Linda Oppelt
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Legatus events provide ‘intermission’ for busy parents

By Andy and Vanessa Barton

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

As parents, your life can feel like a staged performance — days and nights spent in front of the same sets over weeks and months:  Act 1:  home. Act 2: office. Act 3: school event. Act 4: sports.  Act 5: Church. Like a play, you perform alongside mostly the same characters:  spouse, children, co-worker, teacher, pastor. It is a wonderful performance, and it is true that it goes by too fast, but like every good play, it is good to have a break in the midst of the action.  Over the past six years, as our three children have grown up, Legatus has been the welcome intermission. 

We were skeptical when we first heard about Legatus.  Making time once a month for an evening mass followed by a meal and a speaker sounded overwhelming. It meant finding babysitters, coordinating rides and relying on kids to make fish sticks for dinner.  It disrupted routines that felt essential.  For the first couple of months, our reticence felt well-founded; yet, over time we discovered that the work required to take this one night a month immersed with good people in our Catholic faith was well worth the effort.

Legatus gives us time for the important things that get pushed to the side in the performance of our daily lives.  We find the opportunity to pray the rosary and attend an evening mass in the middle of the week renewing and calming.  To do so outside our regular parish, with couples who we have come to know well over the years, gives us a different and wonderful sense of community. 

The opportunity to share dinner after mass with that community is another gift.  There is no other venue in our daily lives where we can engage in such enriching conversation about such a variety of subjects.  At its core, Legatus focuses on the intersection between business and the Catholic faith and, as a result, there is talk of work.  But within that community, there is an understanding and appreciation for how our professions are just a part of our lives.  We find ourselves discussing faith, family, health, big ideas and recent observations.  We are particularly grateful for the variety of experiences that members share about raising a family, from those who are early in that process to those who are longtime practitioners.

The evening is capped with the opportunity to engage intellectually with one of the talented and fascinating speakers who rotate through each month.  Always tied back to the faith, Legatus speakers challenge us to either learn something new or see something in a new way.  It is more than a homily, less than a lecture, and always fulfilling. 

There are months that life moves too fast for us to make a Legatus evening and we, invariably, feel the absence.  Those intermissions are important in strengthening our faith, our marriage and our connection with the community.  We have discovered over these past years that the stage of our busy lives is always there to go back to.  And the kids don’t mind fish sticks every now and then.       

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

(Andy Barton is President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. He and his wife Vanessa have three children and are members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. )

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