion to the Sacred Heart. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was also an essential component of Pope John Paul II’s hopes for the “New Evangelization” called for by the Church.

Stephen Henley

“For evangelization today,” he said, “the Heart of Christ must be recognized as the heart of the Church: It is He who calls us to conversion, to reconciliation. It is He who leads pure hearts and those hungering for justice along the way of the Beatitudes. It is He who achieves the warm communion of the members of the one Body. It is He who enables us to adhere to the Good News and to accept the promise of eternal life. It is He who sends us out on mission. The heart-to-heart with Jesus broadens the human heart on a global scale.” There are those around us who do not have the faith we are privileged to hold. The Heart of Christ leads us, faithful Catholics, but also leads those who don’t recognize that they are being led. It lies upon us, those who know, to reach out to those who do not and bring them along to Christ.

As Christians, as Catholics, as Legatus members, we are all called to a life of evangelization. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” We are called to specific vocations at just this time. Sometimes these “small things” can be as simple as a kind greeting to someone you always see but that you never acknowledge, or perhaps an invite to those neighbors that you always say ‘hi’ to, but never anything more. Perhaps invite a friend or family member who hasn’t been to Mass in a while to attend with you. Whether it is as overt as an invitation to Mass or as simple as a nod of the head, making a real connection with others is the beginning to evangelization and anyone can do it!

As Legatus members, we are challenged: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mat 28: 19-20). Through the love of the Sacred Heart, we can and must go out into our own world and bring Christ to all we meet.

I pray you have a wonderful summer and that you seize every opportunity to bring Christ to those you meet!

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director

Non-solicitation policy and speakers

Last month I was visiting a chapter on the East coast and as sometimes happens, I was unfamiliar with her and her organization. She was a “local” speaker, so I was a little hesitant. Now, in full disclosure, some of the best talks I have heard visiting chapters have been from the local area. This is a great way to watch the budget, but even more, the speaker also knows the people/culture and can often resonate well with the members.

Stephen Henley

Now this speaker spoke on chastity and marriage and her own conversion story, which was hugely impactful. So much so that the chapter gave her a standing ovation. But then the dreaded happened: she finished her talk with the “ask.” This speaker gave such a great talk, and then crossed the line because she proceeded to solicit for funds for her organization.

Of course, I am a little more sensitive to the “ask” as I am a protector of our “nonsolicitation” policy, but this policy is sacred in Legatus. I often refer to our meetings as a “safe space” for this reason. I have heard from many of you about how much you value and appreciate the genius of this rule in all Legatus chapters. To this speaker’s, credit, she probably didn’t know any better, which is why it is up to us to make this policy clear.

As you embark on planning 2020’s speaker selections for your chapter, it is important, regardless of how many chapters a speaker has spoken at, that we revisit this “no fundraising, no soliciting” policy (the written policy can be found on the secure portion of our website under “resources” or by contacting your regional director). I further encourage either the president, CA or program chair to make it a policy of calling the speaker a week or two before the event to discuss the chapter, its demographics, review the chapter’s themes for that month or year, and lastly, to highlight these crucial policies.

To conclude, I am also pleased to announce the hiring our new regional director of the West region, Angela Chargualaf. Angela joined the team on March 14 to begin the transition from former regional director, Ty Soto. Angela is married to Jeff and the mother of a 20-year-old son and 17-year-old twins in Lake Forest, CA (Orange County). Although new to this position, Angela has been working as a chapter administrator for two chapters, Orange Coast and San Diego. Angela was named the Chapter Administrator of the Year in 2018 for the West Region. Elevating Angela to the role of regional director is a testimony to the chapters she serves, but further to the importance and role of chapter administrator in each chapter. Both chapters experienced 92 percent retention and an average of 13 percent net growth in 2018.

May you and your family be blessed as you celebrate the true meaning of Easter, from the reflection of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday and the promise of eternal life.

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Securing the future

Happy New Year! We have just had our 2019 Annual Summit, which is the highlight of all our national events and a joyful gathering of more than 450 Legatus members from across the continent. At the Summit, we announced exciting news that in 2020, we will be going back to having two Summits a year. As a result of our growth, we want to make the Summit available to more of our members. Each Summit will not be identical, so we would love to have as many members as possible at both events.

