As Frank A. Borges recalls, “moving to Santa Rosa, California in 1984 to semi-retire was not enough for me and my wife Mary. I registered at St. Eugene’s parish and became involved in their Catholic community.
My friends – Joe Piasta, Everett Woodruff, and myself would meet for coffee Monday mornings to share our faith and fellowship. We discussed the possibility of someday establishing the formation of an organized club for Catholic businessmen and women. A place where Catholic business people could meet, break bread together and share the faith, hear Catholic speakers, network in our business world, and renew our faith in God.
The idea was kicked around – until Joe, Everett and I decided we were ready to talk to our Bishop. On April 1, 1990, we met with Bishop John T. Steinbock of the Santa Rosa Diocese. The concept was introduced to Bishop John – received his blessings, and encouraged us to go forward with the idea of a Catholic lay organization of businessmen and women.
On May 1, 1990, the first CP&BC Chapter in Santa Rosa was formed. The Steering Committee met to discuss the formation of the Club, the by-laws, the purpose of the Mission Statement, and officially adopted the Club’s name: “Catholic Professional & Business Club of the Santa Rosa Diocese”
The first Breakfast Meeting was held June 22, 1990, on the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Frank Borges was appointed the first President of CP&BC of the Santa Rosa Diocese. Bishop John T. Steinbock was the first speaker with 120 guests attending. The rest is history.
The second Chapter was founded on September 1994 in Marin County of the San Francisco Diocese by Denis Ragan. Marin’s first breakfast meeting was held on September of 1994 with Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, SJ, and Bishop of the San Francisco Diocese as their first speaker.
The third Chapter founded February 12, 1997. In 1996, Mary and I moved to Fresno to again retire. We reestablished old acquaintances and made new friendships. By now Bishop John T. Steinbock had been transferred to the Fresno Diocese. Bishop John expressed his trust in a Husband & Wife Team with our past experience gave us his blessing to start CP&BC in the Fresno Diocese. We started by making a 9-day novena to the Holy Spirit – Patron Saint of CP&BC.
I give credit to old friendships – like Chris Oberti, Frank Witherow, and Jim O’Brien who led me to several of their Catholic friends. Frank A. Borges led the first steering committee, and was appointed the first president September 20, 1996. On February 12, 1997, the Fresno Chapter held it’s first Breakfast Meeting – with 181 guests attending to hear Bishop John T. Steinbock as the first speaker.
Mike Gallo who was appointed first president of the Merced Chapter, Merced, California, formed the fourth Chapter May 14, 1998. 175 guests attended the first meeting with Bishop John T. Steinbock as their first speaker
The fifth Chapter formed October 21, 2001. The Holy Spirit continues to direct my mission in the formation of the CP&BC Chapters. Katherine Borges, my niece – who lived in Modesto, was very impressed with the Fresno Chapter. She volunteered in the start-up formation Chapter in Modesto, Calif. Slowly by getting the word out, Katherine Borges, Peter Hermann and the steering committee met with Bishop Stephen Blaire of the Stockton Diocese. The first breakfast meeting was held October 21, 2001 at the Double Tree Hotel with 140 guests. Their first speaker was Bishop Stephen Blaire, Bishop of Stockton Diocese.
The sixth Chapter formed October of 2002. It seemed like the Holy Spirit was in a hurry to set up lay Catholic Business Clubs. Mary and I attended a married couple’s retreat October 12, 2001 at St. Claire’s Retreat House in Santa Cruz. We met and became acquainted with a very nice couple sitting at our table – John and Emily Pesta of San Jose, Calif. By the weekend, John was inspired and willing volunteered to spearhead the formation of CP&BC in the San Jose Diocese.
As of March 2009 the National Catholic Professional and Business organization has 14 Chapters with 2 Chapters in the formation process. I can’t help but reflect on the past 21 years, it has been awesome to witness the phenomenal combined growth of all the clubs as we extend nationally.
CP&BC Santa Rosa, Ca Diocese
CP&BC Seattle, Washington Diocese
CP&BC Fresno, Ca Diocese
CP&BC Merced, Ca Diocese
CP&BC Modesto, Ca Diocese
CP&CP San Jose, Ca Diocese
CP&BC Sacramento, Ca Diocese
CP&BC San Francisco, Ca Diocese
CP&BC Reno, Nevada Diocese
CP&BC Lafayette, Indiana Diocese
CP&BC Oakland, Ca Diocese
CP&BC Ventura, Ca San Bernardino Diocese
CP&BC Bozman, MO – Helena Diocese
Catholic Marin Breakfast Club – Marin, Ca S.F. Diocese
CP&BC Orange County, Ca Diocese
Slowly, I have grown to appreciate and reinforce my own spiritual life. A sincere appreciation to all Bishops who have supported and directed all the formation Chapters: Most Rev. John T Steinbock, (Fresno); Most Rev. Daniel F. Walsh, (Santa Rosa); Arch Bishop William Levada, (San Francisco); Bishop Stephen Blaire, (Stockton); and all the Bishops of the new CP&BC Chapters. We are grateful for their continuous support of this lay Catholic organization.
Thanks to our spiritual directors, Msgr. Raymond Dreiling, and Msgr. Laserian Byrne, the dedicated Chapter officers and board of directors, as well as those who serve on the CP&BC National Catholic and Professional Board. Last – but not least, the enthusiastic support from the general membership of all the Chapters, and supporters.
I can foresee the future of this lay Catholic organization well beyond my time – giving credit to all those faith-filled individuals who will continue to spread the mission of this successful lay Catholic organization for businessmen and women.
Frank A. Borges, Founder CP&BC 1990 (Mary T. Borges, Cofounder)
Past President – Santa Rosa, Ca. CP&BC 1991
Past President – Fresno, Ca. CP&BC 1997