Legatus charters in San Jose
Legatus’ Silicon Valley-based chapter charters with hyper-speed connection . . .
by Matthew A. Rarey
The hyper-speed connection between the San Jose Chapter’s first meeting and chartering reflects the dynamism, drive and synergy of Silicon Valley, the high-tech capital of the world in which many of these new Legates are leaders.
Just three months after its first meeting last September, Legatus’ newest chapter chartered on Dec. 18 with 20 member couples. San Jose Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Daly, the chapter’s chaplain, celebrated Mass, followed by dinner and remarks by John Hunt, Legatus’ executive director.
The evening program was hosted by the chapter’s program chair Sal Caruso and wife Josephine, parents of seven.
“The event at our home was really a lot of fun for us,” said Caruso, an American-born, Italian-educated architect and founder of Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation. “It was an honor to be with such an incredible group of people — people who really strive to be true examples of Christ in their workplaces and communities.”
The chartering Mass took place in the prayer chapel that Sal designed. “We had a harpist,” Caruso said, “and with Bishop Daly saying Mass before a stained glass window of the Divine Mercy of Christ, it was just beautiful.”
The time between the chapter’s first meeting and its chartering, he noted, was “near record-breaking.” Indeed, San Jose joins elite company in chartering within the first half-year of its existence. The only other West coast chapter to have done so is Orange Canyons in Southern California.
“The key to successful chapters is strong leadership and a sense of ownership among members,” said Paul F. Blewett, Legatus’ West Region director. “They have that in spades in San Jose,” a chapter with a unique distinction, he noted. “No other Legatus chapter has this kind of presence in the high-tech industry.”
The ball started rolling back in 2011 through the initiative of Bob Masi, a former member of Legatus’ San Francisco Chapter, who reached out to San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath about starting a chapter in Silicon Valley. The bishop agreed, which began the process of reaching out to Catholic professionals about Legatus. They, in turn, engaged other Catholic leaders.
One of the chapter’s initial movers-and-shakers, Ken Hurley, now serves as its first president. After being invited to the introductory meeting last August and seeing so many people he knew through professional and Catholic circles, he and wife Ginny signed up.
“Then we made an aggressive movement to contact people in our networks,” said Hurley, president of semiconductor firm Nanya Technology Corporation.
The chapter already had 15 member couples when it first met in September. Word of mouth and the prominence of its first speakers quickly brought membership up to the requisite chartering level.
In addition to Caruso and Hurley, the officer roster includes Ben Glenn, vice president and 2014 president-elect; Mike Wilmer, membership chair; Bernie Vogel, treasurer; and Barry and Charlotte LeMay, liturgical coordinators.
Members’ hopes are running high, said Hurley, not only for increasing the chapter’s own numbers over the next year, but having San Jose serve as the launch pad for other area chapters.
Amen, says San Jose’s chaplain. “The Church needs Legatus,” said Bishop Daly. “Our members have a love for Christ and a tremendous sense of pride in what it means to be a Catholic — also a firm recognition of the challenges to the faith and culture. They’re in positions of influence to confront these challenges head-on.”
This is especially important in the Bay Area, he said, whose “old Catholic culture collapsed some time ago, but now we have all these Catholic politicians professing to be Catholic, but who are not. And there’s this PC attitude in the Bay Area against the Church’s opposition to things like redefining marriage. So we need to encourage and build up this great group of Catholic men and women — people who won’t just sit back and take it, but take the Bay Area back to Catholic roots going all the way back to the Spanish missions.”
Matthew A. Rarey is Legatus Magazine’s editorial assistant.