How do we, as Catholic leaders, respond to the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic? This was the question on the hearts and minds of over seventy-five of America’s top executives as they met recently for an impromptu video conference to discuss their role in meeting the needs of their communities during this time of mounting concern and uncertainty. As members of Lumen Institute, these CEOs, CFOs, and partners in major banking, accounting, and legal firms discussed how they could—and should – as leaders in their fields, respond to this current national and global crisis in an effective way, one that reflects their confidence and faith in God and the Gospel.
This has always been the mission of Lumen Institute: to provide a much-needed faith-based perspective in the increasingly secular business world. Founded in 2005 in the heart of Manhattan by business leaders – some of whom are Regnum Christi members – and Legionary priests, Lumen continues to expand throughout the major cities in the United States, inviting its members and their families to be salt of the earth and light of the world in their homes, their professions, and their communities.
For the past four years, Father Mark Haydu, LC, has held the position of national chaplain for Lumen Institute. In this role, he is busy creating study materials, providing one-on-one support, encouraging other Lumen chaplains throughout the country, and spiritually guiding the organization as a whole. Father Mark is well-suited for this role: in his master’s studies in Rome, his thesis work titled “Making Men Moral” focused on how leadership, and specifically political leaders, can influence the morality of the population, and how leaders have a specific capacity – and responsibility – to shape culture. “I tried to pay particular attention to how ethics and morals intersect with business and politics,” says Father Mark, “There were a lot of crossovers with what a business leader needs to do in setting a culture and moral compass for their business.”
Of all his various duties, from formation to administration, it’s the one-on-one mentoring that Father Mark enjoys the most. Lumen offers regular spiritual coaching to its members and their families as a way to help them grow in faith, virtue, and character, and to then transmit this to their work and communities. It is through this personal dialogue that Father Mark has the privilege of experiencing a profound openness to and hunger for Christ in the men he serves; in witnessing their deep and candid desire for Christ, “you can’t help but love serving them,” he says of the men he coaches.
Besides offering a speaker series, pilgrimages and retreats, and opportunities for service and fellowship, one of the most important elements of the Lumen organization is the Lumen circle. These gatherings, which occur in a small group setting, provide a space for members to examine current leadership challenges through the lens of ethics, virtue, and the life of Christ in the Gospel. In a society that is rich in technological connection, but often lacks real human relationship, Lumen circles provide a much-needed source of support and faith-based fellowship. “We meet the need of personal accompaniment to men who often have lots of acquaintances, but perhaps few moral leaders who can help them in what is most important – their faith and relationships,” explains Father Mark. “Lumen gives them a solid group of faith-based peers who can support them and challenge them in what we call a ‘veritas’ relationship.”
It is through these Lumen circles that Father Mark can most clearly see God’s work moving through the lives of the people he serves. “The Lumen circles really show God’s action: the conversations, the resolutions, and actions they take away from the meetings all show how God is consoling and challenging each of them.”
Lumen provides the space and opportunity for the Legionaries of Christ and the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi – who support the wives and families of Lumen members – to serve those members of the lay community who are living and working in a professional climate that often reflects more of the world than the Gospel. Here, the Legionary priests and consecrated women help the Lumen members, and their entire families, live in the joy of Christ, and to bring this joy to their work and the world.
For more information about Lumen Institute, or to learn about their upcoming events, visit their website at https://lumeninstitute.org/. You can watch short videos on some of the core values of Lumen Institute, presented by Father Mark, at https://lumeninstitute.org/media.