September 8, 2023

Red Mass for legal professionals set for Oct. 2 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral

By Sean Gallagher

The St. Thomas More Society of Central Indiana’s annual Red Mass for legal professionals will be celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis, at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 2. Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the Mass.

A dinner reception will follow in the Assembly Hall of the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center, 1400 N. Meridian St., across the street from the cathedral. During the dinner event, Angela Espada, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, will be honored with the society’s “Woman for All Seasons” award.

Judge David Certo, who serves in the Marion County Superior Court, was a student at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis when Espada was a dean in its administration.

“She was a towering figure to me when I first met her, even though I’m much taller than she is,” said Judge Certo, president of the St. Thomas More Society. “I’m very grateful to have observed her career since then, including her service in leading the Indiana Catholic Conference on behalf of all the Catholic bishops of Indiana at the Statehouse. I’ve especially appreciated learning about her lived example of our faith from her public roles and in her personal life.”

Judge Certo expressed admiration for how Espada is a good example for Catholics in the legal profession.

“It’s true that we’re tempted to view the world and live our lives through an ideological lens,” Judge Certo said. “Her public witness resists that temptation. We can’t be stuck in ideological positions if we’re going to be open to the Holy Spirit and receptive to the needs of others.”

A Red Mass is a centuries-old tradition of those who work in law to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the legal term in the early fall. The liturgy derives its name from the red vestments worn by the clergy during the Mass, red being symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

The keynote speaker at the dinner that will follow the liturgy will be Judge Robert Conrad, a senior judge for the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina. He is the author of John Fisher and Thomas More: Keeping Their Souls While Losing Their Heads (TAN, 2021), a book about the two 16th-century English saints. Both were beheaded as martyrs for opposing King Henry VIII’s claim to be the head of the Church in England.

Judge Certo said that the St. Thomas More Society invited Judge Conrad “to come to Indianapolis to share ideas about how we can all live a more saintly life by listening to the voices of those two saints in particular who point toward Christ.”

All are invited to take part in the Mass and dinner. Judges, attorneys, law students and others who work in the legal field are especially encouraged to attend.

The cost for the dinner is $40. A table sponsorship is $400, and a bar sponsorship is $1,500.

Registration for the dinner is required and due by Sept. 21. Reservations may be made at No registration is required for those only attending the Mass.

For more information about registration or sponsorship, call 317-236-1482. For information about the Red Mass, send an email to †

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