Ave Maria in the News
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Maria's Beginning:
Thousands welcome Ave Maria oratory into Roman Catholic Church
By LIAM DILLON, Naples Daily News
March, 2008

What was once just a tomato field is now holy land. What was once just a building
is now a sacred place.  Ave Maria and the Roman Catholic Church joined Monday
in a 1,500-year-old ceremony that dedicated the town’s 100-foot, $24 million
landmark as a church and made official the link between the new community and its
inspiration.

Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane led a two-hour service in front of 1,100
worshipers inside the church, known as the Ave Maria Oratory, and about 1,000
others watching the celebration on closed circuit television nearby. The service
functioned like the building’s baptism, dedicating it as a house of worship and
celebrating its first Mass.All elements of Catholic sacred life, including Mass, baptisms, weddings and funerals, will now be performed
inside.The ceremony began in the mid-afternoon with Dewane’s hands clasped in prayer, standing outside the church, leading a
procession of priests.

“Grace and peace of God be with you in this holy church” were Dewane’s first words.
And then, Dewane and the priests entered, beginning a service filled with intense ritual, ceremony and prayer.
Illuminated by sunlight and thousands of watts of electricity, sounds of the choir singing, camera shutters clicking and babies crying
mixed with the smell of burning incense.
In his homily, Dewane spoke of the Feast of the Annunciation and quoted Pope Benedict XVI: “Mary tells us why church buildings exist.”
The feast day, which celebrates the angel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary to announce she would carry the baby Jesus, is vital to Ave
Maria. The Blessed Mother is considered the community’s patron saint and its street grid is oriented toward the sunrise on the
traditional day the feast is celebrated.
Nearly four years ago to the day, plans for the church were first revealed in a North Naples hotel along with the initial phase of Ave
Maria town and university. They were to be built on old tomato fields in eastern Collier County on land donated by area developer
Barron Collier Cos. to university founder and former Domino’s Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan. Together, they would build the town.
The centerpiece, linking the town and the university, was this building, then envisioned as 150 feet tall with a larger seating capacity
than any Catholic place of worship in the country.
Since then, the building’s size and its seats were scaled down, but its construction came with its vaulted ceiling and steel buttresses
rising toward the heavens. Along with the building came just under 500 students and the first couple hundred homeowners, a majority of
whom are Catholic.
Those students and residents were overjoyed at the church’s dedication.
“This is the biggest step the school could have made,” said freshman Joseph Satkowski, 19, as he stood waiting to enter the building.
“Yes, we’ve had the first day of classes and the town opening, but until you have that faith center, everything else feels superfluous.”
Sitting in a pew before the service, Marielena Stuart waved her camcorder excitedly. She sat next to her husband, Thomas, and in the
row in front of two neighbors, Karen Apang and Kathy Delaney, who also had camcorders. They all live on Kentucky Way in town and
can see the back of the church from their homes. They prayed for this moment every day.
“You can imagine that this church is supposed to be the center and the heart of the town,” Stuart said. “Without this church, it was like
we didn’t have a heart. Now it’s like we’re alive.”
Now, Stuart said, her 7-year-old son, John Paul, could have his first Holy Communion inside.
The road to Monday’s dedication didn’t go as smoothly as its founders hoped. Monaghan said he wanted the ceremony to take place in
December, then in January and then the university didn’t plan any more. Prolonged negotiations with the diocese over the building’s
status were taking place. Neither side would address substantive issues involved, but church experts speculated matters of spiritual and
financial authority were at play.
After Monday’s service, both sides made oblique references to disagreements — university President Nick Healy called them “the
complexities of the whole situation here” — but declined to elaborate.
What university officials wanted to emphasize, however, was that the bishop is in control of pastoral care and they are working toward
the same goal: the development of the Catholic faith.
Responding to a question about who was in charge, Monaghan pointed to Dewane.
“We respect the bishop, we’re always obedient to the bishop and we’ve always intended to be,” Monaghan said. “If we don’t do that, we’
re hypocrites as far as being a Catholic university. That’s the way the church is structured and that’s the way I believe it should be.”
Dewane said his concern above all else was and remains appropriate care for the town’s Catholic population.
“Always when there are people gathered in an area, I look and the other bishops of the country do look at how do we set up a church
there, how do we realize the spiritual life of the people,” Dewane said. “That’s what this does today for the town. It renders very present
the fostering of the spiritual life.”
But the ceremony doesn’t mean the relationship between the university and the diocese is now clear. The official name for the structure
is “the quasi-parish of Ave Maria Oratory,” a term that unlike “parish,” “church” or “oratory” is imprecise in Catholic law, experts have
said, implying a unique arrangement between the school and the official hierarchy.
Near the end of the dedication, Dewane announced that the Rev. Robert Tatman, a diocesan priest, would be priest administrator in
charge of the church. Tatman, 48, formerly the parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist in North Naples, will oversee liturgical life in the
community.
“I am very glad to be part of this and the new initiative that’s behind it,” said Tatman, after the service. “We’re trying to make the Catholic
presence really viable as an institution here. That’s what we’re all working toward.”
But what has now become clear — after the building’s construction, after townspeople have settled into their homes, after students have
started their classes and after Monday’s ceremony — is that the building is now holy, not only in the eyes of its community, but also in its
church.
“It’s only steel and concrete until it’s dedicated and consecrated as a church,” Monaghan said. “To put that into words would be beyond
my capabilities.”
© Naples News


