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Faith into Action

Aug 5

Written by:
8/5/2018 12:00 AM  RssIcon

As the son of business owners, I learned from very early on that Catholic principals of life are applicable not only to one’s personal life, but also can be just as informative to one’s business career as well. I remember well the care and concern that my parents showed to their employees and their clients, for they knew they had to constantly cultivate these relationships in order to continue to grow their business.

One story comes to mind in a particular way. During the economic downturn of 2008, they were able to survive that time in relative health, to the point that they were able to purchase a few other smaller construction firms that were not able to make it through that period. As those other companies were folded into mom and dad’s construction business, they would offer positions to most of the employees, as based on their history and career to that point. One man was brought into the office staff to help manage projects and assist with the overall vision of the company.

As he started though, he approached my father somewhat sheepishly. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘but I have vacation scheduled with my family next week.’ He was encouraged to keep that trip, for family is important to my parents and to the business they run. When this new employee returned, he was surprised to see that he was paid for that vacation, after only a week of employment. Again approaching my father, ‘You didn’t have to do that,’
he insisted. Dad simply replied, ‘I know, but you’re family now and this is important to us.’

I think of that story, and so many others from my time of watching my parents work together. They were certainly very demanding, but they were also generous when needed; to employees, to family, to neighbors, and to the village where we lived. For me, looking back now, it was a school of Catholic moral values without ever using the terms or the concepts.

In the ten years since that event related above, however, I think it has become more and more difficult to implement these social teachings into business practices; especially in larger urban areas such as Cincinnati, versus my small little hometown of Botkins. The networks of Catholic business leaders are small and not all too well connected, and it can seem that to strive to do right by employees and co-works is to place yourself on an island, as everyone else around you seems more and more determined to make a profit at the cost of everything else.

To this end, I recently had a conversation with Mr. James Gernetzke, who is the founder of a Catholic business network called ‘Nos Lumine.’ Based out of Columbus, Ohio, it is a weekly fellowship and prayer meeting to discuss how to implement Catholic social teaching in the work of business, from small business owners to managers in larger corporations. Recently, the first chapter was founded locally, meeting in the Mason area. But he is looking to expand the reach of the organization in order to assist other Catholics in putting their faith into action in the public sector.

If you would like more information, please watch a short video here or send me an email and I can pass along the information I have.

God Bless,
Fr. Kyle Schnippel

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