Tag Archives: summit

Summit West 2020: Mission Forward

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that at its root, the word “Church” means a convocation or an assembly (CCC 751). While this definition certainly does not capture the fullness of the Holy Catholic Church, I think it’s reasonable to say that the physical gathering of the People of God is an essential component of the Church. And as physical gatherings have become so rare over the last several months, I believe our upcoming Summit is more important and offers more value than ever.

Stephen Henley

In many ways, the 2020 Summit West will be the same first-class experience that members have come to expect from Legatus. We will be gathering at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, one of the most recognizable and celebrated hotels in the world with its distinctive blend of history, luxury, and genuine hospitality. Begin your Summit experience with a morning of exquisite golf and friendly competition on the Broadmoor’s award-winning West Course, complete with breathtaking views and demanding hazards. Our line-up of speakers promises to both encourage and challenge us with some of today’s most well-known Catholic names like Jennifer Fulwiler, Dr. Ralph Martin, Ana Samuel, and Deacon Larry Oney. And of course, each day concludes with an inspiring liturgy celebrated by one of our country’s top clergymen, followed by a themed evening with five-star cuisine and fellowship with members from across North America.

While this will be a true Summit experience, members will certainly notice some necessary adjustments and changes made to prioritize the safety of all attendees. The Broadmoor staff have all completed stringent employee training and implemented new health monitoring and PPE protocols. There will be increased spacing between couples or households at general sessions, Masses, and meals. This means fewer people per table and greater spacing between rows while maintaining the distinctive ambiance and feel proper to a Summit. Rest assured, this spacing will still allow for great fellowship between members while adhering to social distancing best practices. All meals will be individually plated and served to ensure maximum food safety standards. The meeting spaces will be thoroughly sanitized after each event and personal hand sanitizing stations have been added throughout the resort. And in the unlikely event that a guest would become ill, in-house medical teams, including paramedics and physicians, are ready to respond.

As I’ve watched so many things in life go virtual this year, it has only increased my conviction that there is no real substitute for in-person interaction. The conversations that are shared, the bonds that are formed, the lives that are changed – it all happens through the Church, the gathering of the People of God. Christ has chosen us to be leaders in our communities and in the Church for this particular time. Let us embrace our calling and face the unique challenges of today head-on, full of faith and trust in the One who has called us. I look forward to being together with many of you in Colorado Springs next month!

STEPHEN M. HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Bridging the Gap

Pastor Rick Warren, who will speak at the 2016 Legatus Summit, holds “rock star” status among evangelicals — and he has great admiration for the Roman Catholic Church.

Rick Warren is known as “America’s Pastor” because of his engaging communication style and his massive cultural and political influence, both fueled by his bestselling books, including The Purpose Driven Life. What may be less familiar is how many initiatives Warren and his Saddleback mega-church in Lake Forest, Calif., have undertaken with the Catholic Church.  (Warren joins a host of other well-known speakers at the Annual Legatus Summit, Jan. 28-30,
in Orlando.)

Catholic connection

During the past year alone, Warren has spoken at three important Catholic meetings.

“Pope Francis asked me to speak at the Vatican’s colloquium last November on the complementarity of men and women,” Warren told Legatus magazine. “In March, I was a speaker at the largest Catholic religious education conference in the U.S., held by the archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

During Pope Francis’ visit in September, Warren was at the White House reception for the pontiff. He also attended the canonization of Junípero Serra at Catholic University of America.


Rick Warren meets with Pope Francis at a Vatican conference on the family in November 2014 (Braven Carver, SBC)

“Serra is dear to my heart and that of my wife Kay’s,” he said. “This is the man who basically brought the Church to California.”

Warren and his team from Saddleback — America’s eighth largest church — were the only non-Catholics invited to a dinner in D.C. for American bishops after the canonization. In Philadelphia, Warren spoke to a capacity crowd at the World Meeting of Families, sharing the stage with Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley.

Mental illness

Back on the West Coast, Warren has worked with Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, Calif., on several initiatives. Their best-know endeavor was a set of conferences on mental health co-sponsored by Saddleback Church and the Diocese of Orange in March 2014 and October 2015. The events were a response to the suicide of Warren’s son Matthew in 2013.

