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St. Thomas More Society forms in the 5-county Allentown Diocese

Published May 17. 2010 05:00PM

Bishop John O. Barres announces the creation of the St. Thomas More Society, a Catholic, professional association for judges and lawyers in the Diocese of Allentown.

Currently, there are numerous St. Thomas More Societies active worldwide. This mission of this local society is to promote the mutual interaction of faith and culture in the realm of law and public policy and brings together people of any faith engaged in the legal profession. It is a voluntary, dues-paying organization open to those who are interested in the ideals and principles of the Society and its patron, St. Thomas More, and who reside, practice or serve in the five-county Diocese of Allentown including members of the judiciary, lawyers, clergy and lay faithful holding a degree in Canon Law.

On Tuesday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Mary's parish in Kutztown Bishop Barres will host the Inaugural Meeting of the St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Allentown. During the meeting, he will discuss the history of St. Thomas More Societies in America, the goals of this diocesan society, its future work in the Diocese of Allentown.

Activities to be sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society concern three specific areas of interaction including educational, social, and spiritual programs. Among other activities, the inaugural year of the Society will include a Mass for the Feast of St. Thomas More in June and the annual Red Mass in October. Introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s, the "Red Mass" is an historical tradition within the Catholic Church dating back to the 13th century where participants, including government and legal officials, would proceed into a church clothed in red vestments or red garments, signifying the fire of the Holy Spirit's guidance. Today, the Mass implores God's blessing upon all those who administer the law.

St. Thomas More was the Lord Chancellor of England who was executed in 1535. His fidelity to his faith was firmly grounded in the search for truth, the dignity of the person, the unity of the family and the justice of civil society. He was martyred for his religious convictions and recognized as a symbol of integrity and a hero of conscience by people regardless of nationality or beliefs.

Administration of the Society will be governed by a set of by-laws and directed by officers elected from among the membership, which includes judges and lawyers from throughout the five-county Diocese of Allentown. For more information, visit or email

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