Ave Maria University Gains Accreditation

By LIAM DILLON, Naples Daily News, June, 2008

Ave Maria University received long-awaited recognition Thursday,
gaining full accreditation from a national agency.

The American Academy of Liberal Education, a Washington D.C.-based
organization, granted the Collier County university its final approval after its
board met earlier this month.

“We think they have a lot of promise,” AALE Vice President Jeff Martineau said.

University founder Tom Monaghan “wanted to start a new kind of institution that he didn’t think existed anywhere,” Martineau said. “We
think in five to 10 to 20 years, they do have a chance to create a unique Catholic liberal arts curriculum.”

Accreditation is a significant benchmark for a school’s legitimacy. Ave Maria’s recognition with the AALE secures the school’s access to
billions in federal financial aid funding. Accreditation also ensures credits transfer between schools and provides a standard for
employers and graduate programs to accept a school’s degree.

AALE’s eventual approval of Ave Maria was of little doubt — AALE President Jeffrey Wallin said last November he expected Ave Maria to
receive full accreditation — but Ave Maria officials were still overjoyed by the news.

“It means a great deal, I would say almost psychologically,” University President Nick Healy said. “We know what kind of quality
education and programs we offer, but the system requires that they are evaluated by a third party with all their policies and procedures.
It’s very gratifying to have an agency tell you what you already know.”

AALE’s recognition includes the school’s branch campus in Nicaragua, known as Ave Maria University-Latin American Campus. But
Martineau said his organization planned a separate review of that campus, specifically through a site visit, in the fall. AALE has visited
the Nicaragua campus in the past, but not in the past year, Martineau said.

“It’s still our policy to evaluate each branch campus,” Martineau said.

Ave Maria has also applied for accreditation with a large regional agency, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS
recognizes Florida Gulf Coast University, Edison College and Hodges University, among other schools in the Southeast United States.
Healy said he anticipated SACS would make a formal site visit to Ave Maria this fall. A SACS vice president said last month a decision on
Ave Maria’s candidacy status with the organization could come as soon as December.

AALE is a small agency that accredits 21 liberal arts domestic and foreign institutions and programs, Martineau said. The agency has
had difficulties of late with federal regulators, and those problems forced a delay to its final decision about Ave Maria, AALE officials
said. In spring 2007, its recognition — and access to federal funding — from the U.S. Department of Education was threatened in a
letter from Department Secretary Margaret Spellings. But in December, a Department of Education committee postponed a final
decision on AALE for another year.


Ave Maria University Sees Enrollment jump for '08-09

Naples Daily News, May, 2008

The new kid on the block is getting much larger.

Ave Maria University expects to increase its undergraduate enrollment by as much as 60 percent next year.
Projected enrollment for 2008-09 — the university’s fifth year and second at its permanent campus in eastern Collier County — is
between 600 and 700 students, an estimate based on 340 new students who have put down deposits for next year, according to
Michael Williams, Ave Maria’s director of admissions.

The university, funded primarily by former Domino’s Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan, has greatly expanded enrollment while
sustaining academic standards, such as incoming students’ average SAT scores.

College admissions experts are bullish about the university’s numbers and ability to maintain its academic levels.
If Ave Maria’s numbers are accurate, then “they have done a remarkable job of targeting Catholic families,” said Don
Hossler, an education professor at the University of Indiana who has written extensively about college admissions.

Tim Brunold, the University of Southern California’s director of undergraduate admissions, called Ave Maria’s statistics
“pretty promising.”
“Their numbers look pretty good to me based on the fact that they’re so new,” Brunold said.