“Immediately after the passing of Warren’s son, Bishop Vann reached out and prayed with the Warren family,” said Ryan Lilyengren, Bishop Vann’s communications director. “We were very happy to partner with them for these two conferences.”

Warren’s goal is to remove the stigma of mental illness.

“It is not a sin to be sick,” he explained. “Mental illness is no different than any other disease. If my heart is sick, I take a pill. There is no shame in that. If you have a mental illness and take a pill for that, why is there shame? The church can do much to remove the stigma.”

Though Warren and his wife prayed for a miracle and hoped to at least find the right medication to manage Matthew’s depression, their son took his life five days after Easter in 2013. Warren stopped preaching for four months and stayed at home to listen to God.

Rick Warren and Bishop Kevin Vann pose together at Saddleback Church on Feb. 24, 2014 (AP Photo/Nick Ut )

Rick Warren and Bishop Kevin Vann pose
together at Saddleback Church on Feb. 24,
2014 (AP Photo/Nick Ut )

“What I have come to realize is that in God’s garden of grace, even broken trees can bear fruit,” he said. “None of us have a mind and body that works perfectly. We all suffer from some kind of physical or mental problem. There are 60 million adults who struggle with mental health issues in the U.S. Most suffer in silence. Churches and businesses must speak up about this. There can be no stigma.”

Another outburst of grace from the pain of Matthew’s suicide is a new book on hope that Warren is writing.

“I plan to speak about the power of hope at Legatus’ Summit,” he said. “My new book is called The Hope You Need. It is on the Lord’s Prayer. It will be released in 2016. For 35 years, I have preached on the Lord’s Prayer. This is a profoundly deep prayer. In it, there are 10 antidotes to hopelessness.”

Working together

What many find astounding is Warren’s willingness to embrace Catholics as his brothers and sisters in the faith. While many Protestant leaders espouse and teach anti-Catholicism, Warren rejects this idea.

“We have much more in common than anything else,” said Warren. “As the world becomes more secular, we have to remember that we — evangelicals and Catholics — hold the sanctity of life, sex and marriage in common. We have serious disagreements to be sure, but that does not mean we can’t love each other.

“If we only stayed around people who totally agreed with us on everything, we could never be married or have friends. Do we all believe in the Holy Trinity? Yes. That Jesus was the Son of God who died and rose from the dead? Yes. In heaven and hell? Yes. In the bible? Yes. That salvation is through Jesus Christ? Yes. Then we are on the same team. We can have unity without uniformity.”

Warren worked closely with the Diocese of Orange this past year to fight the bill that legalized assisted suicide in California. Since the bill’s passage in October, Warren has worked with the diocese on a referendum to repeal the law. Warren has also spoken to the diocese’s priests on the New Evangelization.

The close relationship between Warren and the diocese is somewhat unique in the U.S.

“Bishop Vann has been incredibly pleased with the wonderful relationship between the diocese and evangelicals from Saddleback,” Lilyengren said. “We may have our differences, but the love of God is the most important thing.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Many Catholics would be surprised to know that Archbishop Fulton Sheen has had a major influence on Warren’s life.

“Fulton Sheen was a great, godly man,” Warren said. “He was the forerunner of many priests today in using the media. I have watched every episode [of his television program Life Is Worth Living] ever made and read all his books.”

Warren said he often watches EWTN, and he apparently prays the Divine Mercy Chaplet with his wife every day. He counts Pope St. John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa as his heroes. He has read the works of Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas à Kempis and the Desert Fathers.

“What I love about Dr. Rick Warren is that he truly does love the Catholic Church,” said Kathleen Eaton-Bravo, a member of Legatus’ Orange Coast Chapter and founder of Obria Medical Clinics. “Coming from one of the biggest evangelical churches in the U.S., this is a miracle in itself. There is a ‘fear factor’ among evangelicals, but Rick makes sure that anti-Catholicism stays out of Saddleback Church. We have reached out to all the evangelical churches in our area, but the only one who has embraced us is Saddleback.”

Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley and Rick Warren take the stage at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on Sept. 25 (Gregory L. Tracy photo)

Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley and Rick Warren take the stage at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on Sept. 25 (Gregory L. Tracy photo)

On the issue of religious freedom, Warren has often stood up for the Catholic Church.

