Local Legatus Chapter receives charter, inducts officers

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann (left) and Bishop James V. Johnston “commission” the officers of the Kansas City Chapter of Legatus.  They are: (from left) Brian Gillespie, Sacred Heart Parish, Shawnee (treasurer); Bill Kirk, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Kansas City, Missouri (president); Nick Manning, St. Thomas More Parish, Kansas City, Missouri (vice president);  and Nelson Newcomer, Curé of Ars Parish, Leawood (membership chair). Not pictured is Jennifer Lindsey, Holy Cross Parish, Overland Park (program chair). LEAVEN PHOTO BY DOUG HESSE

by Joe Bollig
joe.bollig@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It only took five years, but the newest chapter of Legatus was finally able to celebrate its founding.

The Kansas City Chapter of Legatus celebrated its long-awaited chartering at a vigil Mass on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 14 at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bishop James V. Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was the main celebrant. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann was the homilist.

“I’m not sure, but we may hold the record for the longest time it took to get a chapter off the ground, but it was worth the wait,” said Archbishop Naumann.

The kickoff for the Kansas City Chapter was held in November 2014, but it took a while for the ad hoc founding group to attract the minimum 20 qualifying members to charter a chapter, said Stephen M. Henley, executive director of Legatus. That threshold was reached in December 2018.

Legatus, which describes itself as the “world’s premier membership organization for Catholic business leaders,” was founded in May 1987 by Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University founder Tom Monaghan. Legatus, which means “ambassador” in Latin, has 5,500 members in 90 chapters in the United States and Canada. 

“[Our membership] is composed of Catholic business executives of a certain level of achievement and experience,” said Bill Kirk, the local chapter’s president. “It’s a high bar to be asked to join.”

Local charter members are grateful for the support of Bishop Johnston and Archbishop Naumann, he said.

“We are the only chapter . . . that spans two dioceses and two states,” said Kirk.

In his homily, Archbishop Naumann thanked the 22 founding charter members and their spouses for starting the local chapter and striving to grow in the knowledge of their Catholic faith and in holiness.

“As a member of Legatus, you are expressing a desire to do the will of God in every aspect of your life — in your professional life, in your responsibilities as a business leader and employer, in your vocation as a husband or wife, in your role as a Christian parent — being the first and most influential teachers of the faith to your children — and in your leadership role within the civic community,” said the archbishop.

Concelebrants included chapter chaplains Father Ken Riley and Msgr. Stuart Swetland, and Our Lady of Good Counsel pastor Father Adam Johnson. Assisting were associate pastor Father Andrew Mattingly and Deacon Ralph Wehmer.

Following the Mass, Bishop Johnston inducted the founding chapter members.

“Will you seek to fulfill this call with fidelity, integrity and courage?” asked Bishop Johnston.

“I will, by the grace of God,” the inductees responded in unison.

Next, each couple or individual came forward to receive a certificate and congratulations from the two bishops and Legatus CEO Monaghan. Men received a lapel pin and women received a pendant. 

Lastly, Archbishop Naumann commissioned the first five officers of the local chapter.

Following the liturgy, induction and commissioning, the clerics and chapter members gathered at the Mission Hills Country Club for a reception and dinner, which included a “fireside chat” by Monaghan.

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