Gunty is associate publisher/editor of the Catholic Review.


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Raymond Arroyo addresses Catholic Business Network of Baltimore

Take 150 or so business people, add the chief executive of a locally-based weight-loss company and the news director of the largest Catholic broadcast network in the world, and you end up with a wonderful dinner that raised $12,500 for a scholarship fund for students in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The third annual Catholic Business Network of Baltimore dinner charmed the attendees with good food and good conversation and a chance to “strengthen faith and business” in accord with the association’s motto.

The group began meeting in February 2010 and was formally organized as the Catholic Business Network of Baltimore in April 2012. The dinner helped the group surpass its five-year goal to raise $25,000 for a scholarship endowment, hitting a total of $27,000 in just three years.

For the first time in its short history, the network presented a Catholic Business Leadership award for service and leadership for archdiocesan programs and organizations. Michael MacDonald, CEO of Medifast, has followed in the footsteps of his brother, Bradley, who was CEO of Medifast before his death in 2012.

Accepting the award, MacDonald said that when his brother, who knew he was dying, asked him to take on the leadership of the company, he also asked him to continue the work Bradley had been doing in support of the church in Baltimore, knowing that Michael already supported the church in New Jersey, where he lived at the time.

“The Catholic Community in Baltimore is very welcoming,” Michael MacDonald told the CBNB group. He noted that the company’s board includes a priest and a nun, and every meeting starts with a prayer. He acknowledged that he supports other faiths, while not being ashamed of his own Catholic faith. “We’re very fortunate in this community to have the Catholic leadership we have,” he said.

MacDonald now chairs the Catholic Community Foundation strategic planning committee and will also chair the 2014 archdiocesan gala, which will be held Sept. 27 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The keynote speaker for the evening, Raymond Arroyo, regaled the crowd with quips and quotes from Mother Angelica, foundress of Eternal Word Television Network, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. Arroyo is news director and lead anchor for EWTN News, based in Washington, D.C.

Raymond Arroyo (Courtesy Mark Gregory Photography)

Occasionally slipping into Mother Angelica’s “voice” to quote the Ohio-born nun, Arroyo explained that she built a studio on the pad of an unfinished garage at her monastery, a sign that God can turn even our failures into something good.

“Sometimes risking everything is the only way to see what God intends for us,” the newsman and author quoted Mother Angelica as saying.

He said that Mother Angelica, who retired from leadership of the network in 2000, got where she was by living in the moment, something we don’t often do in business.

Again “channeling” Mother Angelica, he asked, “What does God want you to do in this present moment? Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.”

She also said, “You will have an eternity to experience God, but only a short time to do his work, so get cracking.”

Arroyo recounted stories of providence delivering what the network needed at exactly the right time, and dispensed some business advice as he did so. “It’s only by moving beyond ourselves and reaching for the impossible that God responds.”

Answering questions from the crowd, he noted that while he has interviewed a lot of celebrities and politicians – and has even liked some of the politicians – he noted that the scholarship fund supported by the network is more important than electing a congressman. “Think about the literature you read as a child. They stay with you all your life,” he said, citing classics such as “Charlotte’s Web.”

That’s one of the reasons he said he is now writing a series of children’s books.

“You have to rebuild from the bottom up,” Arroyo said. “Teach them about God and a sense of faith. About good and evil.

“If you can rebuild the populace, you can save the civilization.”

In the course of working at the Associated Press, working for political columnists Rowland Evans and Michael Novak, and now in his multiple roles at EWTN and writing best-selling books, Arroyo said he has had a chance to meet all his heroes, including St. John Paul II, Blessed Teresa of Kolkata and Mother Angelica – “that trifecta is hard to beat” – as well as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Lech Walesa. “It’s a great honor and a gift,” he said.

5/15/2014 9:34:10 AM
By Christopher Gunty