“Religious freedom makes the U.S. unique,” he said. “It is our first freedom and most important freedom. It comes before freedom of the press, speech, assembly, the right to bear arms. If I don’t have the freedom to believe and practice my religion, then I don’t need all the other freedoms.”

Warren has also stood with the Catholic Church against same-sex “marriage.”

“I would remind people that the Church has never been on the right side of history,” he said. “For 2,000 years, one culture after another has crumbled. But the Church still stands. If Jesus comes in 1,000 years, there may not be a U.S., but there will be the Church. If five people on the Supreme Court think that they can change the definition of marriage for billions of people, they are deluded.”

Ultimately, Warren’s friendship with the Catholic Church is a welcome sign of hope and unity in a world of discord and division.

“I think the mission God has given to Rick is to bring evangelicals and Catholics together through his powerful voice,” said Eaton-Bravo. “God has called him to be a unifier. Pope Francis looks to Rick Warren as an opportunity to bring Christians together as never before.”

SABRINA ARENA FERRISI is Legatus magazine’s senior staff writer.

Your invitation to the 2016 Summit

The clock is ticking down to Legatus’ 2016 Summit — and excitement is building toward the Jan. 28-30 event at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, in Orlando, Fla. Because a capacity crowd of more than 500 participants is anticipated, organizers suggest registering for the Summit as early as possible.

“The schedule is full of speakers that will entertain, educate and enrich our spiritual lives,” said Laura Sacha, Legatus’ conference director. “Hosted by Legatus’ Lincoln Chapter, the Summit’s theme — No More Comfortable Catholicism — is timely because Legatus is on the front lines of the New Evangelization.”

The Summit’s roster of speakers and special guests is impressive:

• Tony B, singer/performer

• Dr. William Donohue, the Catholic League

• Dr. Robert P. George, Princeton University

• Dr. Ray Guarendi, clinical psychologist

• Anne Hendershott, Franciscan University of Steubenville

• Bishop Sam Jacobs, national chaplain

• Ali Landry, actress/master of ceremonies

• Patrick Lencioni, author

• Dr. Ralph Martin, Renewal Ministries

• Bishop John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando

• Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

• Joseph Pearce, Aquinas College

• Cardinal George Pell, Vatican

• Lloyd Reeb, author

• Sal Salvo, financial expert

• Fr. Mike Schmitz, Diocese of Duluth

• Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback Church

Thomas Aquinas College hosts a discussion seminar about the meaning and importance of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ first encyclical, and the annual Legatus golf outing takes place at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes.

For more details, visit sign at the top of this page or call (866) 534-2887.

Huckabee among three new Summit speakers

Gov. Mike Huckabee, Harry Kraemer, Austin Ruse to speak at 2015 Legatus Summit . . . 


Gov. Mike Huckabee

Legatus is pleased to announce three dynamic speakers for its upcoming 2015 Summit in Naples, Florida. In addition to the speakers already scheduled (see below), Legatus members will hear from the following:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.


Harry Kraemer

Harry Kraemer is the former CEO of Baxter International, Inc., and is a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business. Kraemer is a highly regarded speaker whose CEO experience and Catholic perspective will certainly be appreciated by Legatus members.

Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse is the president of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), a non-profit research institute dedicated to reestablishing a proper understanding of international law, protecting national sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. An expert on UN matters, he has briefed members of the U.S. House and Senate, White House, National Security Council, journalists, and Church and non-government leaders from around the world. He has appeared on major news network programs and is published in First Things, Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, National Review Online, Weekly Standard, Human Events and Touchstone. The title of Ruse’s talk is “No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic.”

Other Scheduled Speakers:

• Author Chris Crowley
Paul Darrow, Courage ministry
• New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Jennifer Fulwiler, author and convert
• Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez
• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
Al Kresta, Ave Maria Radio
Fr. Robert Sirico, Acton Institute founder
Pam Stenzel, Chastity author and activist


Media Statement on 2015 Annual Legatus Summit

Media Statement on 2015 Annual Legatus Summit from Executive Director John Hunt. . .

