An estimated 200 attorneys, judges and law students gathered Oct. 5 to celebrate the beginning of the judicial year at the 56th annual Red Mass sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society of Indianapolis.
The Mass, held at St. John the Evangelist, the first Catholic Church established in Indianapolis, included prayers for legal professionals and a reminder of the call by Pope Francis to respect and protect the planet.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin was the main celebrant for the Mass. He was joined at the altar by several priests all wearing red vestments to symbolize the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles.
The Gospel reading was the parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke. During his homily, the Rev. Joseph Newton, adjunct vicar of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Tribunal, described the story as a “gentle reminder” that the law applies to everybody and should be applied with mercy.
As part of the general intercessions, the priests and congregants prayed that all who work in the legal profession keep the passion for the law alive in their hearts and they bring their culture, experience, involvement and talent to the effort to preserve and conserve God’s creation.
Following the Mass, members of the St. Thomas More Society walked over to the Crowne Plaza Hotel for the annual dinner and recognition ceremony. The keynote speaker, Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, echoed the need to take better care of the Earth.
Crowther detailed the destruction of wild animals and the consequences to the ecosystem. He encouraged the audience to be good neighbors and not be wasteful of the planet’s resources.
“It’s not too late to save the physical planet if we stop hiding our heads in the sand,” Crowther said. He then railed against climate change deniers, saying it is undebatable that humans are causing the climate to change and advising instead that people should be debating what to do in response.
The St. Thomas More Society also recognized long-time member and tireless supporter Nancy Gargula with the 2015 Woman for All Seasons Award. Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Region 10, has been the cantor as well as the planning chair for the annual Red Mass for 34 years.
Attorney Patrick Olmstead, past president of the St. Thomas More Society, praised Gargula for work on behalf of the legal profession, lawyers and law students along with her volunteer activities for a variety of community organizations.
As Gargula walked to the podium to receive her award, the audience gave her a standing ovation.
Gargula stepped to the microphone and said she had spoken many times at the Red Mass dinner “but tonight is the most memorable occasion for which I am truly humbled and deeply grateful.”