For now, it appears much of the university’s admissions strategy involves throwing around various amounts of cash and
smartly promoting that fact. Other Catholic schools have taken note.

“I think we’re priced as the best value in Catholic education,” Williams said.

Financial aid is best understood through the university’s “discount rate” or the percentage off tuition a school can offer to its
entire incoming class. Ave Maria has a discount rate of 35 percent. That allows the school to divide need- and merit-based
scholarships among incoming students by up to 35 percent of the school’s total tuition dollars.

Merit scholarships are the primary selling point in the school’s direct mail campaign that began this year. The school
purchased a list of SAT scores matching the kind of student it wanted to attract: those with scores between 1,850-2,100 and
a self-reported interest in Catholic liberal arts colleges and programs.

Ave Maria then sent out approximately 25,000 letters addressed “To the parents of” each student with an enticing offer: It
states the student is “eligible to receive an academic scholarship to attend Ave Maria University.” A smaller mailing went out
to parents of students who took the ACT.

Williams said the school received 200 new applications in a week after the SAT mass mailing.

Direct mail that focuses on potential financial savings is critical for a school that is looking to build itself a name, Brunold said.

“Talking aggressively about scholarships is a great way to get people’s attention,” he added.

The university’s financial aggressiveness continues once prospective students are admitted. Accepted students receive a
$200 travel voucher to visit the school. Once they arrive, Williams said the school provides a “concierge” service. The school
picks up prospective students at the airport, current students host the prospects in their rooms and professors allow the
visitors into their classrooms.

Williams said he is aware of the importance of instilling a “pioneering” spirit in new students. Current students repeatedly
mention being there at the start of the Ave Maria enterprise as a major attraction to the school.

“In the end it’s the product,” Williams said. “The dream is catchy.”
© Naples News


Conservative Businessman to Create New Community
Domino's Pizza Founder Converts Florida Wilderness to 'Ave Maria,' an 11,000-Home Community
By MARTIN BASHIR and DAN MORRIS
Aug. 7, 2007 —


A one-time wilderness in Florida is being transformed into the Promised Land. A buccaneering businessman with strong Catholic values
wants to build a new community from scratch.

Tom Monaghan, founder of the worldwide Domino's Pizza chain, is sinking his billion-dollar fortune into a new town called Ave Maria, a
joint venture with a local developer. It will number 11,000 new homes and, unsurprisingly for a man who opposes abortion, contraception
and homosexuality, at the summit of this planned community is not a golf course but a church.

"It'll seat about 1,100 people, including the choir loft," Monaghan said of the church, "and there'll be seating for about 25 priests that
can celebrate a mass."

Across the road from the church is Monaghan's other singular contribution to the development, a new Catholic university that will house
over 5,000 students.

"We need a new kind of Catholic school with an emphasis on combining excellence in spiritual aspect and also excellence in education,"
he said.


From Poverty to Priesthood
So what prompted this 70-year-old entrepreneur to pursue his dream of building a kind of Catholic heaven on 5,000 acres of earth?

It may be because Tom Monaghan has been searching for a community like Ave Maria for most of his life. He was born in March 1937
into a poor family of unskilled workers -- his mother a domestic servant, his father (and hero) a truck driver.

"I was so poor, and I was always conscious of what other kids had," he said. "I had to scrape the manure off my shoes when I went to
school and I had to keep my feet on the floor so you couldn't see the soles of my shoes."

By 10th grade, Monaghan had decided to join the priesthood and was accepted into seminary, but he lasted less than a year.

"[The] rector said I didn't have a vocation& so he said, 'Tom, when you're packing your bags for Easter, pack them for good.' And I
cried," Monaghan recalled. "I was crushed 'cause I thought I was more interested in being a priest than almost every kid in that
seminary."


Delivering Colossal Growth
Monaghan decided to take his future into his own hands. An opportunity arose to buy a pizza business for $500 in Ypsilanti, Mich., close
to where he grew up.

After buying that first store, Monaghan soon discovered a gaping hole in the pizza business of the 1960s -- a gap that he was eager to
fill.

"I was the first one to focus on delivery," he said. "There were places that delivered but they did it because they had to. I was the first
person to do it because I wanted to. I was excited about the idea of delivery. I saw the potential of the convenience of it for people, and I
thought it could be built into a big business."

He wasn't wrong. From 1960 to 1980, Monaghan opened 300 Domino's Pizza delivery stores.

