Tag Archives: Teresa Tomeo

Kingdom builders

Legatus women come from different backgrounds and life experiences. Yet within that diversity, they are using their talents to increase the kingdom of God. Some do it within the business world, non-profit organizations, the media, and women’s ministries.

The one common denominator is that they have all responded to a personal call.

Catholic media maven

When Teresa Tomeo came back to the Catholic Church, she had to make a difficult decision: How would she use her journalistic talents? She had worked in secular TV and radio for 20 years, and the secularism she had been immersed in drew her away from the Church. However, a personal crisis turned Tomeo back to the faith she had set aside.

“My husband and I came very close to divorcing,” she explained. “Then he went to a non-denominational bible study.”

Everything changed after that.

The bible study brought Tomeo’s husband Dominick Pastore (now a deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit) back to Catholicism. That, in turn, spurred Tomeo to study her childhood faith again. Once she returned to the Church, Tomeo said she knew she couldn’t continue her secular media career.

“I felt like a fish out of water, so I walked away in the year 2000,” she explained. “I knew God did not want me there.”

Teresa Tomeo interviews Alveda King at the 2013 March for Life

Tomeo soon began a new career as an author, Catholic motivational speaker, radio talk-show host (Catholic Connection on Ave Maria Radio for the past 15 years), and television host (EWTN’s The Catholic View for Women for the past six years). She also leads Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Europe, among other places.

As a member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter, Tomeo encourages other Legates in their faith. She’s a frequent speaker at Legatus chapters across the country and has emceed a Legatus Summit.

Her latest book, Beyond Me, My Selfie and I: Finding Real Happiness in a Self-Absorbed World, looks at social media and how it causes people to turn inward. Her next book — Beyond Sunday — which will be published in May, is about bringing faith into everyday life.

With regard to journalism, Tomeo believes communication skills are vital to evangelization.

“I would never discourage anyone who wanted to stay in the secular media,” she said. “But if you aren’t strong in your faith, be careful. It’s not easy. We need to continue to engage the culture. We should have good Catholics in all the newsrooms in this country with a good background in ethics. The greater your experience in the secular media, the better you will be in Catholic media.”

When God has other plans

Marilyn Quirk was an Episcopalian when she went to Louisiana State University. Her goal was to study nursing so she could become a medical missionary.

But God had other plans.

Her friends set her up on a blind date with Pete Quirk, who was the first Catholic she had ever dated. When the relationship became serious, she had to discern what God was calling her to: marriage or missionary work?

Archbishop Gregory Aymond presents the St. John Paul II Award to Marilyn Quirk on Dec. 1, 2016, at the annual dinner of The Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

“I met the future Bishop Stanley Ott [leader of the Baton Rouge diocese from 1983-1992] while I was at LSU,” Quirk explained. “He said that marriage was a vocation, and he had me go through the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola to determine God’s call for me.”

She realized that God was calling her to marriage — and the Catholic Church.

After her conversion, Quirk joined the Catholic Charismatic movement. Through years of participating in women’s prayer groups and studying the documents of the Second Vatican Council, Quirk felt called to start a new kind of group for Catholic women who had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In 1981, she founded a group called Magnificat, which has grown to over 109 chapters in 12 countries. The group has touched the lives of thousands of women. Magnificat chapters meet four times a year while sharing a meal. At the meeting, a woman gives her personal testimony.

“Each testimony is so different,” she said. “It touches women where they are. It has been very exciting to see the growth of Magnificat. Women are incredibly joyful to be a part of sharing the Gospel.”

Quirk is the mother of six and grandmother of 13. In 2000, she received the Pontifical Award Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice. Recently, the Archdiocese of New Orleans honored her with the Pope St. John Paul II Award, which is given to extraordinary Catholic lay people.

Marilyn and her husband Pete are founding members of Legatus’ New Orleans Chapter, which chartered in 2000. Through the years, they have served on the chapter’s board in various capacities.

Business savvy

Sharon Kucia began her career after college doing consulting work for nonprofits, specializing in the philanthropy and development field.

In 2001, she randomly answered an ad for a faithbased consulting firm in Dallas.

“The consultant group was mostly Protestant, but they wanted a Catholic group,” said Kucia. This led her on the road to using her business skills to help build the Catholic Church.

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan presents Eric and Sharon Kucia with Legatus’ AMBY Award on June 30, 2016, for founding the Charlotte Chapter of Legatus

Kucia joined Legatus’ Savannah Chapter in 2013 and helped found the Charlotte Chapter in 2016, where she served as founding president.

Today, Kucia works for another consulting firm — The Pelican Group — which only works with Catholic organizations. She serves as executive vice president and president of the company’s Mission Advancement Services division.

“The Pelican Group is a specialty services firm dedicated to helping Catholic organizations optimize the acquisition and stewardship of their financial resources,” she explained. “The Mission Advancement Services division is responsible for conducting capital campaigns and major gift initiatives — as well as providing development counsel for dioceses, schools, parishes, and other Catholic organizations. Typically, with any client we help solve a problem, not necessarily sell a service.

