Tag Archives: tom monaghan

St. Joseph, our spiritual father

It is a longstanding tradition of the Church to dedicate the month of March in honor of St. Joseph. This makes sense since the Solemnity of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19. As I prepared to write this article for the March issue, it became evident that my topic should be St. Joseph. Let me explain.

Tom Monaghan

As you may know from past columns, I spent six and half years as a young boy in an orphanage in Jackson, Michigan, and the name of that orphanage was St. Joseph’s Home for Boys. It was run by the Felician sisters, which is an order that came over from Poland in the late 1800s and primarily (or at least initially) ministered to Polish Americans. In keeping with the traditions of Polish Catholics, they had a deep devotion to St. Joseph. For example, St. Joseph’s solemnity, which is the patronal feast day of Poland, was celebrated in a special way at the orphanage. In addition, all the boys in the orphanage took the name Joseph as their confirmation name. So from a very young age, I understood that he was a very important saint, and yet I did not know much about him and never fully appreciated him…until recently.

Just before Christmas, I had dinner with Chris Ice, who is the new president of Ave Maria University, and his wife, Mary. It was a tremendous evening, and I continue to be impressed by both of them. As a Christmas gift, Chris sent me a book that was hot off the press by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC, called Consecration to St. Joseph, The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. As the title implies, it contains a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph, which I promptly began after the first of the year and just recently completed on February 3 shortly before writing this column.

Soon after starting this book and consecration, I was struck by the power and importance of this amazing saint, who I had always wanted to know more about. In addition to the day-by-day consecration prayers and readings, this book is an amazing summary of the Church’s teachings on St. Joseph; from what many of the great Saints have said about him to the teachings of popes throughout the ages. Among his many titles, St. Joseph is hailed as the Patron Saint of the Universal Church and of Workers! I thought, this is perfect for Legates and for the month of March. I cannot begin to do justice to this book by Fr. Calloway, so I simply encourage you to read it. It is a great book for Lent or anytime for that matter. St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church…Pray for us!

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

The power of encouragement

Sometimes all we need is the encouragement of just one person … for someone else to believe in us, to give us the confidence and motivation to believe in ourselves.

As many of you know, my dad died when I was four years old, and my mother was not in a

Tom Monaghan

position to raise my younger brother and me. So after living with a couple of different foster families, when I was in the first grade we were sent to St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, a Catholic orphanage run by the Felician sisters in Jackson, Michigan. I spent six and a half years in the orphanage. While I did not feel like I belonged there and resented much of what I had to endure, I am forever grateful for receiving a firm foundation in my Catholic faith… as well as the love and encouragement of Sister Berarda.

The first two grades of school were taught in the orphanage, and my schooling there began on a high note, thanks to the inspiration of a gentle, loving teacher, Sister Berarda. She in many ways became my surrogate mother, and I flourished under her love and care. She always encouraged me, even when my ideas seemed farfetched. I remember telling the class that when I grew up I wanted to be a priest, an architect, and shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. The other kids all laughed and said that was impossible, and that I could not do all three. Sister Berarda simply quieted them down and said, “Well, I don’t think it’s ever been done before, Tommy, but if you want to do it, there’s no reason you can’t.” That was inspiring to me and gave me confidence to believe in myself.

I think we can all look back over our lives, and point to someone specifically (or maybe to several people) who believed in us… and their encouragement and faith in us helped us to rise above a specific challenge or get through a particularly challenging time. This may have been a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, or mentor in the business world. The important thing is that they expressed to us, through their words of encouragement, that they believed in us and their encouragement propelled us forward and gave us confidence to believe in ourselves or in some cases, we kept going because we did not want to let that person down.

As we begin this new year, let me challenge you to be that source of encouragement to people in your life. Due to your success in business, you have a platform that in many ways amplifies your influence. I can assure you that if you speak words of encouragement to those around you, it will bear much fruit.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO

Mary and my brace of Saints

All my life, I had the custom of writing JMJ on the top of every piece of paper I wrote on. This was a common practice in my day. I remember Bishop Fulton Sheen used to do it on the top of his chalk board on his TV show. Jesus, Mary and Joseph are certainly the three people most central to salvation history. Jesus, of course, as the second person of the Trinity is not only man, but is God. Mary, who is the Mother of God, has long been venerated as the Queen of the Angles and Saints; and St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, among many other titles, is honored as the Patron of the Universal Church.

Tom Monaghan

Over time, I have added four more saints to the list. First, my patron saint, St. Thomas the Apostle. Then, being Irish, I invoke St. Patrick’s intercession; without him, I probably would not be Catholic, nor most of us who are of European descent. It is said that he was blessed with the same power as the Apostles to work miracles, even raising the dead. Recently, after learning about St. Rita of Cascia, the patron saint of the impossible, I added her to my list. Countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession. And finally is St. Sharbel, whom I learned about from the Maronite monks who serve our chapel community at Domino’s Farms. (They celebrate four Masses daily and hear about 500 confessions weekly.) St. Sharbel is the patron saint of the Maronites, and is referred to as one of the greatest saints of our time.