"[In] 1980 we took off like a rocket and went from 300 to 5,000 stores in 10 years," he said. "It was the fastest growth in the history of the
restaurant industry."

The boy who once had holes in his socks could now afford diamonds on the soles of his shoes. And he started spending serious
money. At one time, he even owned eight planes.

Rediscovering His Faith
The spending spree lasted six years, until 1989, when one quiet evening, Monaghan read "Mere Christianity" by the British scholar C.S.
Lewis and had a sudden revelation.

"This chapter in the book basically said I was just trying to impress people, and so I couldn't sleep that night," he said.

"[I] was taught that pride is the greatest of all sins, it's the source of all other sins& and when I read that I said, 'My gosh, that's the
greatest of all sins and I'm the greatest sinner in the world."

Almost immediately, Monaghan sold his planes and his cars and created a foundation, donating millions of dollars to Catholic causes.
He decided to focus on education, believing that most Catholic schools had also wandered from the faith. In 1998, Monaghan sold
Domino's Pizza for an estimated $1 billion. Two years later he opened the Ave Maria College near Ann Arbor, Mich. The school quickly
grew, but local government would not allow any further expansion. So he began scouting for other locations. After looking at various
potential sites, he settled on a former swampland in Florida, entering into a deal with a local developer.


Critics Question Monaghan's Motives
Not everyone is delighted at the prospect of a town so avowedly Catholic, especially those concerned with civil liberties. Monaghan, who
believes that abortion should be outlawed and that contraception should not be available, is often criticized for his fundamental Christian
beliefs.

"What makes me so unique?" he asked.

Critics call Monaghan's views into question because few people have the resources and ability to build a university that influences the
social situation in a specific direction.

"That's where the rub is. I'm dangerous," said Monaghan.

Whether the town represents a single religious denomination or not, there was no shortage of interest at a recent "open day." And
Monaghan seems genuinely at peace with himself, attending Mass every day, preparing to live in the community of his dreams.

"I think I'm very happy," he said. "And when the media gets on me I just say Hail Mary for whoever wrote the article and it goes away just
like that."


Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures



Birth of clean town: Ave Maria
By Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY  7/21/07

AVE MARIA, Fla. — Ten years ago, Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had a vision to create a "fresh, faithful voice" in Catholic
higher education. Now he has both a university and a brand-new town to put it in.
On Saturday, the town will open its doors to the public. Next week, Ave Maria University will move from its cramped quarters in Naples to
a permanent campus here, which sits on what used to be about 1,000 acres of tomato plants.
Ave Maria has not been without controversy. The Florida American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue if the town bans birth
control, as Monaghan suggested in a speech. Catholic educators say he could have found better ways to reach out than to create a
town where single-family home prices range from $256,900 to $481,900.
Monaghan, 70, remains steadfast. "Everything I do I think I do for the right purposes," he says. "I only have to answer to my God."
The town and university will operate independently but the Catholic influence is hard to miss. Streets bear names like Assisi and
Annunciation. The town center holds a cathedral-size chapel based on a design Monaghan sketched himself. Atop it is a 13-foot-high
cross, the highest point in the town.

