SCOTTSDALE — Top-ranking Catholic business leaders spent three days at the Phoenician strengthening each other in their resolve to remain authentically Catholic in the marketplace.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori spoke to Legatus members about threats to religious liberty.  (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori spoke to Legatus members about threats to religious liberty. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

The 500 or so business leaders, including spouses and exhibitors, are all part of Legatus, a 25-year-old organization whose members are committed to the Church. They regularly “study, live and spread the Catholic faith” in their business, professional and personal lives.

The Feb. 7-9 summit brought top names in the Catholic sector, including Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza who started Legatus and went on to play pivotal roles in starting what are now Ave Maria University and Ave Maria Radio.

“We wanted to gather the people who are the most proven leaders in the Catholic Church – that’s it,” Monaghan said of Legatus’ purpose. He spoke exclusively to members of Phoenix’s chapter during a Feb. 9 luncheon.

Not every member owns a Catholic business though. Legatus brings together Catholics who rank highly in other sectors like litigation, industries in Silicon Valley, manufacturing, healthcare and retail yet have proven dedication to the faith. Monthly meetings feature the rosary, reconciliation, Mass and social time.

Their three-day gathering focused on the “Door of Faith: A Summons to a Deeper Conversion.” It drew upon the 15th panel of the holy door at the Vatican, which depicts the conversion of St. Paul.

“My greatest hope is they, like Paul, will have a summons to a deeper conversion,” said Joe Melancon, a member of the Baton Rouge Chapter — Legatus’ largest — which coordinated the conference.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori’s Feb. 8 address brought a whirlwind history lesson from the country’s Founding Fathers to the contemporary discussion of human rights and the “frontier of liberty” termed by Pope Benedict XVI.

The archbishop repeatedly affirmed the need to have principles grounded in natural law and invited Legatus members to use personal influence to convert the hearts of others.

“We are once again at a crossroads in how religious freedom is understood and exercised in our country,” he said. “We remain a nation where most people still value some form of religious faith.”

If the objective is to expand human rights to include “behaviors heretofore deemed immoral,” then the documents of the founding of the United States must be stripped of “any reference to the Creator and His will or words and distinctions that define reality,” the archbishop explained.

“They have their reasons for excising from these documents any notion of a common morality discoverable by human reason,” he said, “or any reference to values that flow from human dignity and human nature.”

Archbishop Lori was among a powerful lineup of well-known  speakers including Ken Cuccinelli, attorney general of Virginia, and papal biographer George Weigel.


For more stories on the Legatus Summit, including an interview with its founder, search “Legatus” at

For more on joining the Phoenix chapter, which meets the first Wednesday of each month, contact Keith Tigue at (602) 224-7852 or