“For some groups, we just help them with fundraising. With others, we help them manage their funds. We help dioceses restructure their school systems. With a lot of dioceses, we help them with long-term solutions.”

For example, Kucia recently worked with an archdiocese to raise $123 million for various projects.

“They wanted to raise money primarily for parishes and education,” she explained. “They were in the middle of closing and merging parishes.

Kucia said she loves that she is able to use her business skills to help build the Church.

“All of our people have managerial and development experience — and they have a heart for the Church,” she said. “Our people bring the knowledge and skill set that typically complement the existing staff of the organization. I am truly blessed to work with the Church. Every day we start our meetings with prayer. I really can integrate my faith and my work.”

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

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Intimate Graces

tomeoIntimate Graces
Teresa Tomeo, Dominick Pastore
Ave Maria Press, 2015
160 pages, paperback $13.95

With the Year of Mercy just around the corner, the husband-and-wife team of Tomeo and Pastore invite couples to enrich their marriages by practicing the 14 spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Tomeo and Pastore, members of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter, demonstrate how reciprocating the works of mercy brings out the best in a marriage.

The couple writes in their own voice and includes reflection questions, practical suggestions, and a prayer at the end of each chapter. Subtitled How Practicing the Works of Mercy Brings Out the Best in Marriage, the book is perfect for couples to read together.

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Walk Softly

TomeoWalk Softly
Teresa Tomeo
Servant Books, 2015
224 pages, $15.99 paperback

No matter how busy or complicated life becomes, God can be found in the details of the day. In this lighthearted yet realistic look at the ups and downs of daily life, Teresa Tomeo — a member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter — provides daily reflections to soothe the souls of Christian women everywhere.

The book’s full title explains its premise well: Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions. Tomeo’s wisdom and humor shows you how to experience God’s presence in the most ordinary moments. Her witty new book is the perfect summertime read for the ladies of Legatus.

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God’s Bucket List

Legate Teresa Tomeo says God wants us to be happy, but he also wants us to be holy . . .

tomeoGod’s Bucket List
Teresa Tomeo
Image Books, 2013
176 pages, $17.99 hardcover

Scripture says only God knows the desires of our hearts. After all, He placed them there to lead us to His will, writes Tomeo, a member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter. So why is it so challenging to figure out if we’re on the right track?

Subtitled Heaven’s Surefire Way to Happiness in This Life and Beyond, the book examines what God wants for each of us: mercy, fruitfulness, fellowship, and peace, just to name a few. She explains what the faith teaches about these gifts and how we can check off the items on that heavenly list.

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Catholic View for Women

Legates bring the New Evangelization to television with a worldwide audience . . .

The Catholic View For Women’s hosts: Janet Morana, Astrid Bennett Gutierrez and Teresa Tomeo

The Catholic View For Women’s hosts: Janet Morana, Astrid Bennett, Gutierrez and Teresa Tomeo

During the recent conclave, a number of mainstream journalists questioned the role of women in the Catholic Church. They angrily asked why women couldn’t be priests and why they weren’t in “leadership” roles.

Informed and inspired

For the last two years, EWTN has provided an answer to these questions — and to some outright misconceptions — through the weekly program The Catholic View for Women.

Hosted by three Catholic female leaders — two of them Legates — the show explores a range of issues specific to women. Topics include: radical feminism vs. new feminism, contraception, women leaders in the Church past and present, and pornography and its effects on women. The hosts speak about living single and challenges facing those who are divorced or separated. And they speak from experience: One of the hosts is single, another separated and another happily married. Their conversation is intelligent, informative, professional, fun — and unlike other similar-format television shows — civil.

“I got the idea about doing this show after meeting Teresa Tomeo in 2005 at the Catholic Radio Cruise,” said Janet Morana, a member of Legatus’ Northern New Jersey Chapter and executive director of Priests for Life. “Teresa and I started doing a radio show together every week after that, and then I thought, ‘Why don’t we do a good and wholesome TV show about women that could be an alternative to ABC’s The View, which is garbage.”

The Catholic View for Women debuted in March 2011. All three of the show’s hosts, it should be noted, were once far from the Catholic Church. All of them can relate to confused Catholics — and non-Catholics — when it comes to the “hard” issues: divorce, an all-male priesthood, abortion and contraception.

“I never had a problem with an all-male priesthood. My thing was abortion and contraception,” said Tomeo, a member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter. “Again, I was on the surface. I was a hard-nosed journalist who had never cracked a Church document. Then I had a crisis in my marriage and lost my job. It was then that I realized my life had been built on sand.”

Tomeo’s husband Dominick Pastore came back to the Church and she eventually followed. Since 2000, Tomeo has hosted Catholic Connection, a daily morning radio program. She is an author, motivational speaker and columnist.

Coming home

“I was raised in pre-Vatican II,” Morana explained. “When I reached high school, I left the Church. I felt that women had the right to take the Pill. And the infallibility of the Pope? Why could he tell people what to do? I started skipping Mass and only went to Church for Easter and Christmas.”

After Morana got married and had children, she and her husband moved into a two-family house with her in-laws. Her mother-in-law went to daily Mass and began taking Morana’s children along. One day, Morana went to church — begrudgingly — to light a candle after having been hired during a difficult employment time in New York City.