The seeds for this $400 million enterprise were sown in 1998, the year Monaghan sold his pizza business for $1 billion and founded Ave
Maria College, a liberal arts school in Ypsilanti, Mich. (It closed this year.) By 2000, he had founded Ave Maria School of Law there; it is
set to relocate to Florida in 2009.
In 2002, real estate development company Barron Collier offered to donate 1,000 acres of southwestern Florida farmland for
Monaghan's dream university. He partnered with the company to create a town to support it. He has committed more than $200 million
to build the university and invested $100 million to develop the town. Profits from that investment will go to the university.
Monaghan dismisses questions about whether the town will tolerate non-Catholic views. But he created a stir last year when he was
quoted as having said in a speech to a Catholic men's conference that pharmacies wouldn't be allowed to stock condoms or birth
control pills and that cable TV would show no pornography.
Monaghan has since said he misspoke. Project manager Donald Schrotenboer says the town will obey all local ordinances, but officials
"would prefer" that businesses sell only products consistent with a family-friendly environment.
That hasn't appeased the ACLU of Florida, which threatened a lawsuit. Monaghan's "comments on the record give us legitimate
concerns about the community he's creating," says Executive Director Howard Simon. Although many religious groups, from the Amish
to Hasidic Jews, have their own communities, "constitutional issues arise when the religious group wants to act as if it also has
governmental authority."
The USA already is home to more than 200 Catholic colleges and universities. But Monaghan and his administrators say Ave Maria's
campus will reflect a faithfulness to Catholic teachings that they do not see elsewhere. The campus will have single-sex dorms, for
instance. And every residence hall will have a chapel.
"We make no apologies for seeking to uphold Catholic moral teachings," particularly when it comes to relations between men and
women, Ave Maria University President Nicholas Healy says. "We would not approve of or facilitate something that is very common, I'm
told, on college campuses today, hooking up and sleeping around, and … binge drinking."
Such talk has not endeared Monaghan, who dropped out of college when his pizza business took off, to Catholic educators.
"This is his dream, fueled by his money and his vision. There are people who admire him … and others who feel he ought to have more
humility about it all," says Richard Yanikoski, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
"He comes across as, 'I know best how to educate Catholics at the college level.' "
Monaghan's relationship with the Diocese of Venice, whose boundaries include the town of Ave Maria, remains undefined. Campus
priests can celebrate Mass in the oratory, but need permission from the bishop to perform sacraments.
"The bishop has spiritual and pastoral responsibility" for Catholics in the new town, as for any who move into the diocese, says diocese
spokeswoman Adela Gonzales White.
Monaghan hopes that will change in time. Overall, he's content with where things stand. "If they buried me now, I'd be satisfied."
And Renee Beckner of Naples, who with husband Alan plans to open a jewelry store and build a home in Ave Maria, says she was
impressed by the "vision God had given him."
"I don't see why there's such a fuss about having a community (where) the values are based on faith and family and religion," she says.
Contributing: The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.


Ave Maria Not Just for Catholics
By BRIAN SKOLOFF
The Associated Press
Monday, July 23, 2007; 3:36 PM

NAPLES, Fla. -- No, of course not, Ave Maria is not a Roman Catholic town, its builders say. Why would you think such a thing?
Yes, the streets have names like Annunciation Circle and John Paul II Boulevard. The town is laid out to catch the sunrise at a certain
angle each March 25, the day Catholics celebrate the Feast of Annunciation. And the Catholic university whose towering 10-story
church dominates the landscape bans the sale of condoms and warns that premarital sex can be grounds for expulsion.
But Ave Maria is open to everyone, said Blake Gable, project manager for the Barron Collier Cos., which is building the new town in
partnership with Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, an ardent Catholic.
"When I lived in Washington, D.C., I looked out my window and I saw the National Cathedral. I didn't feel like I was in a religious
environment," Gable said. "It's never occurred to me that it's a Catholic community."
The builders of Ave Maria, whose name is Latin for Hail Mary, have been struggling to get the message out that anyone can live here
ever since Monaghan's headline-grabbing comments in 2005, when the site was still just a sod farm. Monaghan told a Catholic group at
the time that the town would be governed by Roman Catholic principles. He said stores wouldn't carry contraceptives or pornography,
and cable TV would have no adult channels.
In response, a Wall Street Journal opinion column quoted a critic of Ave Maria as calling it a "Catholic Jonestown." The American Civil
Liberties Union of Florida threatened to sue. Critics called it un-American. And Monaghan backed off.
Monaghan now says that Ave Maria University, the school he is also bankrolling, will follow strict Catholic guidelines, but the town will be
largely allowed to grow uninhibited _ except for no adult novelty stores or topless clubs. The developers say they will merely suggest
that merchants not sell contraceptives or porn, and cable TV offerings will not be restricted.
Even with that, Monaghan seems disappointed. If he had his way, Ave Maria would be God's town.
"I thought we owned the real estate, so we can lease to whoever we want and put things in the contract, but there are laws and there
were lawsuits out there," Monaghan said.
The developers say that they will allow any denomination to build a house of worship in Ave Maria, and that gays are welcome, too.
In fact, the Web site for the town and university makes no mention of Catholicism at all, not even noting that the school will be Catholic.
"Ave Maria reinvents hometown living with a flourishing new community complementing a new university," the site says. "Ave Maria is an
exciting place to live, work, play and learn for every family, every lifestyle and every dream."
Monaghan has spent more than $200 million building the school, which opens next month and hopes to attract 5,500 students. It is the
first Catholic university built in the United States in four decades. Gable and Monaghan repeatedly note that the university and town are
two separate entities.
But the school's 1,100-seat church will be the undisputed focal point of the community, with the town center wrapping around it like a
pastel-colored Italian village with overhanging balconies, verandas and glass storefronts.
Ave Maria University President Nicholas Healy Jr. said the school would "encourage students to live a Catholic moral life."
"At a number of schools, there's a problem with binge drinking or recreational sex," Healy said. "We don't permit that. ... It would be a
very serious violation. We teach what the Catholic church teaches, and the Catholic church teaches that contraception is a grave moral
evil and we accept that."
Barron Collier has spent about $200 million constructing the town and aims to house more than 20,000 residents. Gable said sales
have exceeded expectations, with about 250 homes sold since February, though just a few of those people have moved in.
As for whether Jews or others might be uncomfortable living in a town called Ave Maria, he said: "Do people who live in San Francisco
feel offended? San Antonio?"
New York retirees Henry and Roseann Knetter moved into their home about a month ago. As Catholics, the religion aspect was a big
draw.
"It just appeared to be a really nice concept with the church in town," said Roseann Knetter, 64.
But they said it wasn't just religion that attracted them.
"We wanted to be in a town that was going to grow up from its grass roots," Knetter said.
© 2007 The Associated Press


