Legatus founder Thomas S. Monaghan (third from left) stands with new members of the organization’s Boston chapter Bill and Dawn Terry, Maria and Joe Forgione, and Cheryl and Jim Baker. Courtesy photo/Legatus
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WESTON — Opening his remarks April 20 with a call for Boston’s business leaders in Legatus to step forward and help Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley renew the Church in Boston, Legatus founder Thomas S. Monaghan said he was proud that “three of our members helped organize the Boston Catholic Men’s and Women’s Conferences.”
Monaghan, speaking on “Catholic Leadership in the Workplace and Society”at the Weston Country Club, said that Legatus was founded not only to help its members become better leaders in their companies through understanding Church teachings, but “to bring Catholic business leaders together to support each other and combine forces to transform society.”
Monaghan, also the founder of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University in Florida, reflected on Legatus’ founding in 1987. “Having been a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), I realized that we needed a Catholic equivalent to allow business leaders to become better Catholics and, in turn, positively impact their businesses and personal lives. We have stayed true to that mission and I am happy to report that we are now over 60 Legatus chapters in the United States, including new chapters near here in Providence and Springfield, Mass.”
Monaghan then addressed the progress of Ave Maria University and Ave Maria Town, both being developed outside of Naples, Fla. Ave Maria Town has been the subject of many national news stories in the past few months because of comments Monaghan made at the 2005 Boston Catholic Men’s Conference. At the conference, Monaghan described his hope that Ave Maria Town would be truly Catholic in its spirit — particularly with pharmacies that would not dispense artificial contraception and with cable TV programming that would not offend Catholic sensibilities.
“Of course the ACLU didn’t like that and started putting pressure on our partners in the new community (real estate developers, supermarkets, gas stations) to resist working with us,” he said. “However, after we went on all the national morning news programs in early March and explained that we would of course obey all laws, the partners strengthened their commitment to Ave Maria Town. Even better, the national exposure has led to strong demand for homes in Ave Maria Town from people all over the country!”
Monaghan reported that Ave Maria University is already the largest pre-theology program in the country and that its doctoral program in theology is going well.
“We want to be the best theology program in the U.S. and hope to educate many future priests as well as the next generation of professors at Catholic colleges and seminaries. We have been blessed that so many of today’s brightest Catholic theologians have joined our faculty already,” he said.
Earlier in the evening, the 65 members and guests participated in Mass, confession, dinner and an induction ceremony for three couples that joined Legatus Boston in April: Jim and Cheryl Baker, Joe and Maria Forgione, and Bill and Dawn Terry. In total, there are 30 couples in the Legatus Boston chapter. Legatus’ Boston Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month. Upcoming speakers include Father Robert Reed, director of Boston Catholic Television, and Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.