I am not aware of any saints who are responsible for more miracles than Saints Patrick, Rita, and Sharbel. Bing Crosby used to refer to the Mills Brothers as a “brace” of guys. I liked the sound of that and adopted it to describe my short litany of saints. I ask for the intercession of Mary and my brace of saints every time I pick up a sheet of paper to write on. I also ask for their intercession every day after I receive Communion, as I pray for humility, charity, and for whatever other intentions I have at the time.

As we start the month of November with the Feast of All Saints, I thought I would share my personal devotion to Mary, and my brace of saints. The Church encourages us to develop relationships with saints – whether it be those who share our baptismal or confirmation name or those who we have just a special devotion to. So, during this month, maybe think about coming up with your own personal litany of saints.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

The high stakes of Catholic education

Our mission is to study, live and spread the Catholic faith. Each year, the September issue of our magazine is dedicated to Catholic education… not only because September marks the beginning of another academic year, but also because this is a topic of critical importance to the Church. It is of course the mission of our Catholic schools to provide an environment where the truths of the Church (along with the array of other academic disciplines) are faithfully taught to the next generation. Thus we see a very practical means of our promoting the studying and spreading of our Catholic faith.

Tom Monaghan

Along with the expansion of Legatus, this area of Catholic education has been where I have felt called to devote the vast majority of my time and resources since selling Domino’s Pizza more than 20 years ago. We all know that if you want to impact future generations, the battleground is in our schools. I was blessed to receive a faithful Catholic education when I was in grade school; it was a firm foundation for which I am very grateful. While I did not always live my faith the way I should have, the gift of this Catholic education served me as an unwavering guide.

As my time and resources permitted, it was natural that Catholic education became an area of focus. I started by getting involved in the local Catholic high school, and later built a series of private Catholic grade schools. During this time, I received a crash course regarding some of the struggles going on in Catholic education from a well-respected Catholic who was a good friend. For example, I had never heard of the 1967 Land O’ Lakes Conference or the statement issued by these leaders of Catholic universities from across the country. Obviously, this conference did not take place in a vacuum and was in a sense a sign of the turbulent time the Church and our society was going through in the ‘60s. With that said, this conference in many ways opened the doors for secular influences to creep into Catholic universities and a move away from the Church in the name of academic freedom and secular prestige. 

Thankfully, in 1990 Pope St. John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution for Catholic universities, finally began a renewal of Catholic identity in some Catholic universities. Almost 30 years later, we continue to wrestle with this issue, not only in our universities, but also in our Catholic schools at every level. So, as this new school year begins, I encourage you to pray for our Catholic schools and ask the Lord if there is anything He wants you to do to help them to be places where our future generations are formed according to the Truth.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Answering THE question

A note from the chairman: As I was thinking about a topic for this month’s column, the topic of sanctifying grace kept coming to me. We looked through the files to see if I had written about this and it was among the very first columns I wrote. Because some things bear repeating, we decided to run it again.

Tom Monaghan

Far be it for me to talk about people’s spiritual lives. I am not a theologian and I am much too imperfect myself to be preaching. However, it has always seemed amazing to me that we (or at least I) hear very little about sanctifying grace.

When I was in the ninth grade, Sr. Andrea asked the class, “How do you get to heaven?” I did not raise my hand very often in class and I did not this time. Many others did. One after another, they gave the wrong answer. For example, “by practicing faith, hope, and charity,” “by obeying the 10 Commandments,” “by loving God and others,” and so on.

Sister’s response was, “No, that’s not what I’m looking for.”

So I finally raised my hand, being very surprised that nobody in the class knew the answer. I suppose since I did not raise my hand that often, Sister promptly acknowledged me and I blurted out my answer.

“To die in the state of sanctifying grace.”

“Right,” she said, “that’s the answer.”

Today the answer is still the same. The Church’s teaching on sanctifying grace has not changed. We are business men and women, generally practical people, wanting to get to the bottom line and be successful, so here’s a bottom-line truth that we can be sure of.

Someone once said there is only one catastrophe in life and that is to lose one’s soul – to go to hell. Everything else is relatively unimportant. Why, on the most important question in life, did not the kids in my class know the answer? I suspect many Catholics today do not know it, either.

That is why regular Confession is so important. Chesterton said he became Catholic to get rid of his sins. That is what Confession (or Reconciliation) does. That is why, as a Legatus policy, we have Reconciliation available at the monthly chapter meetings.

