Michael Helps form St. Thomas More Society

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FORT WAYNE —Catholic leaders of northeast Indiana met on Wednesday to complete the formation of the St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne, a private association affiliated with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, serving under the oversight of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

After several months of planning, the society formally adopted its constitution and bylaws and elected its founding governors and officers. Father Mark A. Gurtner has been appointed chaplain by Bishop Rhoades.

“The society is a wonderful opportunity to honor and emulate St. Thomas More, the patron saint of attorneys, statesmen and politicians,” said Father Gurtner. “Indeed, his steadfast conviction in the face of death is a reminder for legal professionals to not forsake their private conscious for their public duties.”

Father Gurtner told Today’s Catholic of his duties to the society: “First not only have I been appointment chaplain, but as a canon lawyer, I enjoy membership in the society in my own right. I am also a founding member.”

“My duties as chaplain though will focus on the spiritual well being of the society,” he said. “I will offer Mass for the group periodically, seek to foster the spiritual life of its members, and be available as spiritual counsel for its members individually and for the group as a whole. I would also anticipate that I would serve to represent the society to the diocesan bishop and to represent the diocesan bishop to the society.”

The St. Thomas More Society is a Catholic professional association that promotes the mutual interaction of faith and culture in the realm of law and public policy. Any lawyer, member of the judiciary, canon lawyer, law professor or student at an ABA accredited law school residing, practicing, serving or studying primarily in the greater Fort Wayne area is eligible to apply for membership.

Magistrate Craig Bobay of the Allen Circuit Court and member of St. Jude Parish, Fort Wayne, said, “We hope to meet several times per year to discuss issues of faith and the legal profession, attend Mass together, pray together and help organize an annual Red Mass.”

“Catholic and non-Catholic lawyers and judges should join the society to explore the place for our Christian faith in the legal profession,” he encouraged.

Michael Barranda, an attorney with Burt-Blee-Dixon-Sutton and Bloom, LLP, and member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, encouraged Catholics in the legal profession to consider joining the society.

“Legal professionals are required to take continuing education classes,” Barranda said. “In addition to fellowship, the society offers members educational opportunities that will strengthen both their faith and their practice.”

For more information please read Today’s Catholic.