How can the Church speak to business leaders?

Julie Filby
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The next Attollo session will be held Dec. 11 at Janiczek & Company, Ltd., 8400 E. Crescent Parkway, Ste. 160 in Greenwood Village. The agenda will include designing 2015 business goals that align to help a business owner’s lifetime goals. For more info, email [email protected] or call 720-508-4154.

Catholic business leaders who integrate Catholic social teaching into their work life can help better themselves and society, says one Colorado business consultant.

“Well-formed Catholic business leaders can take the discussion of higher purpose to a deeper, richer and more meaningful level with other business leaders. It’s a great way to gently evangelize,” said Paul Winkler, the founder of Attollo, a new peer advisory organization for Catholic business leaders.

“Catholic business leaders face dual challenges of developing and growing a healthy organization and a healthy relationship with Christ,” Winkler told EWTN News. “When you love and trust in God, it affects absolutely everything else in your life. Integrating faith and work life starts by learning to live an authentic, integrated life.”

Each Attollo advisory group includes 12-15 business owners, CEOs, and presidents who aim to grow their business with the guidance of Catholic social teaching.

“We tackle issues like lifetime goal planning and execution, and personal and professional development all while learning and understanding principles of Catholic social teaching and its direct application and implication in their business,” Winkler said.

“We all hunger for God,” he continued. “Attollo provides an opportunity to work closely with others who desire to be drawn close to Him while working on developing a strong business to satisfy their needs and (the needs) of their employees while creating a worthwhile product or service that serves the common good.”

The Attollo program takes its name from the Latin word meaning “I lift.” It features monthly, day-long meetings Winkler compared to a “working retreat.” These meetings aim to help members focus on their faith, their family and their business. The meetings begin and end with prayers and attendees celebrate noon Mass together.

Each member sets faith goals such as going to confession and attending Mass more than weekly, as well as personal goals like spending more time with one’s family.

“We should always keep God in the center of our lives, our marriages and our work,” Winkler said.

He said that a stable and growing business is “vital” to creating a receptive environment for Catholic social teaching. At the same time, business leaders face the challenge of “developing a deeper relationship with Christ so that Catholic social teaching makes sense to them.”

Each member also sets business goals and receives advice from other members as well as one-on-one coaching sessions. Winkler said the Attollo program aims to provide tools, techniques, and “an outside set of eyes” necessary to create “breakthrough moments” that have been restricting an organization’s growth.

Winkler said an Attollo group “offers a time and a place, a disciplined approach and accountability that is needed for achieving big goals.”

Winkler himself runs a business consultancy called The 5Q.

He said he was inspired to start Attollo after reading the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s 2012 document on the vocation of the business leader. At the same time, he thought the document did not provide business men and women with direction in applying Catholic principles to their business.

“They needed help moving from principles or theory to actual practice,” he said.

Winkler cited Pope Francis’ words in his 2013 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium.” The Pope said that business is a “noble vocation” provided businessmen “see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life” and “serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all.”

Winkler said he hopes that Attollo participants will become well-known and attractive to future employees and business prospects by showing “Christ-centered, principled, virtuous leadership.”

The first Attollo pilot program took place in Denver from August to October. Now that the pilot program is complete, Winkler will charge a fee for participants based roughly on gross revenue of their company.

“Large or small, I don’t want to exclude anybody,” he said.

Winkler is also developing content that ties Catholic social teaching principles with principles of business so that the program can be adopted by others.

COMING UP: Archbishop Aquila on ad limina visit, Pope Francis and more

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During his ad limina visit Feb. 10-15, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila was granted an audience with Pope Francis for over two hours where they discussed several topics pertinent to the Church today.

Archbishop Aquila was among a contingent of U.S. bishops representing Region XIII in the United States, which includes the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and Utah. He along with the bishops of those states met with the Holy Father Feb. 10. With the release of Querida Amazonia scheduled just a few days later on Feb. 12, Pope Francis discussed the document produced from last year’s Amazon Synod with the bishops.

“He brought up the question of celibacy, and he said [his] primary concern is that Gospel be proclaimed in the Amazon and that all of us need to focus on Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel first,” Archbishop Aquila said in an interview with EWTN. “If they proclaim the Gospel and are faithful to the Gospel, then vocations will come forth.”

Archbishop Aquila with Pope Francis during his ad limina visit Feb. 10. (Photo: Servizio Fotografico Vaticano)

With much discussion surrounding the Amazon Synod and possible implications it would have for the universal Church, Archbishop Aquila was reassured by the Pope’s comments on synodality and the Church’s application of it.

“Even in the understanding of synodality, which we spoke about, it always has to be ‘under Peter and with Peter’ and that synods cannot be going off and creating things that they want done,” the archbishop said. “He made it very clear: that is not synodality in the Catholic understanding. That was very reassuring.”

Among the other topics the bishops discussed with the Holy Father were some of the challenges faced by the Church in the United States and how to address them.

“The Holy Father was very clear: He said transgenderism is one of the great challenges in the United States right now, and the other is abortion,” Archbishop Aquila said. “Both of them really deal with the dignity of human life and the understanding of human life and do we truly receive from God the gender that he has given to us.

Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez with Pope Francis during his ad limina visit Feb. 10. (Photo: Servizio Fotografico Vaticano)

“There are only two genders, male and female, and so how do we open our hearts to receiving that as gift.”
Archbishop Aquila said that they Holy Father also “spoke of media, and how the far left goes after him and the far right goes after him, and neither one really presents who he is.”

In a time where Pope Francis’ comments can be rather polarizing and even mischaracterized, Archbishop Aquila was struck by the depth of the Holy Father’s faith in his audience with him.

“[The Pope] has a very, very deep faith. He is convinced of the Gospel, he is totally convinced of Jesus Christ, he is convinced that there are teachings in the Church that can never change and that we have to be faithful to the Church.”

Hannah Brockhaus of Catholic News Agency contributed to this report.

Featured image by Paul Haring/CNS