Stephen Henley

I want to take the time to also touch on our endowment fund. In your renewal invoices, we give the option for members to donate to the fund. The fund is meant to ensure the growth and longevity of Legatus. Each year, we have members give between $15K-$30K. Your previous generosity in giving above and beyond your dues is nothing short of inspiring, especially as we continue to aim even higher in our goals. Each of you is part of a chapter that, at one point, was in development. We recently ran the numbers on what it takes to develop a chapter and it is a NET cost of $50K. This is by far the largest expense in our budget. However, how can we say “no” to growth when we can see the impact on all our lives and the amount of souls it has brought back to Christ? Throughout our 32 years, Legatus has had a great benefactor in its founder, Tom Monaghan, who has given over $13 million to Legatus and continues to pay his own way in all ways (dues, Summits, pilgrimages). But we are self-sufficient now and should not continue to count on his generosity.

Our goal in 2019 is to develop at least 12 new chapters, which equates to a net cost of $600K. Our national budget is not built with a surplus of $600K, so where do we get it? Either a chapter founder funds the development (we have had many of these before, such as Tim Busch or Joe Canizaro), we utilize funds from the endowment, or we raise dues $200/ member. I believe our two best options are to find chapter founders and to increase our endowment.

A possible fourth option is for those chapters that have excess funds year to year, to sponsor and/ or adopt a developing chapter. This is a way for a chapter to be involved in the future growth directly and put their excess funds to the best investment out there.

Between pages 38 and 39 of this issue, you will find an envelope where you can make a fully tax-deductible donation to the Legatus endowment fund. Please consider making a gift, and also consider naming Legatus in your will. You know the impact and potential Legatus has in our world. Let’s work together to secure that for many years to come!

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

A year in review

As we head into the season of resolutions, I think it is a good time to recap 2018 for Legatus and share some of our accomplishments, shortcomings, and our goals for the year ahead. As I begin my third year as executive director/president of Legatus, it has truly been an honor to serve you, our members, and to help ensure the continued growth and success of Legatus, and ultimately, achieving our goal of steering as many souls toward heaven as possible.

Stephen Henley

Since I began in this role, our chairman and CEO, Tom Monaghan, has reiterated the operational goals: better chapters and more of them, in that order. Regarding the order of better chapters: through the life of Legatus, we have chartered over 100 chapters, but for various reasons, too many chapters have closed prematurely. Upon examination, we determined that this is where it is on us as an organization to ensure our chapters are providing the experience for members that keeps their chapters alive and fruitful.

One part of this effort was the increased role of our chapter administrators. We have all grown to value them, but we simply were not giving our chapter administrators the precise tools to do their job most effectively and support growth in their positions. I now believe, with the proper support through the chapter boards, along with their national liaison and the online training modules, we will continue to see better results.

The role of the chapter administrator is the reason why our renewals were ahead of any year previously and the reason we finished at 88.5 percent renewal.

The second component to our operational goals is more chapters. This year to-date, we have chartered chapters in Louisville, Tulsa, San Francisco, and Newark, and are on the cusp of chartering five more before year-end: Kansas City, Bismarck, North Georgia, Greenville, and Jupiter/ Palm Beach. I project that by year-end, Legatus will have had a growth of around 3-4 percent.

I am delighted to say that we also have formulated a new model for development. Over the past five years, Legatus has been geared in new-chapter growth mode. Unfortunately, at times, this had been at the sacrifice of current chapters. We had to figure out how to grow new chapters while maintaining the integrity of our current ones. I have enlisted the expertise of Nancy Haskell to oversee all new development. This means that regional directors and zone managers will be focused on current chapter growth and sustainment. Nancy, having chartered over 15 chapters herself, knows what it takes to cross that goal line. Our chapter development teams will be more focused and more effective, while at the same time, being less costly.

We are proud to see what we have accomplished this year and look forward to the challenges ahead. From the Legatus headquarters in Ann Arbor, I pray you all have a blessed Christmas and fruitful New Year!

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.