Legatus (Latin for ambassador) is a faith-based organization for business leaders and their spouses.  Its mission is to integrate the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – faith, family and business – connecting two powerful realities, the challenges of top-tier business leadership and the Catholic faith. Since 1987, Legatus has been bringing together Catholic business leaders and their spouses for monthly chapter meetings and various national gatherings.

Legatus embraces all that the Catholic Church teaches – nothing more, nothing less. Of course, at the core of all that the Church teaches is Christ’s unconditional love for every man and woman. While the Church has and always will teach about the morality of certain behaviors, these teachings are always to be understood in the context of the value of and respect for every human person.

Church teachings on same-sex attractions are not intended to marginalize the individuals who experience them. On the contrary, the Church wants to reach out to these individuals — as well as all who will enter into dialogue about its teachings — and help them to understand why the Church teaches what it does.

Each year Legatus hosts a National Summit at which the attendees enjoy engaging speakers, inspiring liturgies, and the camaraderie of their peers in the Catholic business community. This annual event is a critical component of the organization’s mission to assist its members as they study, live and spread the Catholic faith in their business, professional and personal lives.

Unfortunately, three of the scheduled speakers for the 2015 Summit have opted not to participate. A Fox News spokesperson has been quoted as saying that Bret Baier has withdrawn “due to the controversy surrounding some editorial stances in the organization’s magazine.” In addition, Peter Coors and Gary Sinise have also canceled, citing similar reasons.

We have great respect for Bret Baier, Peter Coors, and Gary Sinise and regret that our members will not have the opportunity to hear about all the good work they are doing.

As an organization, we try to assist our members in understanding the issues currently facing our society, and the Church’s teachings on these relevant matters. As a result, our members can grow in their understanding of their faith, which then benefits them in every area of their lives.

LGBT groups should not feel threatened by our organization, whose mission is to study, live and spread our faith according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. At its core, this issue is about the freedom of Legatus members — in fact all Catholics, and by extension people of any religion — to have the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs, which includes the ability to gather together and discuss their faith.

John Hunt, Executive Director



Summit Speaker: Bret Baier

BRET BAIER of Fox News is one of the highlighted speakers at the 2015 Summit . . .

If there’s one reason Bret Baier delivers a “fair and balanced” newscast, it certainly has to do with his Catholic faith. Growing up in Atlanta, he gravitated toward two loves: golf and journalism. Golf didn’t pay the bills, so he pursued television news. And when his son Paul was diagnosed with congenital heart defects just hours after being born, the Fox News Channel’s Special Report host says prayer got him through. He tells the story in his book Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love. He spoke with Patrick Novecosky, Legatus magazine’s editor-in- chief.

Bret Baier

Bret Baier

Tell me a little about your upbringing.

I had a great life as a kid. I was born in New Jersey in a traditional, upper-middle class family. My dad was [an executive with] Sunoco oil and got transferred to Atlanta. I went to Catholic school. I went to St. Jude’s elementary school in Atlanta, then on to Marist School in Atlanta, and really came into my own in figuring out who I was.

We went to Mass every Sunday. I was an altar boy. It was something I just assumed everybody did. It just became part of my culture. And then when I went to Catholic school, it became more engrained. It was a big deal. A lot of the guidance from priests and brothers who were teachers really helped me grow, not only in the faith, but as a person.

Now, when I went to college it was a different story. It was not a Catholic college and, as happens with a lot of Catholics, there’s a falling away part of your life. [Faith] just wasn’t one of the top priories of fraternity life and college life and golf team.

Bret Baier and his family on the Special Report set

Bret Baier and his family on the Special Report set

What were your ambitions as a young man?

I always knew that I wanted to do something in front of people. I did theater in high school and really enjoyed that. I wrote for the school paper, and putting those two together I interned at a TV station in Atlanta. First it was sports, but then I really thought news was intriguing. Then I started studying more about politics and history and fell in love with that. So really early on I got to the point where I wanted to do reporting. I had this tunnel-vision right from my junior year of high school.

You just celebrated your 10th anniversary. How did marriage change you?

