by Reagan Scott
LINCOLN (SNR) — The Lincoln Legatus chapter, the 48th in the organization, was chartered June 21, 2005. Today, Legatus is comprised of more than 80 chapters across the United States and Canada, with more in development.
Members of Legatus are considered “Ambassadors for Christ in the Marketplace,” and today, the organization is comprised of over 5,000 Catholic business leaders and their spouses. These members have committed themselves to “study, live and spread the Catholic faith in their business and personal lives.”
The Lincoln chapter consists of 76 members from Lincoln and the surrounding area; most of them couples. Members represent diverse industries such as law, banking and agriculture.
Tom O’Connell, CEO of Snyder Industries, Inc. and a charter member of the organization said, “I love the combination of joining our Catholic faith with solving the real-world issues in the business world. Plus, the ability to learn from others how they have solved problems.”
Legatus’s monthly meetings are seen as date nights for the members and their spouses, and are opportunities for them to grow in faith together.
Each meeting begins at the John XXIII Diocesan Center in Lincoln, with confession and a rosary followed by Mass. Celebrated by the group’s chaplain, Msgr. Liam Barr, the homily of each Mass is tailored to the members.
The rest of the meeting is held at the Country Club of Lincoln where attendees enjoy a reception and dinner, followed by engaging speakers, many of whom are nationally, or even internationally, recognized. Past speakers include Scott Hahn, George Weigel, Raymond Arroyo, Father Mike Schmitz, Dr. Ray Guarendi and Tom Osborne.
Sue Mach, the chapter administrator for Legatus said the meetings are formative.
“These meetings allow members to celebrate the sacraments and attend an event that helps them in their faith,” she said.
Mach also noted that these meetings allow members, “spiritual and ethical leaders in their own businesses,” to network with one another to meet other Catholics who are working to implement and keep ethical practices in their businesses.
John Woodrich, COO of Bryan Medical Center and member of St. Peter Parish in Lincoln, is proud to serve as the current president of the Lincoln Chapter.
“Our leaders play such a vital role in spreading the faith and sharing the importance of the family with everyone we come into contact with in our daily lives,” he said.
“I believe we are instrumental in showing others how faith and prayer are necessary in our lives. We stand strong in our faith and demonstrate how much God can and does impact our lives through our surrender to him.”
Msgr. Liam Barr was instrumental in the chapter’s founding in 2005 and served as its chaplain since then. The Lincoln chapter benefitted greatly from Msgr. Barr’s recruitment of new members, and he even received the Legatus “AMBY” award, celebrating the Legatus Ambassadors’ highest achievements. In this case, Msgr. Barr won this award for being a chapter founder.
Following Msgr. Barr’s retirement next month, Father James Meysenburg will take over the position of chaplain.
If it weren’t for the work of Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University, Legatus would not exist in the first place. A devout Catholic, Monaghan was inspired to create an organization offering opportunities for spiritual and business support for members after he met Saint Pope John Paul II in 1987.
Today, it is apparent that Monaghan’s work has paid off, both in Lincoln and in the organization as a whole, as these influential Catholics work to make a difference in their cities.
Chris Kidwell, CEO of Kidwell, Inc. is a charter member of Legatus. He noted that Legatus is a “great place to combine friends, business and Christ.”