When military veteran Scott Fleckenstein founded his company, he felt a need to connect with other Catholic business leaders. He wanted to interact with other professionals who were facing the same challenges posed by secular society.
Fleckenstein’s search led him to the Phoenix-based chapter of Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders.
Legatus is the Latin word for ambassador. Acting as Ambassors for Christ, Legatus is the only organization in the world designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business leaders and their spouses. The organization offers a unique support network of like-minded Catholics with varying interests and diverse talents who all share one overriding goal: to become better Catholics and, in turn, positively impact their business and personal lives. This objective is fulfilled with a single event held each month.
For more information and membership details and qualifications, please visit the Legatus website at www.Legatus.org. The Phoenix Legatus Chapter will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2014. For local membership information, please contact Maureen Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After meeting Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1987, Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan was inspired to form Legatus as a powerful dynamic to bring together Catholic CEOs and presidents and their spouses and combine faith, family and business in one package.
“The world needs genuine witnesses to Christian ethics in the field of business and the Church,” John Paul II said. Legatus strives to fulfill this role publically with perseverance in faith.
“The values espoused by Legatus are faith, family, formation, commitment and leadership,” said Phoenix chapter vice-president Maureen Adams. “The world needs leadership, and it is Legatus’ mission to bring that leadership to our communities, using our Catholic faith as the foundation to do so.”
The Phoenix chapter formed 10 years ago by six couples who began meeting at each other’s homes for dinner and a speaker presentation. The chapter has grown to 22 couples, including seven new couples welcomed in an Investiture Ceremony following a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted on Dec. 4.
Scott and Nicole Fleckenstein are among the newly invested members. Their company deals with employee health insurance and writes group health insurance plans.
“There are challenges that people hear about with ‘Obamacare versus the Catholic Church,’” Scott said. “I wanted to be able to connect with other Catholics that are facing the same challenges and see what solutions they have in dealing with the issues.”
“We also simply want to spread our faith where we work and live — to be true good disciples,” Nicole Fleckenstein said.
Legatus’ mission is to bring like-minded Catholic business leaders together in prayer to support one another — in trials and triumphs. Through membership in Legatus, new friendships and business relationships are formed.
Meetings begin with the rosary, at which time the Sacrament of Reconciliation is made available to members. Following the celebration of Mass, the group adjourns for dinner and enlightening speakers.
“My life has been so enriched by the affiliations made with Catholic business leaders who are both bold and courageous in their faith and in the public square,” said Adams, a Legatus member with her husband, Phil, since 2006. “These are people with great integrity and an internal peacefulness because of the prayerfulness of their lives.”
Bishop Olmsted, lauds he work of Legatus. “In the 10 years that I’ve been here what I am most grateful for and what I see happening through the Holy Spirit, is the growth of lay leadership,” he said.
“I share the deep conviction of John Paul II that the Church will only be able to fulfill its mission when there are lay professionals who are well-informed in their faith, living it, and expert at what they do,” he said. “This is what Legatus is about — helping you live a healthy life, loving your spouse, fulfilling your mission and continuing to grow in understanding and witness to the Catholic faith.”
Henry Capello, newly invested in Legatus with his wife, Sabina, noted that Legatus means ambassador.
“Pope Francis states that the Church needs to be a missionary Church,” he said. “And we must do it intentionally to the periphery; the poor, the wounded, those far away from the Church.”
Legatus members are committed, successful and live as ambassadors, bringing the Gospel to other people.
“I am very convinced that reaching the top businessmen, the CEOs of companies, is key to reaching thousands of others. It is the surest and easiest way, from the top down, rather than from the bottom up,” Capello said.
The investiture ceremony also welcomed John and Barb Burgess, Paul and Claudia Critchfield, William and Jinan O’Connell, Kim and Martin Ruggiero and Andy and Kerry Welch into the Phoenix chapter.
Following the investiture ceremony, the group adjourned to the Ritz Carlton for their December holiday meeting. Catholic composer and piano virtuoso Eric Genuis performed a set of original compositions accompanied by very talented soloists.
Genuis’ mission is to use beautiful music to uplift a person’s heart, mind and soul in a way only beauty can — to transform the person and transform society. He urged members of Legatus to be the “they” people talk about when it is said, “They should do something about it” — to be bringers of hope through beauty.
“Just in our first night we met a lot of good Catholics who are involved in their businesses, and the more we get to know each other and get involved with this group, we will start to bounce ideas off each other and help each other through these challenges so we don’t feel so alone,” said the newly invested Fleckenstein.
Usually, chapter members are invited to a monthly meeting by a Legatus member and given the opportunity to discern membership.