Public marvels at Ave Maria tour
By Liam Dillon, Naples Daily News
Originally published — 7:15 p.m., July 21, 2007
Updated — 7:45 p.m., July 21, 2007

In the beginning was Tom Monaghan, standing in front of a 100-foot oratory, unable to speak a sentence without finding a hand to
shake, a camera flash to face or a compliment to catch.
“This is wonderful, Tom!” he was told by one well-wisher.
“My wife is one of your biggest fans!” said another.
“Domino’s is my favorite pizza!” said a child, whose father then laughed nervously.
Saturday marked the culmination for Monaghan — the billionaire founder of Domino’s Pizza — of a nine-year, two-state, multimillion-
dollar mission to open the town of Ave Maria. And those who wished to dwell among its 5,000 acres could for the first time behold the
town in its glory.
More than 2,000 people attended the four-hour opening for Ave Maria, one of the most ambitious projects in Southwest Florida’s history
and the grand vision of Monaghan and developer Barron Collier Cos.
Ave Maria, its planners said, will be a compact, walkable, self-sustaining town centered around a massive oratory and the first Catholic
University in more than 40 years.
The 70-year-old Monaghan has said he’s taking a back seat to Barron Collier Cos. for the town’s development, but his influence in
architectural style and religious leanings reverberated throughout the town and in many of its visitors.
Cars, many with fluorescent yellow “Choose Life” Florida license plates, parked bumper-to-bumper around the town center, which
offered free popcorn, hot dogs, face painting and music for the young families and senior citizens that milled outside.
“We’ve spent five years talking about it, and people just wanted to see it,” said Blake Gable, a vice president for real estate at Barron
Collier. “They wanted us to show them what all the hype has been about.
“Today they could touch it, and feel it and walk and be around it. Everything. It’s just a great day to show what we have done and what
we’re going to do.”
Visitors received the first public look inside the still-under-construction oratory, which Monaghan called — in a reference to the
University of Notre Dame’s famed landmark — “our Golden Dome.”
Rick Shapic and his wife, Janet, of Sanibel, walked inside holding hands with their two children, Mark, 5, and Olivia, 6. They heard choral
music emanating from a Bose clock radio.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Rick Shapic, 42, looking up at the oratory’s steel spans. “It’s a beautiful thing for Collier County and for Fort
Myers.”
The Shapics have been following Ave Maria’s development, Janet Shapic said, since “it was just tomato fields.”
They haven’t decided whether they will move to the area, but plan to enroll their children in Ave Maria’s K-to-12 Catholic school next
year.
The Shapics’ son, Mark, wearing a “God Built Everything” T-shirt, said the oratory was the tallest building he’d ever seen.
His favorite part of the day?
“I like the balloons,” he said.
Town officials said they were encouraged by the turnout at the opening. The town’s primary residential developer said reservations for
new homes on Saturday “exceeded expectations.”
The owner of Sanibel Bean coffee shop, one of the town’s first businesses, said he gave out 600 free coffee samples in the opening’s
first hour.
Sitting outside the oratory, Jo Ann Robitaille, 73, of Naples, thought the town was “very beautiful” and wished it success, but said she
wouldn’t be moving to Ave Maria anytime soon.
“It’s much too far from civilization for me,” she said.
Barron Collier officials are hoping the town’s location — 35 miles from downtown Naples — will not be a detriment.
They also have taken great pains to emphasize Ave Maria will be for everyone, not just Catholics, and hope the small-town feel with
modern amenities will attract people from across the area and the country.
While Monaghan stood in front of the oratory, he shook hands with one man, who told him, “This is a great beginning.”
Monaghan was ready with a response.
“As you say,” Monaghan replied, “I hope it’s just a beginning.”
© 2007 Naples Daily News and NDN Productions. Published in Naples, Florida, USA by the E.W. Scripps Co.