It changed me in a number of ways, just the whole sharing of yourself with someone else and realizing that person is who you’re supposed to be with. For the longest time it was just me solo, putting my head down and working. Then suddenly there was another element to it. It was this “team aspect” of it — it was no longer just me striving, but us. I think that really helped me in my career, and it really helped me move forward.

Then when we got to the birth of Paul, I really realized that I had chosen the right person. When you’re down, she’s up or you’re up and she’s down — and you help each other through the toughest times.

Bret and Amy Baier hold Paul before the baby was diagnosed with heart defects

Bret and Amy Baier hold Paul before the baby was diagnosed with heart defects

How did your faith help you through this and subsequent surgeries?

Faith was crucial. I try to paint that picture in the book. I don’t shy away from it. I lift it up in the fact that we were lifted up by these hundreds of prayers coming over email as I sent out those emails updating everyone. What came back were beautiful inspirational prayers from short to very long, detailed from everybody — from priests at the Vatican to a southern Baptist pastor to friends and family to people that we’ve never even known, viewers. Reading those with Amy as we sat there next to Paul’s bassinet gave us hope and enabled us to get through every day.

He’s had three surgeries. How is he now?

Paul will have to have an angioplasty within a year or two, and that will be an overnight stay. And then in five to seven years, he’ll have another open-heart surgery, and that will be a tough time. It gets tougher and tougher each time it happens. And prayer takes us through.

He’s had seven angioplasties and the stomach surgery that was unrelated to his heart. He’s doing great. He’s in first grade. You’d never know on the playground that he had any problems. He’s the tallest kid in his class. He has a great relationship with his brother — for the most part. They fight like any brothers do, but they’re normal. Both of them are in the same school.

The thing I’m striving for now as a Catholic is to get to the place that I was in the lowest points [during his illness] in my level of prayer — not just waiting for the toughest time to have that deep relationship, but to have it all the time. It’s a challenge for people, because you need it.

Paul joined his dad on the set of Special Report a few years ago

Paul joined his dad on the set of Special Report a few years ago

You’re in a high-profile job with a ton of pressure. How does your faith help you?

I rely on it heavily. I think it helps ground me. When the world is spinning faster and faster, the occasional close-the-door-and-meditate-in-prayer is helpful for anybody no matter what your religion is. It’s the vehicle that takes you to that place and calms you down. I try to do that — turn off the computer and just have a moment. I have a church down the block down here on Capitol Hill that I take a stroll to on occasion, especially if it’s a really tough day. It lifts me up.

I think faith a very important part, and it gives you perspective. I know that going through what we did gives you perspective on what’s important and what’s not. Sometimes we get mired in the small stuff. After going through what we’ve been through, hopefully it helps us relate to families across the country who have bigger things on their plate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A condensed version of this interview was published in the December print version of Legates magazine.


Why the Legatus Summit matters

PATRICK NOVECOSKY writes that Legates will be refreshed by the Legatus Summit . . .

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

I don’t know about you, but I always used to get the winter blahs about three or four weeks after Christmas. It never failed. After celebrating Christ’s birth and ringing in the New Year, there seemed to be nothing left to look forward to until spring.

Two things changed that. First, I moved to Florida. Second, I went to my first Legatus Summit. Now, we all can’t live in Florida but every Legate can certainly visit. And what a better time to get re-energized in the sun — and in the faith — than at Legatus’ biggest event of the year?

This year’s Summit is shaping up to be a remarkable one. I recently had the incredible opportunity to interview Bret Baier from Fox News Channel and actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise, both speakers at the Jan. 29-31 Summit to be held at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Fla. Both men will speak about their Catholic faith and how it has propelled them to succeed at home and in their work.

Other speakers include Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (a convert to Catholicism), New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Acton Institute founder Fr. Robert Sirico, and comedian Tom Dreesen (who used to open for Frank Sinatra), among many others.

While the speakers are all headliners, they are not the best reason to attend the Summit. The liturgies and sacraments are powerful — and for some people, life- changing. Eucharistic adoration is available, and a special exhibit on the life of St. Mother Théodore Guérin will be a highlight.

If you read Tom Monaghan’s column on the Legatus Enclave, you’ll note that participants found the camaraderie that resulted from the gathering to be the most meaningful part of the event. The Summit is no different. Members soak up the spiritual, the personal, and the educational. And did I mention the sunshine? They soak that up, too, especially during the golf tournament and 100 yards away at the Gulf of México.

