We are Catholic lawyers and judges dedicated to fostering the highest ideals and ethics in the practice of law and administration of justice in our community through our shared faith.
The Guild also promotes fraternity and mentorship, and supports the community of Catholic lawyers in the region. Our members include lawyers from Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and judges from the courts in Ohio and Kentucky, including justices from the Ohio and Kentucky Supreme Courts. Students, paralegals, elected officials, and anyone interested in the administration of justice are encouraged to join us.
While the annual Red Mass remains our primary event, the Guild also hosts and promotes events ranging from simple networking to a day-long Studium with seminary professors.
The Red Mass dates back to the Thirteenth Century, when it was celebrated to inaugurate the judicial year in Rome, Paris, and London.
Liturgically, the Red Mass is a Solemn Mass of the Holy Spirit. The celebrant wears red vestments reminiscent of the tongues of fire that symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Mass asks God’s blessing and guidance for the legal community in the practice of law and administration of justice.
In the United States, the first Red Mass was celebrated in 1928 in New York and has since spread across the country. In 1999, the St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild of Greater Cincinnati was founded to resurrect the tradition in our region. Before the Guild, a Red Mass had not been celebrated in the region since 1965. Today, our annual Red Mass is alternately celebrated in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Diocese of Covington.
Typically, in the United States, Red Masses are celebrated in the Fall to correspond with the beginning of the United States Supreme Court’s term.
Red Masses are regularly attended by lawyers, paralegals, law students, law professors, judges, elected officials, and public servants. In Washington D.C., the Red Mass is regularly attended by members of Congress, Presidents, and United States Supreme Court Justices.
Please consider donating to help keep the Red Mass an annual event as well as allow the Guild to sponsor and host other activities and events that foster the highest ideals and ethics in the practice of law. Thank you for your support!
St. Thomas More is renowned as a counsellor of law, statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints.
Born in 1478, he rose to prominence during the reign of Henry VIII in late Tudor England. St. Thomas was called to the bar in 1502 and rose to become Lord Chancellor of England in 1529.
He was a man of great integrity, known for dispensing justice rather than using his power for personal gain. He was a man of great personal piety, living ascetically and inviting the poor. He was a man of great cheer, he was known by many as “the Merry.” He was a great family man, raising 7 children, three of whom he adopted. He was a great intellect, authoring numerous works and was an authority in matters of law, religion, and philosophy.
St. Thomas’ greatness and integrity derived from the depth of his faith. Virtues that shone through in his martyrdom.
In 1533 King Henry VIII defied the Church, divorced his wife, and claimed supremacy over the Catholic Church in England. The King demanded assent from the English nobility and clergy. All men of prominence swore oaths of affirmation, save St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. All looked to see what Chancellor Thomas More, renowned as a legal, moral, and theological authority, would do.
St. Thomas would not sell his soul to keep his station. He would not speak treason against his king. It was said that his silence was deafening. St. Thomas’ devotion to his family required that he show them, by example, that holding true to the faith was more important than worldly comforts, or even his life. St. Thomas’ cheer shone through even this desperate situation. When imprisoned in the Tower of London, his daughters asked about his accommodations. St. Thomas quipped that his cell was “a bit damp.”
Even as he was unjustly sentenced to death for treason, St. Thomas retained the king’s favor. On July 6, 1535, St. Thomas earned his crown of martyrdom. By his conduct, he could truly say “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
He was Beatified on December 29, 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.
He was Canonized on May 19, 1935 by Pope Pius XI.
His feast is celebrated on June 22.
St. Thomas More, pray for us!
Each year, the St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild of Greater Cincinnati awards the Thomas More award to an individual who exemplifies the traits of our great patron: a devout Roman Catholic, who has done extraordinary service to the Church and the legal profession, and holds to the highest levels of ethics and professionalism in their public and private life.
The 2023 recipient is Dr. Raymond Hebert, Executive Director of the William T. Robinson III Institute for Religious Liberty at Thomas More University. He will be honored at the reception following this year’s Red Mass.
Send us a message if you want to get involved or have a question.
We look forward to connecting!