Ave Maria unveiled
More than 2,000 flock to tour new town, university campus
By Liam Dillon, Naples Daily News
Originally published — 7:15 p.m., July 21, 2007
Updated — 10:53 p.m., July 21, 2007

In the beginning was Tom Monaghan, standing in front of a 100-foot oratory, unable to speak a sentence without finding a hand to
shake, a camera flash to face or a compliment to catch.
“This is wonderful, Tom!” he was told by one well-wisher.
“My wife is one of your biggest fans!” said another.
“Domino’s is my favorite pizza!” said a child, whose father then laughed nervously.
Saturday marked the culmination for Monaghan — the billionaire founder of Domino’s Pizza — of a nine-year, two-state, multimillion-
dollar mission to open the town of Ave Maria. And those who wished to dwell among its 5,000 acres could for the first time behold the
town in its glory.
More than 2,000 people attended the four-hour opening for Ave Maria, one of the most ambitious projects in Southwest Florida’s history
and the grand vision of Monaghan and developer Barron Collier Cos.
Ave Maria, its planners said, will be a compact, walkable, self-sustaining town centered around a massive oratory and the first Catholic
University in more than 40 years.
The 70-year-old Monaghan has said he’s taking a back seat to Barron Collier Cos. for the town’s development, but his influence in
architectural style and religious leanings reverberated throughout the town and in many of its visitors.
Cars, many with fluorescent yellow “Choose Life” Florida license plates, parked bumper-to-bumper around the town center, which
offered free popcorn, hot dogs, face painting and music for the young families and senior citizens that milled outside.
“We’ve spent five years talking about it, and people just wanted to see it,” said Blake Gable, a vice president for real estate at Barron
Collier. “They wanted us to show them what all the hype has been about.
“Today they could touch it, and feel it and walk and be around it. Everything. It’s just a great day to show what we have done and what
we’re going to do.”
Visitors received the first public look inside the still-under-construction oratory, which Monaghan called — in a reference to the
University of Notre Dame’s famed landmark — “our Golden Dome.”
Rick Shapic and his wife, Janet, of Sanibel, walked inside holding hands with their two children, Mark, 5, and Olivia, 6. They heard choral
music emanating from a Bose clock radio.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Rick Shapic, 42, looking up at the oratory’s steel spans. “It’s a beautiful thing for Collier County and for Fort
Myers.”
The Shapics have been following Ave Maria’s development, Janet Shapic said, since “it was just tomato fields.”
They haven’t decided whether they will move to the area, but plan to enroll their children in Ave Maria’s K-to-12 Catholic school next
year.
The Shapics’ son, Mark, wearing a “God Built Everything” T-shirt, said the oratory was the tallest building he’d ever seen.
His favorite part of the day?
“I like the balloons,” he said.
Town officials said they were encouraged by the turnout at the opening. The town’s primary residential developer said reservations for
new homes on Saturday “exceeded expectations.”
The owner of Sanibel Bean coffee shop, one of the town’s first businesses, said he gave out 600 free coffee samples in the opening’s
first hour.
Sitting outside the oratory, Jo Ann Robitaille, 73, of Naples, thought the town was “very beautiful” and wished it success, but said she
wouldn’t be moving to Ave Maria anytime soon.
“It’s much too far from civilization for me,” she said.
Barron Collier officials are hoping the town’s location — 35 miles from downtown Naples — will not be a detriment.
They also have taken great pains to emphasize Ave Maria will be for everyone, not just Catholics, and hope the small-town feel with
modern amenities will attract people from across the area and the country.
While Monaghan stood in front of the oratory, he shook hands with one man, who told him, “This is a great beginning.”
Monaghan was ready with a response.
“As you say,” Monaghan replied, “I hope it’s just a beginning.”


