Fort Worth Legatus celebrates 15 years of serving as Christ’s ambassadors to the business world
FORT WORTH — The sole purpose of Legatus is straightforward, Legatus International President Stephen Henley said.
“It’s to help CEOs and presidents of companies study, live, and spread the Catholic faith in their personal, business, and professional lives,” Henley said. “It’s to help them become better Catholics and live that in all aspects of their lives.”
Henley joined about 70 members of the Fort Worth Chapter of Legatus on May 12 to celebrate the organization’s 15th year in the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Domino’s Pizza co-founder Tom Monaghan started Legatus 35 years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“It’s the parable of the talents basically,” Henley said. “To whom much has been given, much is expected, and [Monaghan] saw that. He sold his share of Domino’s for over a billion dollars. Was at the peak of his career but realized that was worth nothing if he’s not getting to heaven and taking as many as possible with him.”
Pope St. John Paul II, in a 1988 address to Legatus members, noted the need for genuine witness to Christian ethics in the business world.
“The Church asks you to fill this role publicly with courage and perseverance,” Pope St. John Paul II said.
Closer to home, Diocese of Fort Worth parishioners Bill Quinn, Bill Petrelli, and others approached then Bishop Kevin Vann in 2007 about establishing a local chapter.
“He embraced it very quickly,” Quinn said.
Chapter members meet monthly for a Rosary and Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral followed by dinner and a speaker at the Fort Worth Club.
It’s about connection and deepening one’s faith, past Fort Worth Chapter President Ed Gray said.
“You meet a large number of people from other parishes that you wouldn’t otherwise,” Gray said. “Also, most [Catholics] go to church on Sunday and that’s the only time they do anything about their faith. You go to work and try to keep it out of there. So [the purpose of] Legatus is to say businesspeople should also live their faith while at work. You don’t need to convert everybody, but you need to live your faith genuinely.”
The speakers, who cover a variety of topics, as well as other Legatus activities have inspired him to delve deeper and examine his faith more closely, Gray said.
Quinn joked that the friendships forged and support given and received feel like having a “personal board of directors.”
Father Stephen Hauck praised Legatus’ contributions to the diocese during his homily.
“How beautiful a gift to be celebrating the 15th anniversary as ambassadors into our business community,” Fr. Hauck said. “We are reminded that the Lord did not give a mission to His Church, He gave a church to His mission. We are the Church because we do His work. We go into the world, and that is worth celebrating.”
Father Jonathan Wallis, past chapter chaplain, agreed.
“Legatus helps members stay mindful of their faith within the context of their following Jesus Christ within the Catholic Church,” said Fr. Wallis, who is also vicar general for the Diocese of Fort Worth. “To, in their own way, evangelize to bring others closer to Jesus Christ through their actions and decisions.”
Longtime chapter member David Schwarte spoke of the “broadening experience” Legatus participation brings.
“Before [Legatus], I really only knew the good Catholics of [Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Arlington],” Schwarte said. “Now I know them from all over the diocese.”
Craig Henry, who helped establish a chapter in Louisiana, delivered the night’s keynote. Henry relayed how Legatus positively impacted his own faith journey and the need for carrying faith into a world growing more and more secularized.
“Through Legatus we make a commitment to be ambassadors for Christ,” Henry said. “That gives us the knowledge and tools to be strong in today’s world, and that’s needed more than ever now.”