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HERALD ARTICLES
Linda Oppelt

How Legatus Members Integrate Faith Into Life and Work

by Deacon Rob Rysavy

(Editor’s note: Below is the second of a four-part series on Legatus, an organization for Catholic business people.)

Priorities are just a list until they’re tested . . . ” The person who first expressed this sentiment could easily have been a modern business professional.  The modern world, particularly the business world, encourages the setting of priorities.

Those priorities lists are often nearly identical, especially for professionals with a faith life. Those priorities routinely look something like, “Faith, Family, Work.” And faithful business professionals routinely find that list of priorities turned upside down as the day-by-day grind of worldly labor increasingly consumes the calendar of the successful worker.

It does not need to be that way. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting from the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), says this about the integration of the natural and supernatural lives of the laity:

“For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit — indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born — all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (CCC No. 901, quoting LG 34)

In other words, each of the “Faith, Family, Work” priorities should be a spiritual sacrifice, ordered in some way toward the worship of God.

Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and founder of Legatus, says that “Legatus members are business leaders — men and women 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.”

“Better Catholic, positive impact.” So how do these Legatus members do that?  How do they adhere to their priorities when so many others feel as if their priorities are often upside down? Several local business professionals who are also members of Colorado Springs chapter of Legatus shared some insight into that question.

Although each member has a different approach to adhering to their faith priorities, what is pleasantly surprising is how simple their approaches are. Furthermore, some of those expressions are very public, and some were very private. All were ordered toward keeping God front and center in their lives.

Greg Garcia, Senior Vice President/Investments with the Garcia Wealth Advisory Group at Stifel, shared some of the visible ways he ensures his faith remains a priority. “We have crucifixes prominently displayed in our offices. We have a prayer before our team meetings. We pray before lunch, either in the office or in a local restaurant. We do not shy away from letting our clients know we have been blest. We pray for our clients as a team.”

Jim Komadina, a retired mining industry executive, explained that the demands of work, and the constant travel it entailed, made it difficult to keep those priorities intact. To ensure that his faith remained at the top of the list, he simply committed to making his daily walk a time for personal prayer. That commitment continues in retirement and includes both a daily Rosary (or two) and a Divine Chaplet.

Sometimes a visible expression of faithful values can be both a personal and public catalyst for the Catholic business leader. Dr. Jerry Tafolla prominently displays pro-life prints on the walls of his dental practice. In doing so, he is adhering to paragraph 899 of the Catechism:  “The initiative of lay Christians is necessary, especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life.”

Clinging faithfully to one’s priorities in the professional workspace can be as simple as praying before a meal, going for a walk, or displaying a poster in the workspace that honors the Church’s unshakable teachings on the sanctity of life.  For many of the Legatus members, the simple act of regular and visible daily Mass attendance is also a vital part of adhering to their priorities.

Through these committed expressions of faith in their professional lives, Legatus members beautifully live out the Church’s call expressed in No. 2427 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.”

For information on the Colorado Springs chapter, please contact John Fleming (john@weathercraft.net) or Matt Davis (matt@packagingexpress.net).

(Deacon Rob Rysavy and his wife Michelle are members of the Colorado Springs chapter of Legatus)

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