The Holy Father urges Catholics to go to Confession at least once a month. Legatus makes that very convenient for us. Obviously, it has to be a good Confession. As we learned long ago, there are five requirements for a good Confession: 1. Examination of conscience (preparation); 2. Sorrow for sin; 3. Confessing all unconfessed mortal sins; 4. Fulfilling your penance (reparation); 5. Firm purpose of amendment. It’s a small price to pay for winning the big prize: eternal happiness in heaven, the difference between being spiritually alive or dead.

There are many ways to enrich one’s spiritual life, but the place to start is getting into the state of sanctifying grace and staying there.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Knowing and spreading your faith

As I have shared in past columns, I enjoy reading books. Every now and then, I come across a special one. Recently, I came across such a book. I was getting ready to go on vacation, so I stopped by the Catholic bookstore next to our chapel to find something for the trip. The title of a book on display caught my Attention: Forty Anti-Catholic Lies, A Myth-busting Apologist Sets the Record Straight, by Gerard Verschuuren, Ph.D.

Tom Monaghan

After a couple of chapters, I knew it was going to be a great book, and on finishing it I think it is a book every Catholic should read. It is very clear and well written, packed full of useful and interesting information, and it is understandable for a layman like myself.

As I read each chapter, I was impressed by the author’s knack for taking complex topics and explaining them in a clear and non-threatening fashion. When I travel, I try and strike up conversations with those I sit next to and after listening to how they are doing or letting them talk about their interests, I try and bring up something about faith. If they seem open, I will sometimes ask if I can mail them a book. Most of the time, they are open to the gesture. I think this book will work well for this type of evangelization, which I believe comes across as non-threatening because they get to read the book in the privacy of their own home. There are many former Catholics who have stopped practicing their faith and just need a little nudge to come back to the Church.

I am excited because I also believe this book will help Catholics who want to better understand their faith or to assist those who regularly experience anti-Catholic rhetoric being thrown their way. Another reason I think this book is well suited for ministry in the skies (the abovementioned practice of sharing one’s faith while flying) is because while Verschuuren presents the uncompromising truth about what the Church teaches, he does so in charity. I believe this will go a long way in not alienating non-Catholic readers because I do not think they will feel attacked.

To give you a flavor of some of the topics addressed, this book set the record straight regarding accusations about the Catholic Church ranging from the Church being oppressive to women to rejecting science… And accusations that Catholics worship statues and Mary to the Church inventing purgatory and many other commonly misunderstood subjects.

I will be giving copies to all the members of the board of governors at our meeting later this month, and I have already ordered plenty of copies to have on hand in my office to give away… all a part of studying, living, and spreading the Faith!

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CE

The state of our soul

I am writing this column on the heels of a very powerful State of the Union address by the president and the season of Lent soon to be upon us. It struck me that in a sense Lent is the spiritual equivalent of the State of the Union address for each of us and the state of our soul. In business, we are accustomed to preparing elaborate annual reports for our shareholders or our banks as a way of showing the health of our company or organization. In her preeminent wisdom, the Church has built into the liturgical year this time for us to examine how we are doing in our spiritual lives.

Tom Monaghan

I have told the story innumerable times of how as a young man, I came up with a set of priorities to help me sort out how I wanted to live my life… I called these my five personal priorities. I first came up with the list when I was a Marine, during a voyage from the Philippines to Japan… as I had plenty of time aboard the ship to reflect on my life and goals. These five priorities are: spiritual, social, mental, physical, and financial. As I look back, approximately 60 years since setting those priorities, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of keeping the spiritual priority at the top of the list.

So, let me encourage you to take this season of Lent and examine how you are living your priorities. It is very easy for us to simply go through the motions and do what we have always done for Lent… Instead, I suggest that each of us take this season as a time to assess how we are really doing in living the priorities we have set for our lives. And let us approach this season with the same vigor and dedication with which the president prepares his State of the Union address or we prepare the annual reports for our companies… because when all is said and done, the only thing that really matters is the state of our souls and souls of those Christ has placed in our lives.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Tres Magna

As we begin this new year, the theme of the magazine is Renewed Purpose. I am asking you to resist the temptation of simply chalking this up as another New Year’s resolution topic that is convenient because it is that time of year. Indeed, I believe the topic of this column, Tres Magna, is extremely important to each member of Legatus.

Tom Monaghan

We are all aware of our mission as an organization to study, live, and spread the Catholic faith. However, as we go beneath the surface and engage what this really means, it is about growing in personal sanctity, which is no surprise to any of us because that is the goal of every Catholic.

So what is Tres Magna? This is Latin for Big Three. Some of you will remember in March 2017 my column was entitled The Big 3 of the Spiritual Life, and I challenged you at that time to attend daily Mass, pray the rosary every day, and go to Confession monthly!

