FSSP Dallas Hosts Annual Catholic Business Expo
On October 8th, 2017, the annual Catholic Business Expo was held at Mater Dei Parish, the FSSP’s apostolate in Irving, near Dallas, Texas. The Expo is an opportunity for Catholic business owners to connect with parishioners who are looking for particular goods and services and would like to support their fellow parishioners. This year, the Expo took place in conjunction with the annual parish picnic, which meant increased attendance and even better networking opportunities for the already successful Expo.
The event is the brainchild of Dallas realtor and Mater Dei parishioner David Ross, a native Texan whose family has been in the real estate business since the 1960s. Back when professional athletics did not pay what it does now, Mr. Ross’s father counted among his summer hires members of the Dallas Cowboys. For Mr. Ross, real estate is not a just an income, but a calling and a mission. “In my business, I’m dealing with the home. It’s sacred, it’s set aside, it’s special. It’s a great thing to do.” Certainly, other Catholic business owners hold a similar view of their own businesses, and the Expo gives them the opportunity to share their gifts with parishioners who are looking to support Catholic businesses.
We talked more with Mr. Ross about the inspiration behind the Expo, why it is important, and the astounding diversity of businesses that are to be found among the parishioners of the Dallas apostolate.
The original idea was for parishioners to be able to support each other. Mr. Ross found that parishioners have a strong desire to support the businesses of their fellow-Catholics and fellow-parishioners, and he saw that it was important that those parishioners who are seeking services connect with those who are providing them. Thus, the Mater Dei Business Expo was born.
“When I heard a new parishioner say, ‘I didn’t know there was a real estate agent in the parish or we would have hired you to represent us,’ that hurts to hear,” Mr. Ross said. “Does that happen to all the other business people? It’s a way for parishioners to know that someone sitting next to them might provide a service, so that we can get business from each other and give business to each other.”
Mr. Ross also initiated the Mater Dei Parishioner Business Directory, a regularly-updated online resource of parish businesses. The directory, which can be found here, includes a description of the business and contact information, and is separated into such categories as, for example, Arts & Photography, Health & Wellness and Real Estate. Having such a resource available ensures that parishioners who are looking for a photographer, or a chiropractor, or a real estate agent have the chance to do business with their fellow-parishioners.
The variety of businesses run by Mater Dei parishioners is remarkable, the participants in the Expo representing an extraordinary range of different industries. Just a few of the 22 participants in the 2017 Expo were a caterer of Polish victuals, an audio/visual producer, a provider of assistance for seniors, an Urban Farmer consultant, a doctor, an internet marketing specialist, a fence builder, and an expert on all things Italian who was purveying espresso and roasted coffee beans.
The Expo was set up in the parish hall, to give those coming from Mass and participating in the parish picnic a chance to stop by and talk to the business owners. Each owner had a space and a table, where they provided brochures or samples of their work and chatted with their fellow-parishioners. The hall was certainly an impressive sight, set up with the carefully constructed displays of the many and varied participants.
“It’s a way for parishioners, whether new or old, to do business with each other, should they want to, and this helps them make that possible,” Mr. Ross said.
October 16, 2017