There will be a few surprises, too. Every Summit has its own flavor and January’s event will have its share. The great thing is that each person goes home with something different. That’s the beauty of our faith and our Lord. He knows what you need and is ready to lavish it upon you.

So I’m done with the winter blahs. Life is too short to let snow and ice get you down. See you in January!

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

Summit Speaker: Gov. Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal is one of the highlighted speakers at Legatus’ 2015 Summit . . .

Governor Bobby Jindal

Governor Bobby Jindal

Not only is Bobby Jindal the 55th and current governor of Louisiana, but he’s also the vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Born in Baton Rouge to immigrants from India, Jindal is a convert from Hinduism — first to evangelical Christianity and then Catholicism. He was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004, then governor in 2007 and again in 2011. He recently spoke with editorial assistant Tim Drake.

What led you to consider Catholicism?

It was all part of one continuous process. The entire faith experience, starting as a Hindu and ending as a Catholic, was about a seven-year process. I became Christian the summer after my junior year of high school. I saw a film depiction of Christ being crucified. I figured that if that was God, dying for me, then how arrogant for me to do anything but get on my knees and worship him.

When I attended Brown University, I had made a promise to a friend back home that I would attend a Catholic Mass. I started attending daily Mass, but I never really understood the rituals and the beauty. I came to appreciate the Mass and had a spiritual longing for the Eucharist. As I began my sophomore year of college, I was baptized and confirmed.

What do you plan to speak about at the Legatus Summit?

I’m interested in discussing and sharing about my faith, but also on the issue of the assault on religious liberty that’s going on in our country. Christians around the world are facing a shooting war, but here there is a silent war going on against those of us who want to live our faith. This is a very important issue for our time. America didn’t create religious liberty; religious liberty created America.

You’re the son of immigrants. What’s most vital in immigration reform?

One, we have it completely backwards today. We have a low wall and a narrow gate. That’s opposite of what we need. We need a high wall and a broad gate. We make it too easy for people to come here illegally and too hard for those who want to come here legally.

Secondly, we also have to reform our legal system. There are those who want to come here legally and work here and come for a better life. We must secure the border, but we also need to reform the legal pathways to our country.

In August, you sued the federal government over Common Core.

The worst part about it is giving up local control of education. Under the 10th Amendment, the federal government does not have the right to make curricular decisions. It’s a classic bait-and-switch. The government is inserting itself — just as it did with medical care — into so many decisions. It’s dangling a carrot in terms of funding, but then saying that it’s allowing states to back out.

There was a rush to implement [Common Core] without proper deliberation and parental input. The most dangerous thing about this is that it’s the federal government enforcing a one-size-fits all curricular approach.

Do you have any aspirations for public office beyond Louisiana?

I still have a year as governor. I’m absolutely thinking and praying about what I’ll do after being governor. We won’t make a decision until after November.


Living the faith passionately

Sold-out silver anniversary Summit with all-star faculty highlights religious liberty . . .

From across the United States and around the world, over 600 Legates, guests, speakers, award winners and staff kicked off Legatus’ 25th anniversary year in style at the 2012 Summit.

The Feb. 2-4 event, held at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Fla., featured a provocative lineup of speakers and offered opportunities for daily Mass, Confession and rosary. Drawing on the Summit’s theme, “Living the Fullness of Faith,” speakers urged members to promote Catholicism not only in their personal and professional lives, but — for the Americans in attendance — as citizens of a country where religious liberty is gravely threatened.

Cardinal Raymond Burke

After celebrating the opening Mass, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, encouraged attendees to realize their universal call to holiness and engage the new evangelization. Cardinal Burke addressed a Summit hot topic — the Health and Human Services mandate that insurance plans provide free contraception, sterilization and abortifacients.

“How many Catholics, instead of giving a strong witness to the truth which God has written on every human heart, daily lead their fellow citizens into confusion and error by acting publicly and obstinately against the law of God?” he asked after expressing gratitude for Legates’ faithful witness. “As citizens, we must pay attention to the public debate and support those Christian politicians who propose legislation which respects fully our human nature and thereby fosters freedom.”

