Bishop charters Legatus chapter in Evansville

By Tim Lilley

The Message editor

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, center, celebrates Mass Dec. 1 at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville for the new chapter of Legatus International. Father Tyler Tenbarge, left, and Father Alex Zenthoefer, right, concelebrated. Matt Miller, second from right, served as master of ceremonies.
The Message photos by Tim Lilley

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated Mass Dec. 1 at St. Benedict Cathedral for the new Evansville chapter of Legatus International, the Catholic organization whose members work to serve as “ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace.” Legatus is Latin for ambassador.

Immediately following Mass, Bishop Siegel presided over the official chartering ceremony for the chapter. Assisting was Thomas S. Monaghan of Ann Arbor, Michigan, founder and chairman of Legatus International. 

Father Tyler Tenbarge, who serves as chaplain for the Evansville Legatus chapter, and Father Alex Zenthoefer, vicar general of the Diocese of Evansville, concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Siegel. In his homily, the bishop noted that early Advent readings pair Old Testament prophecies with Gospel accounts of Jesus fulfilling them. The readings for Dec. 1 included Isaiah 25: 6-10 and Matthew 15:29-37, which recounts the feeding of thousands after Jesus blessed seven loaves of bread and a few fish.

The bishop noted that, throughout his early ministry, Jesus provided many similar examples of what can be accomplished when people cooperate with God’s grace and place our lives in God’s hands. He said that satisfying their physical hunger by feeding the crowds foreshadowed Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist, which satisfies our spiritual hunger. 

As he concluded, Bishop Siegel recited St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer known as Suscipe, which is Latin for receive:

“Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.”

As he finished, he said, “may this be our prayer this Advent season.”

Bishop Siegel and Legatus International Founder and Chairman Thomas S. Monoghan, front row center, stand with the Evansville chapter’s charter members, who were inducted Dec. 1 after Mass at St. Benedict Cathedral.

After the final blessing and recessional hymn, Bishop Siegel inducted the charter members of the Evansville chapter. He recalled that, in his 1988 charter to Legatus in Rome, Pope St. John Paul II said, “The world needs genuine witnesses to Christian ethics in the field of business, and the Church asks you to fulfill this role publicly with courage and perseverance.”

Legatus International Founder Thomas S. Monoghan, left, stands with new members Matthew and Lindsey Nix, and Bishop Siegel. Matthew Nix is serving as the chapter’s first president.

The charter members of Legatus’ Evansville chapter include:

  • Pat and Beth Blankenberger
  • Steve and Stacey Church
  • J.P. and Alli Engelbrecht
  • Kyle and Kristin Fields
  • Tony and Judy Flittner
  • Brant and Kristina Flores
  • Dean and Laura Happe
  • Jeff Happe
  • Teri Hollander Albin and Dave Albin
  • Bob and Cindy Koch
  • Matthew and Lindsey Nix
  • Jon and Barbara Raben
  • Mark and Tricia Samila
  • Brad and Allison Scheu
  • Daniela and Alfonso Vidal
  • Bill and Sarah Vieth

The chapter’s initial slate of officers includes Matthew Nix, president; Kyle Fields, vice-president; Dean Happe, treasurer; and Alli Engelbrecht, program chair.

Legatus International Founder and Chairman Thomas S. Monoghan, left, stands with Bishop Siegel after the Dec. 1 Mass at St. Benedict Cathedral.

More about Monaghan

Monaghan founded Legatus International in 1987. In a 1999 New York Times feature, he said that the idea was a “divine inspiration” he received after meeting Pope St. John Paul II for the first time. 

Monaghan also founded Domino’s Pizza. He sold most of his stake in the company in the late 1990s. He told the Times, “'Financially, it would have been much better for me to hold onto the company for another 20 years. But I don't want to take my money with me when I go, and I don't want to leave it for others. I want to die broke.''

In addition to founding Legatus, Monaghan also founded Ave Maria University, which he began in his home state of Michigan. The school subsequently moved to Florida. It’s first chancellor was Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press.

In a message posted on the Legatus International website, Monaghan says, “Legatus gives you the opportunity to deepen your relationship with God and discover how Catholic truth and values can help you meet the ethical challenges you face on a daily basis.”  

For more information on Legatus International, visit