Her eight-year-old saw her and introduced her to a young Fr. Frank Pavone, saying, “This is my mom, who won’t go to Confession.” Father Pavone wrote down his phone number and told Morana to call him.

“That phone number stayed in my purse for weeks,” Morana said. “Then I found it and finally called him. We met and I told him all my problems with the Church. He listened and then told me, ‘You’re an intelligent woman. You like to read and study. Tell you what: I’m going to give you a document. You read it and we can talk about it.’ He gave me Humanae Vitae.”

Within a few months, Morana had her first Confession in years and began attending Mass regularly. Through her subsequent ministries, she has become one of the most notable Catholic female leaders in the country, recently writing a new book, Recall Abortion.

Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, executive director of Los Angeles Pregnancy Services and vice president of Hispanics for Life and Human Rights, also went through a period of questioning and disbelief.

“I was poorly catechized,” she explained. “I went through 13 years of Catholic school and never once learned about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. My parents separated and I stopped believing in a loving God.”

Gutierrez went to UCLA where she met a group of faithful Catholics who taught her about the faith and Who the Eucharist really is.

Social impact

EWTN reaches 100 million households around the world. Since The Catholic View for Women debuted two years ago, the show has made an impact on men and women from every continent.

“I have received emails from Catholic women in Nigeria, Australia and England,” Tomeo said. “We also have an impact on Protestant women who send us letters. The show makes Church teachings real for women.”

One of the program’s unique features is that the hosts give viewers “homework” at the end of every show: discussion questions and papal documents to read. All assigned readings can be downloaded from the show’s website —TheCatholicViewForWomen.com.

Viewers have also formed Catholic View For Women study groups. They use resources on the show’s website to fuel their discussions, including the ability to watch previous episodes online.

“We have done shows on women leaders in the Vatican — both past and present,” Tomeo explained. “We interviewed Dr. Flaminia Giovanelli, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. She is the number two person in this very important dicastery and has been working in the Vatican for 25 years.”

In 2008, Tomeo took part in the international Vatican Women’s Congress and was one of only 270 delegates. She is well acquainted with scores of women who work throughout the Vatican as leaders in their respective fields — as well as Catholic female leaders around the world.

Future topics the show plans to tackle include the contribution of Latinas to the U.S. church and the spiritual values of immigrants. Both of these issues are close to Gutierrez’s heart.

“Our dream is to get this show on the road,” said Morana. “Just like the show Crossing the Goal does men’s conferences, we would like to do women’s conferences.”

If anything, the conclave that elected Pope Francis highlighted an increasing aggressiveness towards the Church — in particular with regard to the all-male priesthood. The Catholic View for Women celebrates Catholicism’s treatment of women — and it explains why. Though this seems counter-cultural, it’s completely natural for well-formed Catholics.

“I once had a TV anchor say to me, ‘Women should be allowed to speak from the pulpit.’ Well I reach more people than the average priest does from his pulpit,” said Tomeo. “I reach people across the U.S. with my radio show — and we reach millions with our TV show. We have to challenge people when they say these things, because they are not reality. We have to keep encouraging people to read Church documents and see how the Church’s teachings are true.”

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

Wrapped Up

Teresa Tomeo and Cheryl Dickow delivers honest, straightforward advice for women . . .

Wrapped Up
Servant Books, 2012
144 pages, $15.95 paperback

Broadcaster Teresa Tomeo, a member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter, delivers a superb book subtitled God’s Ten Gifts for Women. Writing with Dickow, she offers a healthy alternative to the false messages in our culture. Chapters focus on various gifts women are meant to discover, ultimately leading to fulfillment.

Dickow draws from her knowledge of Old Testament women to unveil life lessons, and Tomeo uses her media expertise to reveal how to counter the cultural messages that inundate women today.

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Extreme Makeover

Legate Teresa Tomeo’s book challenges the culture over its distortion of women . . . 

Extreme Makeover
Ignatius Press, 2011. 211 pages, $21.95 hardcover

In her latest book, Catholic radio host Teresa Tomeo shows that the self-image of American women is being distorted by pop culture. With its emphasis on youth, physical beauty and sexuality, the secular media encourages women — and girls — to see themselves primarily as sex objects. A member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter, Tomeo’s research and analysis helps women shed the toxic messages that objectify and enslave them to embrace the truth about being a beloved daughter of God.

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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.

Newsflash! My surprising journey …

Legate Teresa Tomeo’s brilliant autobiography and insights into media culture  . . .

newsflashNewsflash! My surprising journey from secular anchor to media evangelist
Bezalel Books, 2008. 172 pages, $14.99 paperback)

Newsflash! is a riveting account of Tomeo’s journey from fallenaway Catholic on the brink of divorce to someone who inspires millions via her satellite radio program and acclaimed writings. She describes how she went from the junk food of the secular media back to the table of the Lord, the Eucharist.

Tomeo writes how the Lord turned her misplaced priorities into a meaningful map for life’s journey towards eternity. She shares a message of great hope and inspiration.

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