Catholic conscience

Dr. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, forcefully extended this theme.

“We’ve got a great Catholic Church, but it’s not going to be worth anything unless it stands up to the bullies in Washington,” he said, believing Legates will rise to the challenge. “You are the backbone of the Catholic Church. I’m worthless without troops, and you’re the best troops we have.” After accepting the Defender of the Faith Award, Donohue quipped, “I don’t know how I’m going to get this on the plane, but if I find a liberal I’ll hit him over the head with it!”

Next came Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who told his conversion story in order “to encourage you to plant the seeds of the Gospel. We might not be called to reap, but we are called to sow. You can change someone’s life for all eternity if you plant those seeds.”

Father George Rutler, Legatus’ former national chaplain, reminded members that the real force behind evil policies doesn’t need to run for re-election.

After affectionately remembering deceased Legates who “are still part of our family: They continue to pray for us, as we do them,” the Manhattan priest took a serious turn. “Satan comes under many guises. But unlike Christ, who welcomed the little children, you can always spot the devil because he hates babies.”

Presidential treatment

President George W. Bush

Although he’s not Catholic, President George W. Bush’s belief in leading a conscientious, faith-filled life was exuberantly received when he addressed attendees on the Summit’s second day. “I don’t think the government should intrude on consciences,” he said, adding that “I believe all life is precious.”

As a man who has made hard decisions in business and public life, President Bush says he insists on the primacy of faith. “In decision-making you need faith to set the platform. Faith puts life in perspective. If you believe God won’t give you what you can’t handle, life is a lot less hard.”

He also told Legates one of his favorite sayings: “God is good, all the time.” Throughout his talk he often repeated “God is good,” enjoining the audience to enthusiastically respond, “All the time!”

Members reacted enthusiastically to the three-day event.

“What was the Summit for me? An inspiring and invigorating experience both spiritually and intellectually,” said Baltimore Chapter president Timothy Watkins, who attended with wife Susan. “The speeches, the liturgies, the fellowship — all of these set the course for us to grow in our faith and stand up for our rights as Catholics.”

Hail to the ambassador-in-chief

According to many Legates interviewed for this article, the Summit’s most moving segment was Friday’s tribute to Legatus founder Tom Monaghan in Ave Maria — home of Ave Maria University and Legatus headquarters. Bishop Sam Jacobs, Legatus’ international chaplain, celebrated Mass at the Ave Maria Oratory.

“As we celebrate, it’s time to recognize the accomplishments of Legatus and be proud,” he said during his homily. “Your lives have been transformed, and you’ve impacted the lives of other people you may not even know about until the Day of Judgment.” He also encouraged Legates to “take a stand” and not be “a silent majority” when it comes to defending the dignity of life.

That night at dinner, held on the campus of the university Monaghan founded, surrounded by hundreds of friends, Legatus honored its founder and chairman.

After the assembly watched a moving 10-minute tribute video, Detroit Legates Tony and Suzanne Rea presented Monaghan, on behalf of all Legates, with a pastoral cross that once belonged to Blessed John Paul II. Monaghan humbly accepted the gifts and accolades and thanked members and staff for their hard work in making the Summit so memorable.

“As I look back over the last 25 years of Legatus, I am inspired by all the men and women who have lived our mission and impacted countless others in the process,” he said at the Ambassadors Gala the following evening. “And looking forward to the future of Legatus — wow, just think what the next 25 years will hold! I truly believe that we can be a source of life and energy for the Church in accomplishing her mission of spreading the truth of the Gospel throughout the country and indeed the world.”

He also issued members a short-term challenge to strengthen Legatus in the long term: “I challenge every member to bring in at least one new member by March 25, which is my 75th birthday and the Feast of the Annunciation. As you know, almost all new members over the years have been recruited by existing members!”

