Legatus donates $! million to Eucharistic Congress

By  Tony Gosgnach, Catholic Register Special
  • December 13, 2007

{mosimage}TORONTO - The considerable financial burden of staging the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City next June is being eased by a donation from an organization of Catholic businesspeople.

Legatus has announced it will earmark $1 million toward the Congress over a two-year period. The money will go for the event’s expenses and to help people from underdeveloped nations, who otherwise would not have the resources to attend, be present.

According to Robert Chisholm, a member of Legatus’s international board of directors and head of its Toronto chapter, the organization was motivated to make the money available following an address by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec City and primate of Canada.

“Cardinal Ouellet spoke to us at our annual conference last February, spoke very well and impressed people,” said Chisholm. “He had everyone very enthusiastic about the Eucharistic Congress. We expect many people from Legatus will be attending in Quebec City.”

Ouellet expressed concerns that people in Third World countries would not have the ability to attend.

“Hopefully, this will be a big assistance to them,” said Chisholm. “It’s quite a commitment that they’re making to do this. It’s really a testament to Cardinal Ouellet’s speech. He wasn’t imploring us for funds in any way. It was something that came, in part, because of the admiration the Legatus members have for him and what he’s doing.”

Legatus was launched in Michigan 20 years ago by Tom Monaghan, founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, following an inspiring meeting he had with Pope John Paul II. Since then, it has grown to a membership of more than 1,800 couples — businesspeople join with their spouses — in 60 chapters throughout the United States, as well as the Toronto one (founded five years ago) and another in Dublin, Ireland.

Chisholm said he hopes developments such as the contribution to the Eucharistic Congress will help raise the profile of Legatus and fuel its growth.

“Our goal is to double the number of members, getting up closer to 5,000 over the next few years, as this thing spreads slowly. It’s a very admirable thing to do and hopefully will spread worldwide.”

Previous monetary disbursements by Legatus have been given to the Holy See, for use as the Holy Father has seen fit. With the momentous Congress coming up in Quebec City in June, however — in tandem with that city’s 400th anniversary celebration — it seemed appropriate that money now go for that purpose.

In addition to the donation, Legatus is organizing a dinner in honour of Ouellet during the Congress. It is also involved in the efforts to encourage Pope Benedict XVI to be present in Quebec City.

“We’re hopeful the Holy Father can attend — we haven’t heard for sure one way or the other,” said Chisholm. “The Holy Father’s coming in April to the United States and in July to Australia for World Youth Day, so there is a valid reason as to why he may not be able to make it in June … but we’re optimistic he might still be able to do it. We’ll know, hopefully, within a few weeks.”

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