January 10, 2020

Chapter of ‘marketplace ambassadors for Christ’ marks 30 years

Outgoing Indianapolis Legatus chapter president Jim Huntington, left, shakes hands with newly inducted members Dave and Victoria Temple during Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Indianapolis on Dec. 12, 2019. To Huntington’s right is Legatus founder Tom Monaghan. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Outgoing Indianapolis Legatus chapter president Jim Huntington, left, shakes hands with newly inducted members Dave and Victoria Temple during Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Indianapolis on Dec. 12, 2019. To Huntington’s right is Legatus founder Tom Monaghan. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The couple stood before the sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Indianapolis on Dec. 12, 2019. They faced the ambo, where Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel addressed them.

“Victoria and David Temple, I welcome you tonight to Legatus,” he said, noting the word is Latin for “ambassador.”

“In his charge to Legatus in Rome in 1988,” he continued, “Pope John Paul II said: ‘The world needs genuine witnesses to Christian ethics in the field of business, and the Church asks you to fulfill this role publicly and with perseverance.’ ”

Then looking at the couple, Msgr. Schaedel asked, “Victoria and David, will you seek to fulfill this call with fidelity, integrity and courage?”

“I will, by the grace of God,” they replied in unison.

Msgr. Schaedel smiled as he said, “May your faithful participation in Legatus strengthen you to study, live and spread your faith as Christ’s ambassadors.”

Then the Temples faced the congregation to a round of applause.

They had just been inducted into the Indianapolis chapter of Legatus on the evening the group of Catholic business executives and owners celebrated its 30th anniversary.

‘Bring your faith into your business’

Legatus, which describes its members as “ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace,” was established by Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University in Florida.

It was created for “practicing Catholic laymen and laywomen ... CEOs, presidents, managing partners and business owners, with their spouses,” who seek “to study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives,” as stated on its website.

According to the website, this mission is sought “in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, his Church and his vicar on Earth,” in adherence to the Church’s magisterium.

The Indianapolis chapter—the fourth oldest Legatus chapter—was founded on Dec. 8, 1989. With nearly 70 active member couples, it is also “one of, if not the, most successful” of Legatus’ 98 existing or forming chapters, Monaghan noted during the Indianapolis group’s 30th anniversary celebration on Dec. 12.

The goal of Legatus is “to bring your Catholic faith into your business by your actions and the way you behave and operate your business,” said current chapter president Gary Hoefle, founder of Maxim Services, LLC. He and his wife Katie are members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.

Members and their spouses are enriched through the organization in multiple ways. Monthly meetings begin with the opportunity for confession, the rosary and Mass, followed by a presentation by local and national Catholic speakers and business executives addressing faith life, family and the workplace.

“There have been some fabulous stories of people almost in desperation with what their dealing with, and their faith got them through,” said Hoefle.

Developing one-on-one, spiritual-based relationships is the role of the men’s and women’s forums. Groups of up to 12 members gather once a month to pray and to discuss family, business, spiritual and personal concerns from a Catholic perspective.

“Forums is where faith-sharing comes into play” in Legatus, said Hoefle. “All of the members have common challenges. It’s not often they have someone they can confide with in their business. It really makes a difference when they have a group in common that they can confide in.”

Members are also spiritually enriched through retreats, pilgrimages and conferences.

We gather together to grow

As chaplain of the Indianapolis chapter, Msgr. Schaedel, who serves as pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, is tasked with vetting potential members to ensure they are practicing Catholics—to not be “goes against our message,” Hoefle explained.

There are also requirements for membership involving professional titles—such as CEO, owner, vice-president, publisher and more; number of employees the member is responsible for; and financial volume or value.

“I think the limits are set [by Legatus] to make absolutely certain that the member has the time and financial wherewithal to be an active participant” in terms of dues and other components, said Hoefle.

And while having a philanthropic component might be expected of a group whose members meet such financial requirements, that aspect of the faith is already deeply embedded in the lives and businesses of the members.

“So many of our members and their businesses are solicited for donations and asked to be involved in community and parish leadership,” said Hoefle. “And they do give, and they are involved.

“So it’s nice to go to an event once a month … [where] we’re just gathered together to continue to grow in our faith with each other and make sure we’re going to our businesses in the same fashion.”

‘So important to be grounded through faith’

The 30th anniversary event was held during the Indianapolis chapter’s annual Christmas celebration Mass and dinner.

Monaghan, 82, was present and spoke at the dinner at the Woodstock Club in Indianapolis.

“I congratulate you on your 30th anniversary,” he said. “I like the number 30. I built my career on 30-minute deliveries.”

Monaghan admitted that “Indianapolis is one of my favorite chapters, if not my favorite chapter. It’s probably the most successful chapter of Legatus over the long run.”

He shared his memory of meeting one of the early members of the chapter years ago—Al Langsenkamp, who is still an active member.

“I was so impressed with everything he was doing, a young man involved in so many things,” Monaghan recalled. “He said, ‘All I did before Legatus was just go to Mass on Sunday. After Legatus, I really got charged up!’ ”

Hoefle said he feels much the same way about Legatus now.

“Spiritually it’s helped me as a person. I have met some very, very faith-filled people who have inspired me through my relationship with the group,” he said.

The group is good for couples as well, said Msgr. Schaedel.

“It can strengthen marriages. Since spouses are equal members, [Legatus] also provides at least one night a month for each couple to be together for Mass, a speaker, socializing and dinner,” he said.

Beth Leonard is a member with her husband, Bill. She said she and Bill, members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis, have “grown in a way of challenging ourselves in our faith to just grow deeper, using everything we learn through Legatus and the people.”

She appreciates the monthly events “starting with Mass, confession and the rosary. The people are wonderful, and it’s so much fun, too. But when you leave, you leave with a message.”

Victoria Temple, who is a member with her husband at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese, noted that her parents were longtime Legatus members.

“They always enjoyed it and encouraged us to join,” she said. “We’re both looking forward to getting to know the other people involved in Legatus and hopefully forming business relationships and friendships with them.”

Hoefle noted that now, 30 years after the Indianapolis Legatus chapter was founded, is an especially good time for Catholic business owners and executive professionals to consider joining the organization.

“The other [secular] side is so vocal, almost to the point that they want to extinguish the other side,” he noted. “I think, particularly in today’s society, it’s so important for individuals to feel grounded through faith.

“If you give that image, and you truly believe in what you’re doing, your employees are going to get it.”

(For more information on Legatus, go to legatus.org.)

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