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


2011 Award Winners

Ambassador of the Year: Patrick Molyneaux

Officers of the Year: Lou DiCerbo II, Manny Montanez

Courage in the Marketplace: Alan Sears

Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Award: Cardinal Raymond Burke, Steve & Vivian Koob, Dan Zeidler

Bowie Kuhn Special Award for Evangelization: Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell

Defender of the Faith Award: Dr. William Donohue

Campbell Award: Colorado Springs, Northern New Jersey, Napa Valley, Detroit,

Angott Award: Baton Rouge, San Juan Capistrano

Silver anniversary summit

President George Bush to headline Legatus’ 25th anniversary Summit in February . . .

George W. Bush

The upcoming annual Summit — only four months away — will mark Legatus’ 25th anniversary, and the response to this milestone event has been enthusiastic. Legates have already begun reserving their rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Fla. Because a capacity crowd is anticipated, event organizers suggest booking a room as early as possible for the Feb. 2-4 event.

The Summit’s theme, “Living the Fullness of Faith,” takes its inspiration from Christ’s declaration, “Behold I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). The roster of speakers and special guests is accordingly full and faithful, featuring faces new to Legatus as well as seasoned Summit veterans. Confirmed faculty include:

• President George W. Bush, who wowed Legates at the 2010 Summit

• Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican, the main celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass

Cardinal Raymond Burke

• Dr. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

• Donohue’s fellow New Yorker Fr. George Rutler, Legatus’ former national chaplain and current host of the long-running EWTN program Christ in the City

• Legatus’ current international chaplain Bishop Sam Jacobs of the Houma Thibodaux (La.) diocese, main celebrant of the Friday Mass, which will held at the Oratory in Ave Maria, Fla.

• J. David Karam, president of Wendy’s International, noted philanthropist, chair of the Professional Advisory Council for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and trustee of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

• Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a convert from Hinduism to Catholicism

Dr. William Donohue

• Republican U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio

Carolyn Woo, newly appointed president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services

As at every past national conference, Legatus’ silver Summit will be graced with priests renowned for their spiritual leadership. In addition to addressing the attendees, they will celebrate daily Mass, hear confessions and offer private spiritual direction.

The 2012 Summit is hosted by the Legatus’ Genesis Chapter, based in Toledo, Ohio. Legatus conference director Laura Sacha says she’s heartened by members’ enthusiastic response to this milestone event, which promises to be one of the biggest ever.

“My hope for this event is my hope for all Legatus summits — namely, to provide an opportunity for members to renew a commitment to the Legatus mission as we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, enjoy the fellowship of faithful Catholic business leaders and hear from dynamic speakers covering a variety of issues.”

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

Legates are good stewards

Legatus members’ interior life must be solid says executive director John Hunt . . .

John J. Hunt

John J. Hunt

As you receive this magazine, your fellow Legates are gathering in Dana Point, Calif., for the Annual Legatus Summit.

Members will hear a wide array of speakers addressing the Summit theme “Challenging the Culture.” These are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary actions from extraordinary people like all members of Legatus.

Legates are committed to spreading the faith in their business, professional and personal lives. We recognize our unique roles in influencing our families, employees and communities. We can only achieve the lofty goals that are a burden of leadership if we exhibit that leadership by service. We must be people of God, people of interior life, and people of prayer and sacrifice.

Our apostolate must be the overflow of our interior life. That can only be achieved to its fullest through a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, nourished by the sacraments as often as possible.

Through the fullness of the monthly Legatus chapter experience — rosary, Confession, Mass/Holy Communion, fellowship with fellow Legates, and the wisdom of sound speakers whose messages encourage our charity — we are prepared to live out Our Lord’s command to “go forth and teach all nations.”

The recent catastrophe in Haiti and other natural disasters are opportunities to lead by serving. Through our prayers and financial gifts we exhibit solidarity with the victims of such tragedies. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (Lk 12:48). May we always be open to God’s call in such crises. After all, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “all Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy … and of their neighbors in want” (CCC #952).

On another note, have you renewed your Legatus membership? If not, please prayerfully consider the value of Legatus in your life. Where else can Catholic executives and their spouses share their faith lives with other Catholic leaders who truly treasure being Catholic?

I invite you to continue your Legatus journey in the knowledge that “the world needs genuine witnesses to Christian ethics in the field of business, and the Church asks you to fulfill this role publicly with courage and perseverance.” Pope John Paul II’s address to Legatus, Nov. 2, 1988.

John Hunt is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.