My conviction of the importance of each of these has only continued to grow! About a year and a half ago, when the International Board of Governors met in Los Angeles, our ecclesiastical advisor, Archbishop Gomez, said (and I am paraphrasing here), I see Legatus being like a lay religious order. That statement really resonated with me and put into words the sense of purpose, focus, and vocation to which I, too, believe Legatus is being drawn. This call is not complicated nor is it anything new to the church And for me Tres Magna helps to make this call, this practice very specific.

We are all aware that the Mass is the highest form of prayer (or member of Legatus. worship), and while daily Mass certainly is not mandatory, as Vatican II says, it is the source and summit of our faith…In terms of the rosary, not only have popes throughout the ages called us to this devotional practice, but in Church-approved apparitions from Lourdes to Fatima, Our Lady consistently exhorts (dare I say, begs) the faithful to pray the rosary daily. And finally, monthly Confession. This is a part of the First Saturday devotion that I wrote about in my last column, and which has been built into every monthly chapter meeting.

Each of us is keenly aware of the current crisis in the Church and the challenges that loom before us. If we ever had a doubt as to why we exist as an organization, I believe it is for such a time as this. So, I encourage you in the strongest way I know to COMMIT to Tres Magna! Do not let it be something you just try, but resolve to do it and encourage your fellow members.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Five First Saturdays

Last year the church celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Marian apparitions to three young children at Fatima. Most Catholics are familiar with Our Lady of Fatima, have seen this image, and know that these apparitions have been approved by the Church. However, somewhat less well known is that when Mary appeared to the children, she asked them (and us) to do several specific things, and she promised if we (Catholics) observed her requests, there would be peace in the world. I want to share about one of her specific requests — making Five First Saturdays — that Mary asked of the Church during these apparitions.

The First Saturday devotion is separate from the First Friday devotion, although they are often confused. Many Catholics are not familiar with making the First Five Saturdays – In Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but it continues to be important today. As mentioned above, this devotion is in response to our Lady of Fatima’s request to make reparation to her Immaculate Heart, performed with the intention of reparation for blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart for at least five consecutive Saturdays.

There are many pamphlets (and even on-line resources) available that explain in detail the history and specifics of this devotion. However, the four elements that Mary requested are straightforward; they are (1) reception of Communion, (2) Confession (on or shortly before or after the First Saturday), (3) recitation of the five-decade rosary, and (4) mediating for 15 minutes on one or more of the mysteries of the rosary — for five consecutive first Saturdays.

Let me conclude with a quote from Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, who is a modern-day champion of the rosary and Marian devotion. He wrote, “I highly recommend it (making the Five First Saturdays) as a great spiritual practice! Get a monthly tune-up with Confession, Mass, Communion and immersing yourself in the Mysteries of the Rosary, all offered in reparation for the many serious offenses committed against Our Lady. Make the First Saturdays throughout your life for love of Our Lady and reap huge spiritual rewards.”

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman, and CEO.

Two friends dearly missed

As we complete the 30th anniversary of Legatus, 1987 – 2017, I take this opportunity to reflect on the lives of two great men and great Legates who recently passed from this life. Francis (Fran) Sehn, member of the Detroit Chapter, passed away at age 99 on October 29; and William (Bill) McIntyre, member of the Genesis Chapter, passed at age 81 on November 6. Coincidentally (or maybe not), their funerals were celebrated on the same day at the same hour… Saturday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Tom Monaghan

Both of these men were close friends of mine, whom I admired and respected greatly. They were also both champions of Legatus. Fran and Bill were not only active in their respective chapters, but each of them did much to advance the mission and reputation of Legatus. Bill and his wife, Susan, were original charter members of the Genesis Chapter. In addition to serving as chapter president, Bill also served as Legatus’ vice chairman of the board of governors. Meanwhile, during our early years as an organization, as we endeavored to charter a chapter in Detroit, Cardinal Szoka wanted to know more about this new organization of Catholic CEOs before he gave it his blessing, so he sent a trusted confidante to check it out. The Cardinal sent Fran to find out more about Legatus and what we were all about; not only did Fran come back with a positive report, but he and his wife Celestine (“Sel”) would soon join the Detroit Chapter.

While Fran and Bill were very different, they had some striking similarities. They were both extremely successful in their respective professional fields, but they were also profoundly humble. They both were good listeners who were interested in others and what they could learn. Each was very involved in his local parish, archdiocese and community. And while they were pioneers in the business world, it was faith and family that comprised the true center of their lives.

Bill was buried with his Legatus lapel pin on and a Legatus runner draped over his casket, and as I read their respective obituaries, I found it humbling but telling that Legatus was mentioned in both. I believe these are not only a testament to their commitment to Legatus, but also a sign of the deep and meaningful relationships they had with their fellow members.

Personally, I am very grateful for the friendship of these two men; they will be missed. I am also grateful for their contributions to Legatus.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.