Fort Worth's Legatus group celebrates 10th anniversary

by Lance Murray

North Texas Catholic

May 17, 2017

Teri and Ed Gray stand with Bishop Michael Olson after he gave his keynote address at Legatus of Fort Worth's celebration of the organization's 10th anniversary. Ed Gray is the current president of Legatus Fort Worth. (NTC photo/Lance Murray)

FORT WORTH — Legatus of Fort Worth celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Mass May 11 at St. Patrick Cathedral and dinner at the Fort Worth Club.

Chartered on May 9, 2007, that's a decade of Catholic business leaders and their spouses showing their commitment to learning, living, and spreading the Catholic faith in the marketplace.

"The mission of Legatus is for lay faithful to be able to pray and to learn and evangelize, but not only in their home and personal lives, but also in their lives at work," said Ed Gray, president of the Fort Worth chapter, and a retired AT&T executive and technology entrepreneur.

Gray and his wife, Teri, said attending Legatus is a great way to deepen their faith individually, and as a couple.

"This is a good example of it," Ed Gray said. "Every month, we have a meeting — we start it with a Rosary, reconciliation, and Mass, and this helps — in addition to Sunday Mass, and any other time you go to church — to deepen your faith with those very important sacraments before you go to your meeting."

Roughly 20 couples celebrated the anniversary in the fashion they practice every month — reconciliation, the Rosary, and Mass, followed by a dinner that includes an invited guest speaker.

Mass was celebrated by Bishop Michael Olson of the Diocese of Fort Worth, who filled in as keynote speaker at the dinner for Bishop Samuel Jacobs, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Houma-Thibadoux in Louisiana.

Bishop Jacobs couldn't attend the dinner because he was ill.

In his keynote speech, Bishop Olson touched on the history of Legatus and the important role it plays in the Church.

After congratulating the Legatus members on the landmark anniversary, Bishop Olson told the group that Catholics, especially in a time of political uncertainty, must adhere to the basic tenets of the faith by not minimizing others, but by helping those in need.

In the past year, the chapter has had speakers on subjects from liturgy to pro-life issues to exorcism.

"We come home from a meeting, and the topics really cause us to have a lot of deep discussions among ourselves," Teri Gray said. "So, we're building our faith and sharing it with each other."

Founding member Dana Milliken said three things initially attracted her and husband — the opportunity to participate in confession and the Mass; the chance to meet other Catholics in a fellowship-type setting; and the interesting speakers that the group invites each month.

Members of the Legatus Fort Worth chapter gather for Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral to celebrate the group's 10th anniversary. (NTC photo/Lance Murray)

She said Legatus has had a major impact on her: "I really feel like there’s the life I had as a Catholic before Legatus, and life I have as a Catholic now. That's the kind of profound impact it has had on me."

Architect Bill Petrelli was the founding president of the Fort Worth Chapter, and he said the organization was formed after his brother, a member of Legatus in another city, told Petrelli it might interest him.

He went to the Dallas chapter for a meeting to find out more about the organization, and a national official said the organization was interested in forming a Fort Worth chapter.

Petrelli said the importance of Legatus to him was being able to influence his workplace through his faith.

"What it means to me is taking my faith to the workplace, and that's the focus of part of what Legatus does," he said. "The mission is to be an ambassador of Christ out in the marketplace, and it's been very beneficial and very rewarding for me as a Catholic."

He said it helped him to function in, manage, and operate his practice.

“I’ve seen it influence others, not only in my firm, but my clients, in how we approach and focus on doing the right thing,” he said.

Previous president Bill Dandridge, a Catholic convert, went to a parish retreat in his second week as a convert to the faith and there met a Catholic who later invited him to join Legatus.

Dandridge, a retired Accenture executive, said the organization showed him what it meant to have faithful leadership in business.

“From the first meeting I went to I thought, ‘these are the kind of people I want to spend time with and these are the kinds of leaders I want to be around,’” Dandridge said.

FORT WORTH — Legatus of Fort Worth celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Mass May 11 at St. Patrick Cathedral and dinner at the Fort Worth Club.

Published (until 12/27/2031)