ACLU opposes creation of 'Catholic town'
Domino's Pizza founder wants to build new town with 'Catholic values'
TRANSCRIPT
MSNBC
Updated: 3:45 p.m. ET Feb 22, 2006

If you could build a town from scratch, what would it look like?  Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino‘s Pizza, wants a towering Roman
Catholic Church at the center of his proposed new town.  He also prefers people who have the same religious beliefs as he does.  He
wants them to move into his aptly named Ave Maria, Florida.
There‘s one group standing in the way of Monaghan‘s lifelong dream, the American Civil Liberties Union, of course.  Howard Simon is
the executive director of Florida‘s ACLU.  He joined Tucker Carlson from Miami.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, 'THE SITUATION:  Now why is it your business what kind of town Tom Monaghan builds?  I mean, you may
or may not be Catholic.  I‘m not Catholic, but I think Tom Monaghan should have the right to build any kind of town he wants that
conforms to any kind of beliefs he has.  It‘s—I don‘t understand why it‘s your business?
HOWARD SIMON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FLORIDA ACLU:  I completely agree.  If he wants to build a town and encourage like minded
people to come and live there, that‘s fine.  We get into problems where he tries to exercise governmental authority.  That‘s the issue.
It‘s not—Tucker, you‘ve to make a distinction between just encouraging like minded people to come and live in the same place with a
town organized on religious principles, in which the religious group is given governmental authority.  It‘s that latter that is the problem.  
And I must say, just...
CARLSON:  If that bothers you, I suggest you take a trip to rural Utah, where it‘s the rule, rather than the exception.  But I don‘t
understand where you get the idea he‘s trying to exercise governmental authority.  My understanding is you‘re upset because he wants
to bring in a pharmacy that does not sell contraception.  Why do you care?
SIMON:  Well, that‘s he‘s saying now, after having gotten some legal advice.  About a year ago he made a speech saying that “I own all
the commercial real estate.  You‘re not going to be able to buy a ‘playboy.‘  We‘re going to control the kind of cable TV that comes in.  
You‘re going to be able to get contraception, the pills, condoms at your local pharmacy.  You will not be able to purchase any of those
services in this town.
CARLSON:  Howard, I hate to blow your mind, but that‘s called zoning, and it‘s everywhere.  Every town determines what cable system it
has.  Every town.  Your town, my town.  The town decides what cable system you have.
Moreover, the town decides whether you can sell pornography in the stores or not.  There are rules in every town about not.  Moreover,
they have zoning about what kind of stores you can have.  It‘s everywhere.  You just don‘t like this, because this is a serious Catholic
guy.  I mean, that‘s the truth, isn‘t it?
SIMON:  Tucker, before you jump to the quick and not very well informed conclusion that that is just anti-Catholicism, I want to tell you
that it was about 10 years ago when the United States Supreme Court correctly ruled that a group of Hasidic Jews in upper New York
state, in a town called Kiryas Joel, could not receive government funding because that town was organized around pervasively sectarian
religious principles.  And when you‘re required to conform to religious principles, that town is not fitting for governmental authority.
This is not Catholicism—this is not a story about Catholicism.  It‘s a story about any religious group trying to exercise governmental
power.
CARLSON:  Well, wait a second.  First of all, I believe all those towns in upstate New York receive a ton of federal aid to this day.  So I‘m
not exactly sure.
SIMON:  We‘re talking about—wait a minute.  There was this one town that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
CARLSON:  Hold on.  I‘m absolutely familiar with the case, but that‘s not what we‘re talking about.  We‘re talking about the proposed
town in Florida.  And the man who is developing the town prefers a pharmacy that does not sell contraception.  Isn‘t that his right?  It‘s
his hand, and if he wants a pharmacy that doesn‘t sell condoms or the pill, it‘s not your business.  It‘s not my business.  I don‘t have a
problem with contraception, but he does.  Why can‘t he sell the land to the pharmacy he prefers?
SIMON:  Tucker, there are some constitutional principles that come into play here, that the U.S. Supreme Court has—has issued in the
1940s and the 1980s and the 1990s.
CARLSON:  Do you have to have a store that sells contraception?  Come on.
SIMON:  Let me tell you something. And what the court has said was that, to the extent that you open up your private property to people
from the outside.  He‘s not walling this around only for residents.
To the extent that you open it up for the—to the outside world—there‘s going to be a school there.  There‘s going to be a post office
there.  There‘s going to be shopping centers there, which other people use that.
To the extent that you open it up to the outside world, the rights of private property ownership become circumscribed by the rights of the
people who use the facilities.  Now, that‘s not me, Tucker, that‘s the U.S. Supreme Court.
CARLSON:  I still don‘t understand why you want to interfere in this guy‘s business.  If people want to buy the pill they can go to any
Shop and Save in the world and get it.  Leave this guy and this town, leave them alone.  A little diversity in this country is not a bad thing.
You haven‘t convinced me, but I appreciate you coming on anyway.
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