September 14, 2018

St. Thomas More Society to host Red Mass and dinner on
Oct. 1

By Sean Gallagher

The St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana, an organization for Catholic legal professionals and students in the region, will hosts its annual Red Mass at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 at St. John the Evangelist Church, 126 W. Georgia St., in Indianapolis.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, a votive Mass of the Holy Spirit has been celebrated at the start of a legal term, which is ordinarily in early fall, as a way for legal professionals to call on the aid of the Holy Spirit in their work. The title of the liturgy took on the name “Red Mass” because of the celebrant’s red vestments, which symbolize the Holy Spirit.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the Mass, which will also be attended by members of the Indiana Supreme Court.

All people interested in the Red Mass are encouraged to attend it, and a dinner which will follow. Participants need not be a legal professional or Catholic.

The dinner will take place at 6:45 p.m. following the liturgy at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St., in Indianapolis. Keynote speaker Jim McClelland, executive director of the state’s Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, will address the opioid crisis in Indiana.

Patrick Olmstead, president of the St. Thomas More Society and a member of SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi Parish in Greenwood, said that this crisis is an important issue to address.

“This is a special concern for all society,” Olmstead said. “We are seeing an enormous strain on our legal and charitable infrastructure due to the opioid crisis. In the Church, we have families torn apart by these addictions.

“We have opened crisis centers, trying to find a place for someone to safely detox and assimilate back into society. Our judicial system has reacted with new programs—such as Drug Court and Re-entry Court—that focus on trying to help those who are ready to help themselves.”

He said that Catholics and other people of faith can make an important contribution to seeking solutions to the crisis.

“The government cannot solve all of the problems itself,” Olmstead said. “Personally, I think one of the reasons we have so many crises in this day and age is because too much of society has been unmoored from the worship of God. We all need to know that there is a purpose to our life.

“People of faith—especially those running the homes and centers who are treating the addicted—understand that and can teach that God loves us and is watching over us.”

The society will award its annual “Man for All Seasons Award” posthumously to Tom Spencer, a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis who died on Feb. 23.

The award is taken from the play and movie A Man for All Seasons, which portrayed the life of St. Thomas More, the 16th-century English lawyer and statesman, who died as a martyr for refusing to consent to King Henry VIII’s claim to be the leader of the Church in England.

Spencer, a business owner, was highly involved in the Church and broader community in the Women’s Care Center in Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Serra Club and the Notre Dame Club of Indianapolis. He was also a 2017 recipient of a Celebrating Catholic Schools Values Award from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“His loss was felt deeply throughout the community,” Olmstead said. “He was easily one of the best men I have ever known. He always had a smile on his face, and he lived his faith.”

(Tickets for the dinner are $75 per person or $600 per table. They can be purchased online at For more information about the St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana, visit

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