By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA – It’s called Catholic Business Professionals of Greater Philadelphia, and although it has only been around a little more than a year, it’s already making its mark.

Let’s face it, the business world is a fairly ruthless place, and it isn’t always easy to be a good Catholic and a good businessman or businesswoman. It is helpful to have a support group, which reminds the members that it isn’t really the dollar that is almighty.

“Our common faith unites us always,” Bishop Timothy C. Senior, told the members in attendance at an Oct. 14 evening Mass at the Miraculous Medal Shrine in the Germantown section of the city. “It’s also important to be united as we seek ways of putting that faith into action in our daily lives, to live in the secular world as Catholics so that our faith as Catholic Christians is expressed very practically and completely in all that we do.”{{more}}

Some members at the Mass and social that followed have a Church connection in their business life. For example, Nick Gibboni, the group’s coordinator, is operations manager for the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, although he was working for a secular corporation a year ago when he founded the Catholic Business Professionals,

Through the Internet, he was trying to find Catholic professionals he could network with, and an official at Notre Dame University noticed and suggested he start up a group; it wouldn’t really be difficult.

“I did and within a week we had a 100 people sign up,” he said. That was in September of last year, and since then the mailing list has built up to approximately 500. Meetings have been held at various places around the Archdiocese – a couple in King of Prussia, one at the Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute near Rittenhouse Square and now at the Miraculous Medal Shrine.

“I keep seeing new faces as well as those who came before,” Gibboni said.

“It’s definitely a good organization,” said Tom Coyle, who does financial consulting in the Fox Chase area. “This is my second meeting and we all have our business background as well as our Catholic background.”

Bill Steirt, who does digital graphics with Berry and Homer, said he was looking for a group like the Catholic Business Professionals. “I searched and searched. I wanted to get involved with a group that has the business end and the Catholic end.”

Mark Pennington of Maxwell Light and Energy, who has been following the group and attending meetings since it began, agreed that it serves a real need for Catholics in the business world.

This time he brought a friend along, Joseph Bocella, a senior at Villanova University who definitely wants to network as he prepares to enter the job market, preferably in the real estate field.

“This is very good,” Bocella said, adding those he met at the social were the kind of employers he wanted to find, “people like myself and people with values,” he said.

For more information on Catholic Business Professionals of Greater Philadelphia see

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.